Folkworks: Lankum

Sage Two

Lankum are one of the most talked about bands to come out of Ireland in decades. They’re a Dublin four-piece who combine distinctive four-part vocal harmonies with arrangements of uilleann pipes, concertina, accordion, fiddle and guitar.

Their repertoire spans humorous Dublin music-hall ditties and street-songs, classic ballads from the Traveller tradition, traditional Irish and American dance tunes, and their own original material. The band comprises of brothers Ian and Daragh Lynch along with Cormac MacDiarmada and Radie Peat.

When not on tour Ian lectures in Irish Folklore and musical traditions in University College Dublin, while Cormac and Radie grew up as champion traditional players, on the fiddle and concertina, respectively. Yet Lankum are not purely trad themselves, in the same way The Pogues were more urban music. Rough-hewn and raw, they’re the most exciting thing in Dublin right now.

The band was originally formed by brothers Ian and Daragh Lynch in the early 2000’s, and has since progressed through a number of incarnations, culminating in the four-piece group playing today. The release of their album ‘Cold Old Fire’ and a subsequent appearance on the BBC television programme, ‘Later… with Jools Holland’ cemented their reputation as a band that successfully crosses genres.

Although an acoustic group whose repertoire is fundamentally based on traditional song, influenced by legends such as Frank Harte, Planxty, The Dubliners and the Watersons, subtle traces of the group’s collective influences can be detected, ranging from American old-timey music to krautrock and drone. Lankum are busy breathing new life into old music.

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