Artist picture of The Dubliners

The Dubliners

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Nobody sums up Irish music better than The Dubliners, a ballad group formed at O'Donoghue's pub in Dublin in the early 1960s who maintained their international popularity across five decades, despite the loss of various key members along the way. Their big break came in 1965 when their risqué single Seven Drunken Nights was played constantly on the pirate station Radio Caroline and became an unlikely hit all over Europe - despite the record being banned in Ireland. They had a further hit with another traditional singalong Black Velvet Band and their lusty choruses, good-time approach and hard-drinking image not only made them popular all over the world, it defined Irish culture for many people. It was an image that belied the exceptional talents of Barney McKenna's banjo, the fiddle of John Sheahan and the unique storytelling vocal styles of Ronnie Drew and Luke Kelly. They returned to the charts in 1987 when linking up with their spiritual heirs The Pogues on a ferocious version of Irish Rover and maintained their popularity despite the death of key members Luke Kelly (1984), Ciarán Bourke (1988), Ronnie Drew (2008) and Barney McKenna (2012). With ready replacements fitting into the distinctive mould they celebrated their 50th anniversary with a major tour in 2012.

Artist biography compiled by BDS/West 10. All rights reserved