Lankum's journey from Ireland to the Tiny Desk was a wild and bumpy adventure. First, visa problems forced them to cancel their late February date. A week later, much of the world is more worried about COVID-19, though daily patterns here hadn't changed. They arrived in New York, hopped in their van to Washington, D.C., only to have that break down. Finally, after all that, some good news: While in their new van heading to the Tiny Desk, the Dublin quartet received news that its brilliant album The Livelong Day had won Ireland's Choice Music Prize Album of the Year!
All of this was a build-up to a Tiny Desk concert I'll never forget. I, too, am a massive fan of the drones from the uilleann pipes, harmonium, concertina and the stunning voice of Radie Peat. The Livelong Day to my ears has as much in common with Irish tradition as it does to electronic music, though everything they do is acoustic. But the power and heft of what brothers Ian and Daragh Lynch, Cormac MacDiarmada, and Radie Peat convey through their reeds, strings, and vocals are deeply stirring emotionally and have stuck with me all these months since this concert's recording.
A week later I saw Lankum in concert. It was the last one I attended in a real venue and the world was rapidly changing. Their journey home, I trust, was frightening. The idea of getting on a plane was so very different from just a few weeks before. I know it was tough, but I'm ever so grateful for this life experience and grateful to be able to share it here.
- "The Wild Rover"
- "The Young People"
- "Bear Creek"
Radie Peat: vocals, harmonium, baritone Irish concertina; Ian Lynch: vocals, uilleann pipes, baritone English concertina; Daragh Lynch: vocals, guitar; Cormac MacDiarmada: vocals, fiddle, viola
Producers: Bob Boilen, Morgan Noelle Smith, Maia Stern; Creative director: Bob Boilen; Audio engineers: Josh Rogosin, Patrick Boyd; Videographers: Maia Stern, Bronson Arcuri, Melany Rochester, Jack Corbett; Associate Producer: Bobby Carter; Production Assistant: Shanti Hands; Executive producer: Lauren Onkey; VP, programming: Anya Grundmann; Photo: Bob Boilen/NPR