Sunday, July 16, 2006

RIP: Micheal O Domhnaill, guitarist and founding member of the Bothy Band

Micheal Ó Domhnaill, guitarist and founding member of the Bothy Band died July 8 at the age of 54.

As a member of the legendary 1970s group The Bothy Band, O Domhnaill, along with his sister, Triona, introduced audiences to a contemporary instrumental form of Irish music and modern interpretations of Gaelic song. The family grew up in Kells, County Meath, but spent their summers in the Donegal Gaeltacht, where they first heard the music that would make the band reality

Micheal, Triona and sister Maighread formed their first group, Skara Brae, with guitarist Daithi Sproule, in 1970. Micheal and Maighread joined Triona in what would become the The Bothy Band in the mid-1970s.

You can read a fuller obit in The Herald and on the unofficial Nightnoise web site


John Rynne said...

Mícheál also founded Nightnoise, with American violinist Billy Oskay, Mícheál's sister Tríona, and Brian Dunning. With Nightnoise, he recorded his own compositions and those of fellow members. The group was in existence from 1984 to about 2002, and it played basically instrumental music that represented a fusion of celtic and modern influences. Though practically unknown in Ireland, Nightnoise was very successful elsewhere, particularly the US, Spain and Japan.

cliff said...

To be honest, I was never much of a fan of Nightnoise... too much 'fluff' for my tastes. It always seemd a more commercial endeavor that lacked a real spark.
- cliff

John Rynne said...

Nightnoise was very successful in the US, Spain and Japan. In contrast, they sank without trace in Ireland. I think that was because they never got a fair hearing. People familiar with the Bothy Band felt that the Domhnaill''s had "sold out" or "gone commercial". I admit to having had similar feelings myself when I first came across Nightnoise in the late 1980s (I had seen the Bothy Band live several times while a student).
With time, I came to recognise Nightnoise as a very creative melding of musical genres that deserves respect in its own right, without being compared with the Bothy Band, Relativity, Skara Brae, Silly Wizard, Touchstone, etc. (all groups to which Nightnoise members had previously belonged).
Though labelled "new age", Nightnoise was more than that (and vastly superior to 99% of "new age" music, a genre which ranges from Reiki background music to birdsong and waterfalls mixed with pathetic electronic music tracks ... don't get me started :-).