When Irish folk legend Christy Moore returns for a gig in the Millennium Forum next month he’ll be playing on very familiar soil.
Moore has made several stops in Derry during his illustrious touring career but his very first time playing here was in front of a crowd in St Columb’s Hall some 33 years ago as he recalled during an interview with the ‘Journal’.
“I played in St Columb’s Hall in 1972 with Planxty, that concert also featured Seamus Heaney and a band called Pumpkinhead,” the well-known folk singer said.
As for why he enjoys coming to Derry, the same things have attracted him to this area for years.
“seeing old friends, walking Derry’s Walls and hearing The Banter. I also have many songs of Derry and it’s great to sing them in the Walled City.”
Asked if he had noticed the changes in Derry over the years and a difference between gigging her now and during the Troubles, Moore was his usual philosophical self.
“I did my first ‘proper’ gig in Manchester in 1966 and since then it has been a journey of constant change. Politicians and ministers, governments and armies come and go but the old songs roll on through it all.”
And Derry fans of Christy’s live gigs will be pleased to hear that the 70-years-old adopts an equally honest answer when it comes to any talk of retirement.
“I hope to do around 70 gigs this year. I have three different albums in the pipeline but I have no idea when they might happen. I am more interested in songs and gigs than records. Singing has been my life since I was a wee boy in the choir and at various feiseanna. I hope not to retire until my voice goes or my heart stops beating.”
Christy will be joined on his Derry tour by the legendary Máirtín O’Connor band. O’Connor is one of the main musical forces behind the now legendary Riverdance phenomenon; through his work with De Dannan, Midnight Well and Skylark and also as a solo artist he is described as “having gone where no Irish accordion player has gone before.”
A number of notable musicians have played in Mairtin’s band including multi-all Ireland winner Cathal Hayden, former Dervish member Séamie O’Dowd and percussionist Jim Higgins
The Christy Moore gigs will take place in the Millennium Forum on Friday June 19 and Saturday June 20, starting at 8pm with tickets priced at £35. For more information contact the Millennium Forum Box Office on 02871 264455.