Richie Kavanagh talks about starting out in show business and his number one hit single 'Aon Focal Eile'

1997 was a good year for Richie Kavanagh.  He won an IRMA award for Best Single with his song ‘Aon Focal Eile’, which was number one in the Irish charts for eight weeks, and stayed in the charts for six months in total.  He has played at venuew all over Ireland and performed in Monte Carlow and the USA.  

Richie Kavanagh became an unlikely pop star after fans encouraged him to release 'Aon Focal Eile' as a single,

’Aon Focal Eile’ was a song that I wrote about four or five years ago, and I used to sing it as part of my act kinda half ways through my show.  I never intended ever to record it...the rest is a kind of history, you know.

The tongue in cheek song, which pokes fun at the Irish language and schooldays long ago, was banned by BBC radio, and could only be played on other radio stations in the UK after midnight. 

From Fenagh, County Carlow, Richie says he was encouraged to write songs and sketches by one of his primary school teachers in Garryhill National School..  The other big influence on him was the travelling road show which would visit the area when he was a child, as he loved the performances, 

Up in Tommy Hogan’s haggard here, we used to have a travelling road show years ago, and from the time I seen the comedians up there on the stage, I’d come home and I’d stand up on the kitchen table...I thought I was a comedian back then, and I used to love the craic.

He started off in the 1970s as a double act with Davy Chambers, called Dave & Dick.  When their respective paths diverged, he started to write more material, including another hit song ‘Face Her For Mount Leinster’, and was establishing himself as a popular act which includes his alter ego Johnny as part of his comedy routine. 

This episode of ‘Nationwide’ was broadcast on 16 May 1997.  The reporter was Helen McInerney.
'Nationwide' is an early evening magazine programme that brings Irish viewers an eclectic round-up of news, views and events from around the country.