The death has been announced of the pioneering and influential guitarist Arty McGlynn. He was 75.
Through his work as a soloist, accompanist, composer and arranger he helped to bring the guitar right into the mainstream of traditional music and inspired a generation of musicians to push the boundaries of the music and the instrument. Arty played with all of the big names in traditional and folk music including Liam O'Flynn, Christy Moore, Dónal Lunny, De Dannan, Planxty, and The Van Morrison Band. His production credits include award-winning albums by Four Men and A Dog, Frances Black and Christy Hennessy.
Born into a musical family near Omagh in Co Tyrone in 1944, Arty was surrounded by music and song and was encouraged by his parents to take up music. His father played accordion, his mother was a fiddle player and by the time Arty was five years old he was playing reels on the accordion.
When he was eleven, his mother got him a guitar. This encouraged Arty to start along another creative path so he began to explore the world of jazz which appealed to his natural creativity. Influenced by recordings of virtuoso guitarists such as Wes Montgomery and Barney Kessel, Arty rapidly developed an accomplished technique and style that saw him playing professionally with bands by the time he was fifteen.
During the 1960's and 1970's Arty spent a lot of time on the road touring and in recording studios and this was an intense period of working within an industry that didn't always make it easy for an individual artist to find time and space to flourish. By the mid 1970's, Arty felt the need for a change and before long he returned to Irish traditional music.
In 1979 he released the classic album McGlynn's Fancy, a ground-breaking work that continues to influence the position and direction of the guitar in Irish traditional music. On this album, Arty revealed another side of his musical identity by going back to the well of tradition and the influence and inspiration of local musicians such as John Loughran and Felix Kearney. He also established himself as a thoughtful and creative arranger as well as a composer, and it's no surprise that since then McGlynn has always been in demand as a soloist, accompanist, producer, arranger and composer.
Arty worked with all of the big names in traditional and folk music including Liam O'Flynn, Christy Moore, Dónal Lunny, Frances Black, Cathal Hayden, David Hammond, Paul Brady, Patrick Street, De Dannan, Planxty, Shaun Davey, John Carty and The Van Morrison Band. His production credits include award-winning albums by Four Men and A Dog, Frances Black and Christy Hennessy.
Arty and his partner Nollaig Casey established a productive and successful career in performance, composition and arranging and have released two highly acclaimed albums - Lead the Knave and Causeway, while their music has featured on film soundtracks including Moondance and Hear My Song.
He was honoured for his music by TG4 with a Gradam Saoil (Lifetime Achievement Award) in 2016.
He is survived by his wife Nollaig Casey, their two daughters and his three sons.