Although the Riverdance show and its music appeared to be an overnight success, elements of the music had been developing over many years prior to the Riverdance event.

One of the strongest of these musical elements was introduced by the artist Andy Irvine who, having spent some considerable time in The Balkans, returned to Ireland and introduced Eastern European music and time signatures to the ground breaking band 'Planxty' who then proceeded to record a number of these superbly crafted instrumental tracks. Andy, who was a founder member of both Planxty and later Patrick Street, continued to blend Eastern European and Irish Celtic music over many years and introduced it to many Irish musicians.

It is thus that TARA would like to bring to your attention five precursor albums to Riverdance. The musical elements and instruments are easily recognisable in their influence on the Riverdance music and virtually all the musicians involved were at some point part of the Riverdance phenomenon.

Bill Whelan - The Seville Suite ( Tara 3030)
Album cover artwork

Bill Whelan's first major orchestral work The Seville Suite was inspired by the exploits of 'Red' Hugh O'Donnell, The Earl of Tirconaill - from The Battle of Kinsale until his eventual arrival in Galicia to the celebratory welcome of The Spanish Earl of Caraçena. The soloists who contribute invaluably to The Seville Suite are all outstanding musicians in their own field. Davy Spillane on Uilleann Pipes, Máirtín O'Connor on Accordion, Mel Mercier on Bodhrán, Mairéad Nesbitt on Fiddle. Harp, Whistles and Galician Pipes are performed by the Spanish traditional group Milladoiro.

The album also features a re-recording of 'Timedance' which was performed by Planxty (including Bill) for the interval of the 1981 Eurovision Song Contest which was staged in Dublin. This re-recording features Planxty musicians Liam O'Flynn, Donal Lunny and Andy Irvine as well as Nollaig Casey on fiddle.


Andy Irvine & Davy Spillane - East Wind ( Tara 3027)
This would be a culminating album for Andy Irvine that perfectly combines Eastern European and Irish Celtic music. This album was produced and arranged by Riverdance composer Bill Whelan and many of the musicians on the album are now part of Riverdance.
Album cover artwork

Davy Spillane - Out Of The Air (Tara 2017) & Pipedreams (Tara 3026)
Album cover artwork Davy is a master uilleann (Irish) pipe and Low Whistle Player. He has been a featured musician on albums for such artists as Van Morrision, Chris Rea, Emmylou Harris, Gerry Rafferty, Kate Bush, Elvis Costello, and Enya. There was quiet simply no better artist than Davy to play these mystical instruments for the Riverdance recording. It is interesting to note on the track 'Mystic Seacliffs', composed by Bill Whelan, where the elements of Riverdance composer and artist have been previously combined. Album cover artwork


Moving Hearts - The Storm ( Tara 3014)
Album cover artwork The band was renowned for its instrumental prowess. The well known Irish Journalist Eamonn McCann once said about this album that it was "A set of instrumentals which would set the sinews of a Siberian camp abuzz with good vibes"! Band members Davy Spillane, Declan Masterson, Noel Eccles and Eoghan O'Neill are now either Riverdance recording artists or members of the Riverdance band.
SHOP BOX buy Riverdance related albums online
Seville Suite - Bill Whelan
EastWind - Andy Irvine & Davy Spillane
Pipedreams -Davy Spillane
Out Of The Air - Davy Spillane
The Storm - Moving Hearts


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