In 1993, Black 47 changed Irish-American music irrevocably when it burst onto MTV with its hit single, "Funky Ceili." Taking its name from the darkest year of the Irish Potato Famine, the band's music, though often based on traditional melodies, is laced with rock, reggae, hip-hop, New Orleans second line, and modern jazz, while songwriter Larry Kirwan uses influences as varied as Yeats, Joyce, and Dylan to fashion his dramatic, cutting-edge lyrics. Long involved in the Irish Civil Rights Movement, Kirwin formed Black 47 in 1989 to give voice to ideas of freedom and cultural renewal.
Black 47 earned its chops playing the pub scene in Manhattan, where its packed performances led to intense media attention. The group was propelled into mainstream consciousness when it recorded Fire of Freedom (1993) and Home of the Brave (1994) for EMI Records. Since then, the group has appeared on virtually every major U.S. TV show, including Leno, Letterman, and O'Brien, and has been profiled by Time, People, Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and USA Today. Kirwan's songs have also been used in political science and history courses in hundreds of colleges and high schools, where Kirwan is often a guest lecturer.
Through years of relentless touring, Black 47's signature eclectic sound, socially conscious lyrics, and exciting concerts have paved the way for other Irish influenced bands such as Flogging Molly and the Dropkick Murphys. After 2008's Iraq and 2010's Bankers & Gangsters, the band is currently celebrating its 21st year on the road with its latest compilation CD, Funky Ceili - The Party Songs, released in February 2011.
Saturday Beatles Brunch