Liam Weldon was undoubtedly one of the finest Irish singers of any generation. He was also an outstanding songwriter and a champion of the oppressed, and of the Traveller community in particular, whose influence on his singing stretched back to his Dublin childhood. Unaccountably, his singing never really received the accolades it deserved, and he remains largely forgotten since his death, 25 years ago.
For the last 20 years Scottish folk band, Malinky, has made a name for itself as one of the great champions of traditional Scots song. As the band prepares to launch its 20th anniversary album, Handsel, I caught up with two of its founder members, Steve Byrne and Mark Dunlop. They start by telling me a bit about the early days - the line-up back then consisted of Steve, Mark, Karine Polwart and Kit Patterson. Mark begins: “As I recall, the scene at the time comprised either instrumental bands who did the odd song (e.g. Deaf Shepherd), or purely instrumental acts."