A force of nature in the Irish folk and trad scene, Alfi takes old-time music into the new age. Comprised of Alannah Thornburgh, Fiachra Meek and Ryan McAuley, the band met in a college house in Maynooth and have been playing together as Alfi since 2017.

Melding Irish folk songs collected by Fiachra’s grandmother, Appalachian tunes brought by Ryan and original pieces crafted by Alannah, Alfi create an exceptional sound and an enchanting live experience.

‘The origin of the name is also the origin of the band’, according to Ryan who remembers the story distinctly. Beginning as Al-Fi (a combination of Alannah and Fiachra), the duo asked Ryan to play with them for their first-ever gig at Arcadian Field. They have since tried and abandoned the idea of changing the name to add a nod to Ryan - ‘Ralfi just doesn’t sound great’.

Leaving ego at the door, Fiachra chimes in that ‘it’s always been very easy to sit down together and play music. When someone is completely enthusiastic about something they bring to the band, it sticks. We’re all aware of each other's interests.’

‘We like folk music from everywhere. We’re working on tunes from English and Scottish folk, and we play a French tune too. I think we’re influenced by everything we listen to in the world around us too, not just one style.’

Experimenting with storytelling and theme, Fiachra explains that ‘our first album was a bit playful in the sense that there are some nursery rhymes and some drinking songs. It’s very dramatic and thematic. Ryan was showing us old-time tunes and we started playing them together too.’

Humour and slight irony play a strong role in the storytelling nature of Alfi’s music and relate folk music to the modern day. Their set ranges vastly from an arrangement of Mick Fitzgerald’s The Drink Song, waxing lyrical about Dublin being ‘the healthiest city on the dole, sir’, to a French folk piece and a range of traditional Irish tunes.

Since the release of their second album ‘Say Old Man’ in July 2023, Alfi has enraptured audiences around the country, recording a live version of their song Jubilee for GemsOnVHS and playing to a packed Whelan’s main room in November of 2023. Recently, they played lively renditions of their tunes to engaged audiences in the Oriel Cultural Centre in Dundalk as part of their Aistear 2030 Series, and two sets at the St Patrick’s Day Festival in Collins Barracks.

On the future, Alfi have some mini tours on the cards, playing their first gig as a band in London alongside Celtic punk legends The Pogues at the start of May, as well as a trip around Ireland, bringing their tunes to Cork, Galway and returning home to Carlingford and Rostrevor for hometown shows. A truly unique live experience, Alfi makes folk accessible to all, bringing passion to the stage and sharing their deep love for music with the masses.

Upcoming gigs

04.04.24 || London || Féile Moth, Boradside Hacks

24.04.24 || Cork || Levis’ Corner House

25.04.24 || Galway || Róisín Dubh

26.04.24 || Louth || Carlingford Heritage Centre

27.04.24 || Newry || Rostrevor Folk Club