Arts Q&A: Musician Willie Drennan on Bob Dylan, Richmal Crompton, Pete Seeger and storytelling

Jenny Lee puts performers and artists on the spot about what really matters to them. This week, musician and storyteller Willie Drennan

Co Antrim musician and storyteller Willie Drennan

1. When did you think about a career in traditional music and storytelling and what were your first steps into it? I was in Holland in 1980. I couldn't find work at first so I thought I would try busking. Couldn't believe how much money I made so that put the notion in my head. I discovered storytelling by accident in 1991. I was a narrator and musician in a children's theatre show. Someone in the media referred to me as a storyteller so I've been calling myself a storyteller ever since.

2. Best gigs you've been to? Rock Concert at Vale Castle, Guernsey, in 1979. Great music in an idyllic setting beside the sea on a full moon; Bob Dylan at Earls Court, London, in 1979 – perhaps his last really good concert – and Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie in Montreal in 1983 in the intimate setting of an old church.

3. Fantasy wedding/birthday party band? Pass. Not really into that sort of thing.

4. The record you'd take to a desert island? Distant Drums by Galgorm Parks Fife and Drum. I find it meditative and soothing.

5. And the book? The Survival Handbook – Self Sufficiency For Everyone by Michael Allaby.

6. Top three films? The original 1935 movie The 39 Steps – great suspense; the1983 Scottish comedy-drama film Local Hero and O Brother Where Art Thou? for it's great music.

7. Worst film you've seen? I can't remember the name of it. It was so bad I erased it from my memory.

8. Favourite authors? Richmal Crompton, Roald Dahl and John King

9. Sport you most enjoy and top team? Football. Ballymena United and Northern Ireland.

10. Ideal holiday destination? The Greek islands, especially Crete.

11. Pet hate? Bureaucracy

12. What's your favourite:

Dinner? Seafood

Dessert? Apple and blackberry crumble

Drink? Craft beer.

13. Who is your best friend and how do you know each other? Caroline. Met passing tomato plants on a farm in Tennessee in 1982 and been living together ever since.

14. Is there a God? There's bound to be something like that.

:: Musician, composer, storyteller, poet and writer Willie Drennan will play the K Rend stage at the Dalriada Festival on July 13 and 14 at Glenarm Castle. For festival details visit, download the free app or follow @DalriadaFestival on Facebook, twitter or Instagram #DALFEST19.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access


Today's horoscope


See a different horoscope: