The Makem & Spain Brothers: The Tradition Continues


Perhaps the highlight of the Guinness Fleadh on Saturday on Randall's Island came at midday. There, backed only by an acoustic guitar, Tommy Makem bellowed a stentorian "Four Green Fields," the hallowed Irish leave-us-alone-with-our-beauty ballad he wrote in 1967, as the audience members pumped their hands in the air and sang in spellbound unison.... "there is no denying that old vocal magic, which turned a whole generation onto Irish folk music, is still there."

NY Times

(Tommy) Makem never grows weary of standing before people and giving the gift of music and stories.

The Daily Messenger - Steppin' Out, Canandaigua, NY

It would be easy to mention "Four Green Fields" and leave it at that. But Makem is also a folklorist, a poet, a writer-and a musician and singer of real integrity. More and More, that's hard to come by."

Tom Dunphy

The Irish Voice, New York, 23 June 1999

One of the truly seminal figures of folk music Ireland has ever produced in the last half century. Truly one of Freedom's Sons.

Malcolm Rogers

Irish Music Magazine

May 1999

Irish music in America has never been the same...Their songs of joy, struggle and hope made America take notice of Ireland.

Irish America Magazine; Nov. 1999

With his friendly patter between songs, Makem could make every one of his listeners feel part Irish and proud of it...Makem has his audience ready to go out and die for Ireland.

The New York Times; Oct. 12, 1999

Ancient Pulsing...may be the most astonishingly beautiful fusion of Irish poetry and music ever created in a culture famous for both art forms.

-The Dover Times, Dover, NH

In a world full of volatile stocks and shady get-rich-quick schemes, a ticket to a Tommy Makem show is one of the safest investments going.

Charleston Daily Mail, Charleston, WV; Oct. 13, 1999

"...his ability to capture you with his storytelling is phenomenal, and he bounces effortlessly from recitation to song, with barely a thought to conserving his energy for his audience."

Irish Voice, Vol. 13, no. 41; Oct. 6-12, 1999

Front rank of this country’s folk performers

NY Times

One of the years best, bringing gusto to folk favorites of the pubs!

Time Magazine

Electric in-person impact! A resounding hit! As strong an attraction as has been known.

Hollywood Reporter


Saturday Review

It was a piece of theatre, a lament and a love song that came from the heart of one man and the soul of a country....Tommy Makem singing “Four Green Fields” is like what somebody once said about a Bruce Springsteen concert. “You can’t describe it. You just have to go where it takes you.

Boston Globe Magazine

A ballad that hit home with Alaskan storytellers was the tragis “Peter Kagan and the Wind,”...after singing a host of traditional songs, both haunting and joyful, Makem took the audience by surprise with Colm Gallagher’s irreverent “Bridie Murphy and the Kamikazi Pilot.”

Anchorage Times

Makem’s “Gentle Annie” remains one of his most poignant, romantic ballads....Tommy’s “Four Green Fields” leaves me with the same lump-in-the-throat feeling I get from some of the stronger musical pieces by Woody Guthrie or “Blowin’ in the Wind”-era Bob Dylan.

The News World, New York

And Makem, whether delivering a work of poetry or a song or just chatting with the crowd, has a voice that could do for the Irish what Burton’s did for the Welsh.

Phoenix Gazette

Faster than the eye can follow, Makem will go from singing “Bridie Murphy and the Kamikazi Pilot” to a recitation of William Butler Yeats. “When You are Old and Grey” in a rich baritone, made precisely for reciting poetry.

Courier Post, NJ

Makem’s dark, husky baritone gives edge to his plea for a reunited Ireland in “Four Green Fields” and becomes a gentle caress in “Gentle Annie,” both his own compositions.

Hollywood Reporter

Makem is a master of the sing-along form right up in the Pete Seeger class ... both his poetic delivery and his classic one-liners, had a strong impact on the crowd-a crowd, by the way, that ranged in age from grade school kids to their grandparents.

San Francisco Examiner