Robin Williamson, best known as founder of the Incredible String Band and matured as a prolific storyteller bard of Celtic and Nordic myths, is serving a two day workshop of Moytura on Moytura in Co. Sligo, Ireland.
Robin, along with Mike Heron and Clive Palmer formed the Incredible String Band in the mid 1960s to record an LP of the same name to share a fusion of Scottish and American folk music blended with their own compositions.
Its moderate success, especially of Robin’s “October Song” that has been covered by several artists and praised by Bob Dylan, Robin and Mike returned to record a follow up “5000 Spirits Or The Layers Of The Onion”, in 1967, which enjoyed chart success, concert hall status and a place in the revered Newport Folk Festival. This was a favourite album of Paul McCartney at the time and it is said that the Beatles went to Incredible String Band Concerts and went away with ideas for Sergeant Pepper’s and its also said Mick Jagger was inspired by this LP for creating “Her Satanic Majesty’s Request”.
For their follow-up, “The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter” Robin and Mike were joined by their girlfriends Licorice and Rose to create their biggest chart success. Robert Plant said that Led Zeppelin found their way by “playing Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter and following the instructions”.
Their fourth release was a double album, “Wee Tam Big Huge”, also released as separate LPs, which appears to have defined the direction of Robin’s work to follow. This album collection is full of Celtic and Nordic influenced mythology. Around the time of this release the band appeared at the famed 1969 Woodstock Festival. Despite providing a good performance have failed to be included in any official film and soundtrack releases.
Elevated now to concert and even stadium performances the Incredible String Band continued until 1974.
Robin gets Celtic and becomes a Bard
After leaving Incredible String Band, Robin formed the Merry Band who were together three years and recorded three excellent albums. In the band were two harpists, including Sylvia Woods who is said to be the true pioneer of the Celtic Harp renaissance.
Inspired by Sylvia, Robin soon matched the playing of the harp with the traditions of the ancient bards to become an outstanding singer harper and storyteller in the spirit of the old traditions. The first wonderful work of this transition was Songs Of Love And Parting around 1980 which was then followed by a decade of printed and recorded works of songs, music, stories and plays that shared the ancient traditions in styles that Robin had developed since, probably, the Wee Tam Big Huge Days of the late 60s, but this time mainly with music from his harp.
Robin follows the circle again
During the 90s, Robin returned to folk music roots similar to his introductions in the 60s and earned a Grammy nomination for his live album with John Renbourn, “Wheel Of Fortune”. By the late 90s, Robin re-joined Mike Heron to re-form the Incredible String Band for a further four years, but left to return to and further his journey through the ancient mythology of old, often accompanied by his wife Bina.
Today, Robin’s performances are an incredible mix of his life’s work including the jazz and blues influences of the early 60s before he was even involved in the very first Incredible String Band album. An added bonus, influenced by his current heavy metal fan roadie, are the occasional Robin style arrangements of heavy metal classics.
However, through all of this music Robin’s passion is truly sharing his interpretation and arrangements of Celtic and Nordic myths both in concert and workshop settings.
It is exciting that we can now share Robin’s tales of Moytura masterpieces with you at Moytura.
Moytura is in Co. Sligo, an Anglo spelling of a place once called Moitirra and before that Moctire, from MacTire, “son of the land”, assumed to be a reference to Lugh and his role in the success of the famous mythological battle there.
The mythological battle of the Tuatha De Dannan and the Formorians, Cath Maige Tuired, that is said to have taken place there about 1500 BC may well be a symbolic tale of ourselves shedding the dark side to find light as the symbols are also full of the traditions of Samhain, which most of us have come to know as Halloween and All Souls Day.
Something did take place there, due to the abundance of related relics of ancient constructions in the area.
Robin and Moytura
On May 27th and May 28th Robin Williamson will share his tales and music of Moytura on Moytura at the Cromleach Lodge on Moytura.
On the evening of Wednesday May 27th, Robin will perform an intimate concert of songs and stories from Celtic Mythology. I am sure some old Incredible String Band favourites will be thrown in too :-) .
Through May 28th Robin will serve a day’s workshop going into the depths and spirit of Moytura, the symbolism of the battle, and its relevance to us rising from the dark to the light. There are strong women characters in this setting so this is truly a workshop for all.
Warning !! Guaranteed you’ll be laughing a lot and come away with an abundance of joy!
There are only 18 places in this unique workshop that Robin now serves very rarely in special locations.
The fee for the 2 days, concert, workshop and plus dinner and one night of bed and breakfast in the pampering luxury Cromleach Lodge is only €200 per person sharing and limited to just 18 people.
If you desire only concert or workshop or alternative accommodation I can provide alternative quotes. However, I do urge that you allow yourself the full experience of the package we offer. Cromleach Lodge has one of the most spectacular views of Ireland overlooking sites of so much mythology, Maeve’s cairn and mountain, Morrigan’s cairn and mountain, the Carrowkeel Cairns, the surreal Lough Arrow, sacred Ben Bulben mountain and a short walk from Moytura legend sites of Labby Rock, Lugh’s Seat and the Lake Of Balor’s Eye.
For initial inquiry please go to
and ask to be listed for Robin Williamson’s Moytura Tales from Moytura retreat.