Six questions with… Leif

are Eoin O’Brien and Conor O’Sullivan, an acoustic duo from the Southwest of Ireland. Blending traditional, contemporary and original folk music, Leif will leave audiences captivated by the storied music of songs old and new. Conor answered a few of our questions before

Tell us about your most recent album.

We were booked to do a tour of Russia last November so we decided to do an album to sell while there. We had a very limited timeframe in which to complete it so we went to the studio with a drummer and did some live takes, then added some overdubs afterwards. The album reflects our live sound and features guests like Niall Vallely, Martin Leahy & Nigel Grufferty.

Which other musicians have been your main influences? 

There’s too many to mention really but local musicians have been a huge influence on us; people like multi-instrumentalist Mick Daly and accordion player Christy Leahy.        

What inspires you when writing music? 

Inspiration can fly in the window from anywhere but more often than not, the swell of a particular chord or pattern is enough to get things moving. Or sometimes just a great story whether it be fact or fiction.

Which bands/artists from the contemporary Trad scene, in Scotland or elsewhere, do you rate most?                                       

Certainly in Scotland the likes of Dick Gaughan, Kris Drever, and the late John Martyn are artists who have contributed hugely to the folk music tradition in Scotland and beyond. Acts like Lau, Anais Mitchell, Karine Polwart, Chris Wood, John Doyle are also excellent and continue to create great music.

Are there any other acts on the TradFest programme you’d recommend seeing?

Dick Gaughan, who is playing with The Men from Leith on Friday 6 May.  

What does Tradition mean to you?

It’s the validation that we are part of something greater and older than ourselves. Externally our society may undergo all forms of surgery but underneath the surface, the heartbeat that is our culture continues to throb and evolve, offering us a direct line between the past and present.

Leif will open for Nordic Fiddlers Bloc at The Pleasance on Tuesday 3 May.