Foster & Allen back return to the Midlands

Foster & Allen

Foster & Allen

One of Irish music’s most popular double acts, Foster & Allen, will be paying a visit to the Midlands this autumn.

The duo will appear at Solihull Arts Complex on November 14.

Tony Allen and Mick Foster have enjoyed a lengthy and successful musical career and remain one of the few Irish folk acts to have enjoyed chart success in the UK.

Both grew up surrounded by music. Tony was keen on music from an early age and was encouraged by his parents and teachers.

A talented accordion player he ended up replacing Brendan Shine in the Kieran Kelly Band.

He now owns a renowned recording studio in Moate that is used by many top Irish acts.

Mick Foster was born within sight of Kildare’s famous Curragh and has a small farm near Mullingar, where he spends all his time when not touring, looking after his horses and cattle. From an early age, having been taught to play accordion by a Westmeath nun and local hero Frankie Gavigan, he was influenced by Jimmy Shand and another all time great accordion player Will Starr.

The story of Foster & Allen began back in the seventies when Mick and Tony were playing in country music bands around Ireland. In 1975 they got together a small group and went over to the UK to work the Irish music venues there on a short tour.

They had the idea of working together as a duo, playing ‘easy listening’ music with a touch of traditional Irish instrumentals.

After playing several venues in the London area the reaction was so favourable they decided to stick with it.

Their first single The Rambles of Spring was well received but it was a single at the end of 1978 – A Bunch of Thyme – that saw them hit the big time.

A number one in Ireland it stayed in the charts there for 40 consecutive weeks, re-entering for a further 13 weeks.

It was not until 1982 that the single was released in the UK, where it also enjoyed radio airplay and became a chart hit, making it to number 20.

The duo were on holiday in America at the time and had to fly at short notice to Britain to appear on Top of the Pops.

The hits followed thick and fast and included Old Flames and Maggie.

Since then Foster & Allen have toured the world, performed on many TV shows and released a total of 30 albums.

To date they have achieved album and video sales of more than 19 million worldwide.

* To book tickets for their Solihull Arts Complex show telephone 0121 704 6962 or visit www.solihull.gov.uk/artscomplex/