Roy Arbuckle’s career has brought him to many places and locales in his lifetime. From the early fifties during his youth Roy has had a fixture with playing the guitar.
His father made him one out a cooking pot, string and a brush shaft. Developing his skills during the skiffle craze of homemade music, he went on to become one of Derry’s first bass players. Towards the end of his teenage years he started appearing in dance bands and show bands, playing all-day & late at night. He found an early apprenticeship in playing music professionally, as part of Maisie McDaniel’s backing band, back when RTE was Ireland’s only T.V channel. Away from home Roy found himself performing on T.V every Friday, in Dublin and all over Ireland.
When the 70’s came, the show band boom went. However Roy was reinvigorated with a new found love of folk and traditional music, including the new surge of singer-songwriters, in the vein of Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, James Taylor and Kris Kristofferson. What grabbed him most about this wave of talent was the idea of songs with a social conscience that meant something to its audience. This led to him performing abroad in Holland, the mid-west in America and especially in Canada where he eventually stayed for a while.
Returning to Ireland during the middle of the nineties, Roy Arbuckle became involved in arts led community relations work and started a band called Different Drums of Ireland, using the two different types of drums of the communities. Described by some as the ‘Musical wing of the peace process’ towards the late nineties, they were sent by Mo Mowlam to play for Bill Clinton when he came to Northern Ireland and again but this time in America at the White House itself. Since then they were asked to perform across the world from Japan, France, China and Israel.
In recent years Roy has been hard at work producing songs and a play called Shapeshifter. A play of Irish mythology told with song and dance, the story revolves around Tuan mac Cairill, a lone survivor of a plague who goes through a series of animal transformations. The tale of this Irish Legend can be found in an 11th Century manuscript called Lebor na huidre (The Book of Dun Cow). The play is to to be in production during 2017.