The Dublin band’s fourth album, one of the twelve nominees for the prestigious award, are trumped by a British jazz quintet
The Mercury Prize, the major British award for British and Irish music, was awarded to British jazz quintet Ezra Collective.
Lankum — made up of Ian Lynch, Daragh Lynch, Radie Peat and Cormac MacDiarmada — performed False Lankum, a track heavy on drone music.
The Mercury Prize s an annual music prize awarded for the best album released in Britain by a British or Irish act and has been running since 1992.
Previous Irish nominees have included U2, Snow Patrol, Róisín O, Jessie Buckley, SOAK and Villagers, but no Irish band has ever won the award.
The prize is open to any genre of music — Lankum are the first band to be nominated who could broadly be described as specialising in Irish traditional music, although they also incorporate Scottish folk, death metal and indie music. Their sound is characterised by drone music, often used in ambient music, but with its roots ultimately in folk music.
Lankum were originally called Lynched — an allusion to the founder members Ian and Daragh Lynch — but in 2016 changed it to Lankum, which comes from the ballad False Lankum as sung by Irish Traveller John Reilly. The name change came to avoid any word association with the practice of lynching, long associated with the oppression of black people in the southern states of America. In a statement the band said: "We will not continue to work under our current name while the systemic persecution and murder of black people in the USA continues.”
Last week’s Mercury Prize, although ultimately proving elusive for the band, will have introduced their music to millions as the ceremony was broadcast live on BBC 4 television.
Other nominees for the prize included Arctic Monkeys woth their album Car, Scottish band Jockstrap with I love you Jennifer B and Young Fathers with Heavy Heavy.
In all there were twelve nominees. The winners receive a specially commissioned trophy and a cash award of £25,000