A VETERAN Irish duo who are celebrating their 40th anniversary in the music business are looking forward to two appearances in Ayrshire as part of a UK-wide tour.

Foster & Allen, alias Tony Allen and Mick Foster, kick-off an 18-date Scottish tour at the Maltings in Berwick-upon-Tweed on March 23 and are at the Palace Theatre on Thursday, April 6 and Ayr Gaiety Theatre on Saturday, April 8.

Tony was born on February 24 1952, the youngest of a family of nine children. and he was very keen on music from an early age, and was very much encouraged by his parents and teachers. His father Patrick was a fiddle player while his mother was a fine singer Tony started playing the accordion after one of his brothers brought him an accordion home from England. It wasn’t too long before he joined the Mary Landers (a local band) and in turn joined the Kieran Kelly Band replacing Brendan Shine.

Tony’s whole life revolves around music, and he enjoys every minute he is entertaining people all over the world. He opened a recording studio in Moate, named “Roseland Studios” and all the major acts in Ireland record their albums there.Tony is totally motivated by music and with having the studio he is now directing his interests into the technical side of the business. However we all know Tony as an entertainer, and there is no chance that he would ever give that up. He has a tremendous singing voice, with the ability to make any song his own.

Mick was born in 1947 in County Kildare, in sight of the Curragh, which is probably the reason why he has a great love for horses and the open air. He now lives in Mullingar and has a small farm where he spends all his time, when not touring, looking after his horses and some cattle. Mick is very keen on his music, and states that his accordion would probably be the last thing he would be prepared to give up. From an early age he was influenced in his music by the famous Jimmy Shand and another all-time great accordion player Will Starr.

The duo are touring on the back of a successful single, Mrs Brown's Boys - a tribute to the acclaimed TV series and was released before Christmas.

Tony said: "We performed Mrs Brown's Boys in Moore Street in Dublin and we had great interest, people wanted to jump around and participate.That's what I like about Scottish and Irish audiences - they always like to get involved. We passed on a copy to Brendan O'Carroll (who plays Mrs Brown in the RTE/BBCTV series) and hopefully he will take the time to listen to it!"

The duo still get a great buzz out of performing - even after four decades.

Added Tony: "I thought it would maybe have lasted about five to 10 years but to go this long is amazing. We really look forward to performing in Scotland because we have really good audiences, they don't just sit there but enjoy being involved in the performance. It will be good to play at the Palace and the Gaiety."

Since the start of this millennium, Mick Foster and Tony Allen have sold almost 1.5million units in the UK.

Their new collection, “The Gold Collection”, is a 60-track offering, on a 3-CD set and includes their recent single ‘Mrs Brown’s Boys’,‘Galway Girl’ - their duet with Coronation Street favourite and one-time X Factor star Shayne Ward, along with more than 20 songs and medleys that have not been available for at least a dozen years; some of them much longer. These will be on sale at the venues.

“The Gold Collection” really does go back into Foster & Allen’s deep and rich catalogue, delivering some of those long forgotten recordings that made them such household names during the 1980s and 1990s.

Having sold almost 20 million albums worldwide, Foster & Allen will be supporting the album with a 18-date Scottish tour this Spring, as Scotland is one of their strongest selling and performing regions.

For tickets call the Palace Theatre on 01563 554900 or Gaiety Theatre on 01292 288235.