Philip Glass in Galway

I chose my seat at the Philip Glass concert in Galway very carefully. I like to see the hands of a piano player when I’m listening to them. It can fill in the dry stretches in a concert, if there are any.

A gentleman arrived with his date and asked me would I mind moving, so they could have two seats together – there were only two separate seats left, Continue reading


That’s atmosphere!

I tried to catch the tail end of the Galway Sessions today (a mini-festival of traditional music sessions), but there was a children’s day on in Eyre Square at the same time and we were led towards it. While I wondered was I missing some great traditional music, and then telling myself that I always think that and that I’m probably not, I Continue reading

What If?

I appeared on RTÉ Radio 1’s What If? programme last Sunday with Nicholas Carolan of the Irish Traditional Music Archive. We were discussing ‘What if Ireland had lost its traditional music heritage?’ One of the pre-planned questions we didn’t get to discuss, because of time constraints, was, ‘What role does Irish traditional Continue reading

A very contemporary art form

Those who have studied the history of traditional music often enjoy pointing out that this music is not nearly as old as many presume. Retreat just a few hundred years and we would not even have some of the tune types – the hornpipe for example – never mind much of the repertoire that we perform today. (Similarly, the pub session only Continue reading

Gaelacadamh in Conamara

On Thursday evening I attended the annual concert of Gaelacadamh in Conamara. When I mentioned, in the latest editorial, organisations that have overtaken Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann in terms of dynamism I was Continue reading

You can’t play your own music in here!

I walked into Powell’s music shop in Galway city yesterday. It’s a shop that’s somehow split in two. The banjo and piano player Brian McGrath appears to run the front part, selling CDs, and the back of the shop seems to be Continue reading

Crash Ensemble’s first concert

Our latest issue leads with an article on the Crash Ensemble as it celebrates its tenth birthday. I suddenly remembered, listening to a recent edition of Nova, which focused on Crash, that I was at their first concert in 1997.

I can recall that I attended with the sean-nós dancer and musician Seosamh O Neachtain. At the time I was Continue reading

Death of Tom Munnelly

Sad news today that one of Ireland’s most important and respected song collectors, Tom Munnelly, has died. Munnelly made the largest field-collection of Irish traditional song ever compiled by any individual, recording, indexing and transcribing over 20,000 songs, and he was a world authority on traditional song. Since 1974, he Continue reading

What is the reality of Irish musical life today?

Placing the entire seven years of JMI on the world wide web – and free to view – has been fascinating for myself as editor. There are many articles worth revisiting and I hope readers will take the time to wander through the over 500 articles so far. One particular phrase that leaped out at me appears in Frank Heneghan’s article on the MEND Continue reading