Purists All

Little captures the imagination like the idea of the ‘traditional music purist’ – though it’s a notion rife with inconsistencies. What is more, the idea appears to be as popular as ever, though for reasons, argues Toner Quinn, that have little to do with music…

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Images of England

For all the ties that bind Ireland to England – not least in family and employment – it remains in our perception a force to be pushed against. In this jostling, there are expressions of English culture which we are prone to overlook. English folk music is Continue reading

Normalising the Nation

The news that the Arts Council has allocated 3 million euro to the traditional arts for 2006, with that figure set to increase in 2007 and 2008, is both welcome and significant. Setting aside for a moment the practical impact it could have on traditional Continue reading

Are You Talking to Me?: Traditional and Classical Music in Ireland

Since the nineteenth century, when nationalism and the use of traditional tunes became a feature of classical music internationally, the subject of traditional music has regularly been referred to in classical music criticism. Ireland is no Continue reading

Intellectual Enterprise

Without giving away too much, one point raised in Axel Klein’s travelogue of his recent (and most enterprising) trip to the US can be commented upon here. Mr Klein suggests that it is ‘Irish people’ (and not he – who is German and based in Bonn) who Continue reading

The decline in traditional music CDs

We may be reluctant to admit it, but as the years wind on it is becoming increasingly difficult to deny. While we may look on in awe at the degree of enterprise traditional musicians have shown in independently releasing dozens upon dozens of CDs in Continue reading

A Feel for the Terrain

That JMI has raised more questions than provided answers over the past three years goes without saying. Few will be surprised or bothered by this. But the act of questioning is valuable in itself, for it sketches out a map of the wire-fences and high walls in our society that decide the path for new ideas. After three years ofJMI, often publishing Continue reading

Education v. Branding

Many who have had the benefit of a music education are surprised to learn how many others go without. Ireland, the musical nation, with a harp on its coins and one of Europe’s strongest folk music traditions, compares poorly to other European counties in the provision of music education. For those who are passionate about music education, Continue reading

Music and Booze

Ireland’s alcoholic nature, though coming under increased scrutiny and criticism in recent national debates, still has a true ally in traditional music. A key conscript in the marketing and selling of Ireland’s pub culture, it can be sometimes difficult to tell whether traditional music is propping up our drink culture, or if it is the other way Continue reading