Crossroads Questions

Ireland in the 1990s. A country in the throes of change and traditional music was demonstrating in musical terms some of the tensions that such a transition creates. Searching albums by young musicians and bands, Riverdance, A River of Sound on television, heated debate in pubs on ‘tradition’, ‘innovation’, ‘change’, and then, excellently Continue reading

No Limits

JMI is now half way through its third year. You would imagine that things should be getting easier. I have sat down to write this editorial several times over the last two months, each time grounding to a halt after a couple of paragraphs. It seems I have become a victim of the exact subject I wanted to discuss: limits. Generally, when I Continue reading

No Brain Required

There is great satisfaction in producing an issue of JMI that contains reviews of both contemporary Irish music and sean-nós singing, if only because one does not observe this same sort of coupling often in Irish musical life. The division in understanding that exists between ‘classical’ and ‘traditional’ music in Ireland is a feature of our Continue reading

Noisy Little Country

This year, two young Irish composers, Jennifer Walshe and Donnacha Dennehy, both selected John Cage’s 4’ 33” (1952) to be performed as part of their ‘Composer’s Choice’ concerts at the National Concert Hall. To have Cage’s audacious four minutes and thirty-three seconds of ‘silence’ performed in an archetypal respectable venue such as Continue reading

Confidence Ill-defined

All musicians and singers are aware of the finely-tuned arrangement that can exist in one’s mind between self-belief and self-doubt. They know there are many different degrees and types of confidence, many factors in its generation, and many ways to disguise its absence.

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What We Won’t Tell the Visitors This Summer

Every now and then, if you are a traditional musician, you will get a call from a friend, a friend of a friend, or a relation, and they will tell you they have some people from abroad staying with them, and could you recommend a place where they could go and hear some Irish music? You picture the hosts that evening, who are normally only Continue reading

The Proposed Traditional Arts Committee

Two recent events will certainly have major repercussions for Irish traditional music. The first is the Government’s backing of the Arts Council’s new five-year plan, a document which has serious intentions for the traditional arts. The second is the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands’ presentation of a new Arts Bill which includes a proposal to establish a traditional arts ‘Standing Committee’ which ‘shall make recommendations to the Continue reading

Critical Reflection

As the many Irish music festivals taking place this summer begin to devise their programmes of events, it will be interesting to see whether any take the initiative of furthering the debates that have surfaced in this magazine. Not that JMI presumes it should set the agenda for these events, but it would certainly supply some continuity to the Continue reading

Time to Kill off the Revival

The idea for this article came after reading a piece by Siobhán Long in the Irish Times (22 September 2001) entitled ‘Language of rhythm and metre’, although I was also encouraged to write it after hearing the performance of Ronan Guilfoyle’s band Lingua Franca during the ESB Jazz week, also in September.

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