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

Comhaltas Culture

The reputation of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, the organisation founded in 1951 to promote Irish traditional music, reaches far and wide. Seldom is the rise of this music over the past fifty years mentioned without paying Continue reading

Martin Hayes and the Tradition

For a musician who has come to personify open-mindedness in twenty-first century Irish traditional music, it is probably a paradox to say that it is Martin Hayes’ single-mindedness that is most impressive. Many traditional Irish musicians have released an outstanding recording or two, the kind that overflows with high points and Continue reading

What Happens When You Stop Playing Tunes?: An Interview with Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh

From Rathfarnam in County Dublin, Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh is a fiddle player, whistle player and uilleann piper. On fiddle he has recorded one solo album, Turas go Tír na nÓg (1999), and made a widely acclaimed duet recording with uilleann piper Mick O’Brien, Kitty Lie Over (2003). Now aged 27, Ó Raghallaigh has this year produced a solo recording which stretches beyond the boundaries of traditional music. This interview took place in An Spidéal, County Galway, on 23 July 2007.

Toner Quinn: You have just independently released a new twenty-eight minute CD, Where the one-eyed man is king, and it is an unorthodox recording for a traditional Irish fiddle player. Could you tell me about it?

Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh: It started in December 2006. I went to the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Monaghan and the plan was to experiment with recording music in a way that I hadn’t done before, overlaying fiddles and playing Continue reading

About the Money

Our lead article by Dermot McLaughlin takes issue with the progress made by the Arts Council in the traditional arts since the turning point three years ago when the Special Committee on the Traditional Arts delivered its report.

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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