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Help to document Irish traditional music in Tocane 1991–2014

Category: Announcements,
Date: Monday, 14th July, 2014
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One of the longest-running of the festivals of Irish traditional music which take place outside Ireland is Rencontres Musicales Irlandaises de Tocane, held annually in July in the rural town of Tocane St Apre, near Bordeaux, in scenic and sunny south-west France.

Since 1991, a local committee has liaised with an Irish organiser to bring groups of leading Irish traditional musicians, singers and dancers to Tocane for a highly enjoyable four-day festival of concerts, classes, workshops and sessions in which the Irish visitors interact with performers and followers of the music from all over France and from further afield. The festival continues vigorously and next year will celebrate its initial quarter-century.

The organisers of Rencontres Musicales Irlandaises de Tocane (RMIT) have now joined with the Irish Traditional Music Archive (ITMA) in Dublin in an experimental project to document the twenty-four years of the Tocane Irish festival to date.

Many of the thousands of people who have attended the festival since 1991 have made sound and video recordings of performances there, and have photographed both the formal and informal proceedings. Some will also have kept paper records such as brochures and newspaper clippings.

RMIT and ITMA now ask all who have such audiovisual or other materials to donate copies of them to a cooperative crowd-sourcing project of the two organisations, a project which will form for all who are interested, now and in the future, a unique record of a unique event. The materials will be held and preserved securely in ITMA, which is the largest archive of Irish traditional music in existence and has a substantial free online presence at www.itma.ie. The materials donated will be made available within ITMA for listening, viewing and reading by the general public, but no other use will be made of them without specific permission, and all the rights of performers and donors will be protected.

In line with best archival practice, the originals of recordings and other documents will be particularly welcome. Members of RMIT and ITMA will be in attendance to receive donations at this year’s festival in Tocane, 20–24 July 2014, and materials can also now be sent to ITMA at 73 Merrion Square, Dublin 2. But high-quality copies (analogue or digital) will also be very welcome. They can be donated as above, and also online to tocane@itma.ie. To help memories, a listing of the Irish guest performers at Tocane since 1991 is available at http://www.rencontresmusicalesirlandaisestocane.fr/fr/lhistorique/les-intervenants.

Rencontres Musicales Irlandaises de Tocane and the Irish Traditional Music Archive ask all who have relevant materials to support this new and important project, which will contribute both to the documentation of the festival itself and to the story of the ongoing globalisation of Irish traditional music. For further information see http://www.itma.ie/news/article/tocane.