Some Collectors of Irish Traditional Music


Essentially, everyone who learns an Irish traditional tune is a collector of the music, and most interested people will have a memorised collection, even if they don’t sing or play an instrument. But what is normally meant by the term are those dedicated individuals who amass over time large numbers of songs and melodies and preserve them on a variety of paper media or on sound or video recordings. They may partly be motivated by personal or commercial considerations, but most collectors are altruistic, driven by a wish to preserve and share something that they themselves enjoy and value. Some may in time publish items from their collections.

The collectors featured in this gallery from the collections of the Irish Traditional Music Archive range from those of the 18th and 19th centuries who of necessity collected with pen and paper and had the rare skill of being able to jot down melodies at first hearings, to those modern collectors with the no less valuable skill of operating audio and video technology to faithfully convey the reality of live performance. A debt is owed to all of them for enabling people now and in the future to experience the past of the music, and for providing materials for its ongoing re-creation.

Also here while it is still active is a link to a recent RTÉ ‘Nationwide’ programme which featured the work of the collectors Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie on the occasion of their recordings being made available through the Clare County Library here. An ITMA feature on their Irish collections will be found here.

With thanks to Colette Moloney, Ríonach uí Ógáin, Peter Browne, & Lisa Shields.

NC & TH, 1 June 2015

Some Collectors of Irish Traditional Music