Management Photographs of Musicians, 1970s–2000s


There have been professional musicians engaged in Irish traditional music for as long as we have music documentation: travelling harpers and pipers, village fiddlers, dancing masters, keening women. But opportunities for professional traditional musicians declined sharply after the Great Famine, and apart from some Irish stage musicians in America and some ceili band and other musicians in Ireland, few traditional performers could make a living from traditional music until the 1960s and 1970s.

In those decades, with increasing national prosperity and growing professionalism in all kinds of Irish music, small numbers of traditional groups began to enter into contractual arrangements with record companies and to engage professional managers to organise international tours and look after their other interests. Among the duties of managers was the provision of copyright-free publicity photographs of their clients to festival organisers and media outlets. By the 1980s these photographs had advanced from being random images of the musicians to including management contact details as standard.

These photographs now form part of the biographies of professional groups and help chart their personnel changes. ITMA accordingly collects such photographs and is always keen to increase its collections of them. It recently received a considerable accession of these photographs which were rescued from a rubbish skip by ITMA staff outside an Irish national newspaper.

ITMA always welcomes the donation of such materials or the opportunity to copy them.

NC & TH, 1 June 2009

Management Photographs of Musicians, 1970s–2000s