First ITMA Studio Video Recordings, 1993

First ITMA Studio Video Recordings, 1993

The Irish Traditional Music Archive began experimenting with studio recording in 1993, soon after it had moved from a single room in Eustace Street to new rented premises on two floors of 63 Merrion Square in central Dublin. No structural alterations could be carried out on the historic building, but under the supervision of Brian Masterson of Windmill Lane Studios, a basic recording facility was installed in two rooms of the top floor. The aim was to produce audio recordings for public listening within the Archive of performers who hadn’t been widely recorded. Aidan McGovern and Glenn Cumiskey were sound engineers, and Derry fiddle player Dermot McLaughin, then Traditional Music Officer of the Arts Council and now Chief Executive of the Temple Bar Cultural Trust (and Chairman of ITMA), was the subject of early experiments.

Two small and low-tech video cameras, remotely controlled by the engineers or by then ITMA secretary Sadhbh Nic Ionnraic, were wall-mounted in the performance room to make a simple visual record of performance for the use of students. The purpose was not to produce material for television or video publications but to record for study such elements of performance as posture and movement, and elements of technique such as bowing and ornamentation.

Each recording session lasted a few hours and, as well as recording music and song, interviews were conducted by Nicholas Carolan with the musicians and singers regarding their own musical history and their influences. The full audio and video recordings are available for reference listening and viewing within ITMA. For a complete list of people recorded by ITMA since 1993 please see the Field Recordings page of our website.

ITMA is grateful to Dermot McLaughlin, to Clare concertina player Mary MacNamara (who was then teaching music in Dublin, as she is now in Tulla, Co Clare), to singer Jim Mac Farland of Derry (then also living and working in Dublin), to singer Barry Gleeson of Dublin, and to the Four-Star Trio of Cork (Con Ó Drisceoil, accordion; Johnny McCarthy, fiddle; Pat Ahern, guitar) for permission to bring these ITMA 1993 video recordings to a wider audience.

NC & TH, 1 December 2011