Transition Year 2020 Bright Young Things

Itma Ty 2020 Group 1 Entrance
Niamh McGrattan, Róisín Conlon (ITMA), Aoileann O’Connor, Naoise Ní Ghríofa and Róisín Ní Chasaide
The highlight of the week for me was being able to have the opportunity to access old recordings and CDs that I never had the chance to listen to before.
Naoise Ní Ghríofa
My name is Naoise Ní Ghríofa 

and I am a sixteen-year-old concertina and fiddle player from Santry, Dublin.  I first started playing music when I was six, taking up the concertina when I was eight, where I attended classes with Aoife Ní Argáin. When I was fourteen I started going to Noel Hill in Na Píobairí Uilleann for group lessons twice a month, which I currently attend. From a very young age I’ve always been interested in playing the concertina, and I’ve always enjoyed learning it.   

I decided to come to the ITMA for work experience as I wanted to learn more about how the archive works, and to broaden my knowledge of traditional music.   

I also enjoyed sharing an environment with people who have the same interests as me. The staff in ITMA were all extremely welcoming and made the week really enjoyable overall. 

Go raibh míle maith agaibh as ucht an seachtain iontach!                                ---  Naoise

Itma Ty 2020 Group 1 Studio Crop
L-R: Aoileann O’Connor, Niamh McGrattan, Róisín Ní Chasaide and Naoise Ní Ghríofa in the ITMA studio
The work experience in ITMA was very enjoyable and I learned a lot in the space of a week.
Róisín Ní Chasaide
Is mise Róisín Ní Chasaide 

agus rinne mé seachtain taithí oibre mar pháirt don idirbhliain san ITMA. I play the fiddle, sing sean-nós, and play the piano. I’ve been playing the fiddle since the age of four. 

Traditional bands and soloists such as Steve Cooney, Martin Hayes, Liam O’Flynn, and composers like Seán O Riada, have had a great influence on my own playing. My father, Odhrán Ó Casaide, teaches me a lot of my traditional tunes and explains the history and culture of traditional music and the great Irish players that date back to O’Carolan, the Belfast Harp Festival, and Bunting. 

The work experience in ITMA was very enjoyable and I learnt a lot in the space of a week: ag eagrú sa leabharlann, ag catalogú, ag seinm séiseanna nua le na cailíní eile - agus thaifead muid iad- agus ag eagrú ephemera ó Chontae Aontroma.

Bhí sé an-suimúil agus bhain mé sult as, bhí gach duine an-deas agus cabhrach chomh maith.                                                                                                                      --- Róisín

 L-R: Niamh McGrattan, Naoise Ní Ghríofa, Aoileann O’Connor,and Róisín Ní Chasaide, in the Special Collections Room

Bhain mé an taithneamh as mo chuid ama anseo ... ag fhoghlaim go leor túin nua agus ag déanamh taifeadadh leis na gcailíní eile a raibh ag déanamh taithí oibre liom chomh maith.
Aoileann Ní Chonchubhair
Is mise Aoileann Ní Chonchubhair 

agus rinne mé seachtain anseo san ITMA mar phairt do thaithí oibre don idirbhliain. I play the fiddle and concertina. 

I enjoy listening to Irish music, especially fiddle playing and uilleann piping. Michael Coleman, Séan Keane, Frank O’Higgins, Noel Hill, Séamus Ennis and Lad O’Beirne are some of the musicians that influence me. 

My family are all very encouraging, especially my grandad Mick O’Connor, as he always shares rare recordings and shows me old photographs of musicians from the older generations. Liam O’Connor has taught me a lot of my repertoire and is a great teacher and influence on me. 

I attend a good few Irish music festivals during the summer including Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy, Scoil Acla, Meitheal and fleadhanna. 

D’fhoghlaim mé conas catalógú a dhéanamh, cúrsaí eagrúcháin sa leabharlann, ag eagrú póstaerí ón am atá thart, ag éisteacht le go leor ceol.                          --- Aoileann

Although I enjoyed doing all the various jobs in the archive, I think my favourite would have to be when we went down to the recording studio and Brian [Doyle] showed us how all the equipment works.
Niamh Mc Grattan
My name is Niamh Mc Grattan 

and I’m a fiddle player from Clondalkin, Dublin. I began playing music because my Mam and most of my Dad’s family play various instruments. 

I started to learn the fiddle when I was 9 years old in the Cobblestone Pub with Jackie Martin, and later on with Liam O’Connor. As well as lessons, in the summer I go to music summer schools such as the Willie Clancy Summer School in Clare and Scoil Acla in Achill Island.  It’s great listening to musicians such as Michael Coleman, Kevin Burke, Tommy Peoples and more. 

I went to ITMA for a week for work experience. It was really interesting to learn about the archive and how everything works. During the week we did cataloguing, CD and book shelving, ephemera sorting and we recorded a tune using the archive’s filming equipment. 

All in all, it was a great week and I really enjoyed it.                                            --- Niamh

And the recording for Mary Bergin ....

As you know the Archive is hosting three special concerts in the National Concert Hall to celebrate the donation of the Liam O'Flynn Collection to ITMA.

As part of the preparations ITMA Director Liam O’Connor would like to put a spotlight on some of the hidden gems that have been uncovered in the Liam O’Flynn Collection. One of the most noteworthy discoveries comes in the form of two previously unpublished jigs composed by Liam O'Flynn The Return of the Pedalboard and The Piper’s Stone. ITMA Archivist Maeve Gebruers has shared news of the collection including Liam's compositions in the latest issue of An Píobaire

Among the Liam O’Flynn papers are a number of original compositions by the piper. Working in collaboration with Na Píobairí Uilleann, ITMA is delighted to publish two of Liam’s compositions for the first time in this edition of An Píobaire. Contextual notes in O’Flynn’s own words accompany each tune. 

Maeve Gebruers, 'Liam O'Flynn collection in ITMA', An Píobaire 16, no. 1 (2020)

© Liam O'Flynn The return of the pedalboard

In order to make the material even more accessible Liam O'Connor decided to make a recording of these compositions and circulate it to the artists taking part in the concerts as an inspiration for their set lists But, who would ITMA task to create the recording for Mary Bergin and the other performers?

Of course he left it in the very capable hands of our four TY musicians! The ladies embraced the task with enthusiasm and precision, and the proof is in the playing. 

And so here we proudly present Liam O'Flynn tunes The Return of the Pedalboard and The Piper’s Stone played by Aoileann O’Connor, fiddle, Róisín Ní Chasaide, fiddle, Naoise Ní Ghríofa, concertina, and Niamh McGrattan, fiddle. Recorded at the Irish Traditional Music Archive, January 2020.

ITMA is delighted to offer Transition Year work experience but places are limited. 

Any students who are interested in traditional music and would like to apply can direct their queries to [email protected]

And in our next March newsletter we will hear from two other TY students/musicians who joined us later in the month of February. 

Prepared and edited by:

Grace Toland

Róisín Conlon

Brian Doyle (video)