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The double CD “Willie Clancy: The Gold Ring“ was released on Friday, December 4th, a little too late for us to announce it in our Annual issue. There is a large body of music on the two discs, running to over two and a half hours of music with 65 selections of tunes. The tracks were chosen by piper and RTÉ radio producer, Peter Browne. Peter had access to the RTÉ Libraries and Archives and was also able to source some tracks from private collectors and other archives. The CD covers about twenty years of piping from the famous Clare musician. The CD comes complete with a detailed 32 page booklet on the life, music and importance of Willie Clancy.

The new year’s crop of reading material includes ‘Music In Irish Cultural History’ by Gerry Smyth (Academic Press ISBN 978076529859), this work is from the Reader in Irish History at Liverpool John Moore’s University. It is a collection of thought provoking essays on the nature, scope and meaning of music in Irish culture.
A slightly more specific book on what at face value is the narrower subject of Irish Dance is ‘Close to The Floor – From the Boreen to Broadway’, edited by Mick Moloney. Jaime Morrison and Colin Quigley (Macater ISBN 978 0981492445). The book is wide ranging in it’s analysis of dancing; from essays on Sean Nos, Riverdance and the vernacular step dance genres of Canada, there are a number of verbatim reports of round table discussion with some of today’ most prominent dancers, notably one in which Jean Butler describes how working with the Chieftains helped her move from the competition mode to the Broadway stage.
Not forgetting of course that the Leaving Cert is in full swing soon and music students might require a primer on Traditional Irish Music, a new book by Sean Williams, might fit the bill there, his ‘Focus on Irish Traditional Music’, is part of the Focus on World Music Series from Routlege (ISBN 978 0415 991476). He offers some excellent background to the concepts and paradigms running through folk music and song and illustrates this with copious references to the text of songs. Writing from America he is at a disadvantage in not seeing how it is on the ground in Ireland. Sometimes he mistakes songs as either being traditional (She Mover through the Fair) or Irish (Peggy Gordon – Canadian), we found his comments on the aural nature of the tradition rather too simplified, so teachers might pass a sceptical eye over the text before assigning it to fresh young minds.

Permalink - Posted: February 3, 2010 at 12:29 pm