Missed an earlier news item? Visit the news archive.


The Comhaltas Digital Traditional Music Archive is an imaginative new platform to preserve and share our heritage of Irish traditional music, song, dance and language. An Taoiseach, Brian Cowen TD, today officially launched the Comhaltas Digital Traditional Music Archive at The National Gallery of Ireland.

The new archive links together the local collections of the Comhaltas Regional Resource Centres with the national collection at Cultúrlann na hÉireann, making it possible for people around the world to experience and contribute to the Comhaltas collection.

An Taoiseach, Brian Cowen TD commented “It’s an honour to be here today to launch this wonderful resource which will certainly help to raise awareness and appreciation of Irish traditional music heritage all over the world. I wish Comhaltas all the best with their digital archive, and encourage all with a passion for music and history to log on and access the wealth of material available.”

Responding to An Taoiseach’s comments, the Ardstiúrthóir of Comhaltas, Senator Labhrás Ó Murchú said: “This is an important day for the cultural traditions of Ireland as it links together the global fraternity who play and appreciate the traditional music of Ireland. This is a vote of confidence in ourselves as a distinctive nation.”

The initial release of the Archive system includes 15,000 audio items and 4,000 photographs. Comhaltas’ Timire Cheoil, Séamus MacMathuna made original field recordings of some of the most significant Irish musicians. Preserving these sounds on magnetic tape opened the door for the next musicians to peer in, listen and experience Irish culture in it purest form. Johnny Doherty, Bobby Casey, Leo Rowsome, Patrick Kelly, Denis Murphy, Willie Clancy – immortal names living through the shared memory of the Comhaltas Archive.

At the new bi-lingual website, visitors are welcome to browse through the catalogue and play previews of archive items. For full access, guests are invited to visit any Comhaltas Regional Resource Centre. Signing up for an online researcher account is simple and free of charge, and allows guests to participate in the development of the Archive by suggesting names for tunes, identifying performers and suggesting new keywords. Guests can also create playlists of favourite items and share them with others. As a reference or teaching tool, the Comhaltas Archive encourages an active exploration of related recordings, documents, images and printed documents.

Connecting people through time and across continents, introducing old tunes to new players, illuminating regional styles and bringing generations together, the digital Comhaltas Archive honours the past while nourishing the future.

The Archive Project is part of the Development Programme of Comhaltas which is being funded by the Government. There are now 16 cultural centres providing cultural and tourism services to their dedicated regions. People can also view the extensive cultural programme of Comhaltas on a new website which has already had over 18 million hits.

Permalink - Posted: April 21, 2010 at 4:53 pm