Online music of Clare project launched

The first stage of the project concentrates on the traditional music of the county and featuring the biographies and music of some of Clare’s best known traditional music artists, including Martin Hayes, Micho Russell, Willie Clancy, Sharon Shannon, Chris Droney, Dennis Cahill, The Kilfenora Céilí Band, Martin Junior Crehan, Elizabeth Crotty, Kevin Crawford, Kieran Hanrahan, The Tulla Céilí Band and Kitty Hayes.

“The library service in Clare offers a wide range of music for lending throughout the county, and we have had a very strong traditional music collection in Miltown Malbay for many years. This new online project will allow immediate access to all those interested in the music of County Clare, and will greatly enhance the existing historical and cultural resources on the library website itself,” explained Clare County Librarian Helen Walsh.

“We want members of the public to be able to listen to traditional tunes associated with County Clare, played by musicians who are from the county or who have lived in it for many years”, stated the initiator and manager of the project, Senior Executive Librarian Anthony Edwards.

Mr. Edwards added that although it is not intended to be definitive or comprehensive, the project does hope to represent the best of a rich tradition. He continued: “We have also included transcriptions of the featured tunes, to help anyone who wishes to learn the basic notes of a tune so as to be able to play it. Links to alternative transcriptions are also provided.”

The project also includes a Music Videos feature, a collection of embedded online videos of Clare musicians from YouTube. Historical and biographical articles place the music of Clare in context and provide background and further resources for study and enjoyment. The Traditional Music of Clare Jukebox gathers together all of the tracks featured in the Music of Clare project so that they can be listened to easily and in sequence. The Music of Clare project is based on the same software system that the library has used to publish Foto, its online collection of photographs.

The project received financial support from the Clare County Arts Office which, with Arts Council funding, sponsored an initial researcher, Paddi O’Connell, and funded the transcription of some of the tunes by Geraldine Cotter.

“The County Arts Office is committed to promoting the wealth of traditional music in Clare and we were delighted to work with Clare Library Service on such an exciting and important project,” said Siobhán Mulcahy, County Arts Officer.

The Music of Clare Project team consisted of Executive Librarian Maureen Comber, Library Staff Officer Jackie Dermody and project manager Anthony Edwards.

Ms. Comber commented: “The project team is very grateful to Geraldine Cotter for providing contact details of many of the featured musicians and for answering many of their queries. Their thanks also go to Mary Custy for her transcriptions of tunes, to Vince Brennan for the sheetmusic from O’Neill’s ‘Music of Ireland’ and Allan’s ‘Irish Fiddler’ on his Old Music Project and to Jeremy Keith for sheetmusic on The Session Website. They’d also like to acknowledge the help of Aisling McMahon, and give special thanks to Michael Kelleher of Ennistymon for his wonderful list of tunes which are commonly played in Clare and which acted as the foundation of this project.”

“We have been astounded at the generosity and support we have received from musicians, record companies and authors featured in the project. All those we have been able to contact have responded with enthusiasm and goodwill. To those few we have not been able to contact, despite our best efforts, we give our assurance that we do not take their participation for granted and welcome any response to mailbox@clarelibrary.ie,” Ms. Comber concluded.

The Music of Clare project is available online now at www.clarelibrary.ie

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