Blooming Meadows: The World of Irish Traditional Musicians

A book by Fintan Vallely, Nutan, Charlie Pigott

Text of interviews by Piggott & Vallely, color and B/W photographs by Nutan

The book is a document on the lives and music of 30 major performers and movers of the revival period of Irish Traditional music. It is a series of 2,000 word, specifically-researched interviews and biographies/ethnographies which set these players in the contexts of their times, lives and performing. It is a balance between the written and the visual, a presentation which uses warm, quirky and personality-laden pictures taken by award-winning photographer Jacques Piraprez Nutan. In sympathy with the typical slow fuse of his work, the moods and themes of his mostly colour images are developed into personalities, community and nation by biography, interview, objective comment and poetry/song quotation. The voices are of musicians and singers, they who have shaped the revival of Traditional music since the nineteen fifties; there is a sprinkle there of today's generation of talented, articulate and often highly-educated players. The overview is from the inside, but also looks back over the shoulder at the musician and music-lover placed - anachronistically - in an information-age society, among Pop music market forces and technology, yet performing unaccompanied song from before the age of steam, eighteenth-century social dance, acoustic melody-making on music that may be older than the pianoforte or as young as the microchip. Nostalgia, Nationalism, Romanticism, virtuosity and communitas here meet art and quiet confidence in cultural meaning.


Theme: detailed prose-style interviews with 30 musicians, singers, dancers etc., mostly Irish born, a wide age spread, based in Ireland, England and US, professional and non-professionals: Brendan Begley, Mary Bergin, Vincent Broderick, Joe Burke and Anne Conroy, Vincent Campbell, Paddy Canny, Liz Carroll Joe Cooley, Seamus Devenney, Lucy Farr, Len Graham and Padraigín Ní Uallacháin, Gary Hastings, Martin Hayes, Peter Horan Tommy Keane, and Jacqui McCarthy, Paddy Keenan, Ben Lennon, Tony MacMahon, Neilidh Mulligan, Anne Mulqueen, Treasa and Róisín Ní Cheannabháin, Maighread Ní Dhómhnaill, Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, Johnny O'Leary, Peadar O'Loughlin, Sarah Anne O'Neill, Micho Russell, Sharon Shannon, Roger Sherlock, Brian and Eithne Vallely.