An A to Z of Irish Traditional Music – notes for collaborators

29 June 2021

Over the past few weeks I’ve been working up an idea of creating a series of collaborative playlists of Irish traditional music which to be hosted on my YouTube channel with commentary on my website –

I’d be delighted if you would like to work with me on compiling one of the playlists.  It won’t involve much work, honestly!  At a minimum, it only requires you sending me links to 5 videos of Irish trad on YouTube which you rate highly/which have been an influence on your music and which are associated with a single letter of the alphabet.  I will do the rest…

Can I suggest that you go for either the initial letter of your first name or your surname? (Although please don’t feel constrained by this… if you’d prefer to opt for another letter please feel free…) And if we only know each other through social media sites such as Twitter or The Mandolin Cafe Forum and where you operate under a handle, you’ll need to let me know your name so that I can give you due credit.

What I’d need you to do is to suggest 5 tunes/tune sets which you rate highly and which are associated with the letter in question.  The association could be:

  • The name of the tune (or one of the tunes in the set).  For example The Humours Of Bandon could be included in either a “H” playlist or a “B” playlist.
  • The name of the player/group in question.  For example Paddy Keenan could be included in either a “P” playlist or a “K” playlist.  Brendan McGlinchey could be included in a “B” playlist, an “M” playlist or a “G” playlist…
  • descriptive/evocative word beginning with the letter in question which describes the tune/tune set which you’d like to nominate.  For example “exciting” for a tune in an “E” playlist, “long” if you wanted to include one of Martin Hayes’ 20-minute plus sets in an “L” playlist. “Melancholy”, “fast”, “triplets”, “technique”, “humour”, “youth”… all these are possible “hooks” for a particular piece.

For each of the 5 tracks you suggest, I will include a track which I nominate.  Therefore each playlist will include 10 tracks and so on average they’ll be around half an hour long.
My preference would be to include tracks which are already available on YouTube and so if you could send me a Youtube link to each of the 5 tracks you’d like to nominate, that would be very helpful.  If one or more of the tracks you’d like to nominate aren’t available on YouTube but are available elsewhere on the web (e.g. soundcloud), let me have the link and I’ll make up a quick video which I’ll upload to YouTube…

If you would like to add some notes about the tune/set in question, please feel free.  But don’t feel under any obligation…  I’m happy to add notes which will essentially be my response to the tunes you suggest.

Once I have compiled the playlist (which may take a while depending on what else I have on my plate) and drafted the corresponding webpage, I’ll announce its availability on Twitter and occasionally at other places on the web where I’m active such as The Mandolin Cafe and The Session.

I’ve already got a few collaborations up and running so you can see how the idea works.  Check out An A to Z of Irish traditional music – The Irish Mandolin – a website from Aidan Crossey

I do hope you’ll be able to take part in helping to compile what could become a very useful resource for those interested in traditional Irish music!  (And hopefully it will be quite a bit of fun to pull your suggestions together…)  However I appreciate that we’re all busy people and that with all the other demands on your time you may not have the headspace or the inclination to participate in this venture.  I’ll understand if you feel that you can’t take part…  No pressure!!

Any queries, please get in touch.

Very best regards.


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