Topic Records have announced the release of two new volumes – It was mighty! and It was great altogether! in their widely acclaimed, ground-breaking Voice of the People series. Both releases are three CD sets culminating in 192 tracks – over 7 hours of music covering the Irish traditional music scene in London from the early 1950’s which was initially driven by the the large number of Irish heading to the ‘big smoke’ to help rebuild London’s infrastructure following the bombings during World War II. Names such as Gorman and Casey could be found playing sessions around barroom tables performing, as Ron Kavana once sang, “songs from the thirty-two counties mixed with slip jigs and reels”. It was mighty indeed!
After posting this article our good friend Alan O’Leary of Copperplate said the image below is: Nan Landers, Paddy Boyle, Roger Sherlock, Edmund Murphy and Johnny Hynes on St Patrick Day Float, many moons ago..
The Early Days of Irish Music in London TSCD679T – “It was mighty!”
3CD set featuring more than 100 vital performances by those including: Michael Gorman/Bobby Casey/Martin Byrnes/Julia Clifford/Jimmy Power/Nan Landers/Vincent Griffin/Edmond Murphy/Tommy McCarthy
In the early 1950s, some of the most talented young traditional musicians from rural Ireland found themselves in London, working on building sites and in heavy construction, away from home, but among hundreds of people like them. Music was played in pubs and dance halls and, for a decade or two, almost every night of the week, Camden Town, Fulham and neighbouring boroughs were buzzing. Even as far as the outer suburbs, in some back-street pub or other, there was great music to be found, that is, if you knew where to look for it. Beyond the gaze of mainstream society and almost entirely unknown to the media, promotion was by word of mouth among the Irish themselves. Many of those early pioneers, great artists by any reckoning, are represented here, captured at the peak of their powers.
The second release is equally joyous in title ‘It was great altogether!’ as it charts Irish traditional music into the 1960’s:
The Continuing Tradition of Irish Music in London TSCD680T – “It was great altogether!”
3CD set bringing us up to the present featuring 89 tracks from, among others: Lucy Farr/ Billy Clifford/Amby Whyms/Lamond Gillespie/Brian Rooney/Joe Whelan/Reg Hall/Karen Ryan/James Carty
Irish traditional music was well-established in pubs and dance halls and at Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann meetings in Greater London by the mid-1960s, the groundwork having been done by a generation of young musicians from rural Ireland. Often direct descendants, the latest generation of musicians set equally high standards and have determined to keep the original reasons for playing and keep the old styles alive.
These two 3 x CD collections of rare recordings give us a rare and privileged view of a unique community; examples of great musicians, great tunes all played with great warmth and humanity.
The recordings were selected and presented by Dr. Reg Hall and produced by Tony Engle of Topic Records and Reg.
Both Volumes will be released on 18th March 2016 via Topic Records: www.topicrecords.co.uk
Reg Hall Lecture
To mark their release there will be a special lecture by Reg Hall at Cecil Sharp House on 23 February, details of which are below:
Vaughan Williams Memorial Library Lecture / Cecil Sharp House, London NW1
Lecture by Reg Hall
Tuesday 23 February, 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Cecil Sharp House – 2 Regent’s Park Road, London. UK. NW1 7AY.
Tel: 020 7485 2206 | email: firstname.lastname@example.org |
Irish music has long held an important place in London’s music scene. In this talk, Dr. Reg Hall will explore how traditional music-making was transplanted from rural Ireland to an English city in the early post-war years. Dr. Reg Hall has been actively involved as a musician within the Irish community in London for 60 years. He is the editor and co-producer of the 28-volume Voice of the People CD series on Topic Records. His post-graduate and on-going research has been on the history of Irish music and dance in London and two further volumes in the Topic series on that subject are in production. His work was recognised by Irish national television TG4 by the Gradam na gCeoltoiri award in 2009.