Toner Quinn

There are many issues involved in writing about music, some of which are addressed in this issue in articles by John McLachlan and Bob Gilmore, but traditional-music criticism has problems all of its own.Unlike other genres, the body of high-quality criticism...
Welcome to the first issue of The Journal of Music.Our philosophy is simple: we look for the bigger picture in musical life, and we ask those at its coal face – musicians, composers and listeners – to write about it.We connect across genres and...
Music That's Good Value
What values are inherent in traditional Irish music?
In 1996, for a speech given at the Crossroads Conference in Dublin, Tony MacMahon wrote the following: ‘Underlying the affection of a large section of the public for [traditional music and song] is a preconception – that apart from its entertainment...
My Love is in America
On learning traditional Irish music from outside Ireland
Before JMI began in 2000, I wrote down a list of people I intended to ask to write for the magazine. They were people I regarded as cornerstones in Irish musical life. With them on board, I felt, the magazine would have a solid foundation upon which to grow....
Repeat Experience
How outstanding traditional musicians separate themselves from the crowd
Turn it Up: John Kelly
For over a decade, John Kelly has been broadcasting his own distinct mix of music on national radio, first with the BBC, then Eclectic Ballroom on Radio Ireland (now Today FM) and Mystery Train on RTÉ Radio 1, establishing a reputation as a broadcaster who is always at the musical cutting edge, and building a particularly loyal listenership. His current show, JK Ensemble on RTÉ Lyric FM, is a rarity in Irish broadcasting, mixing classical, traditional, jazz and the avant-garde on weekday daytime national radio, and it has just reached its second year. In this interview, Toner Quinn, Editor of JMI, talks to John Kelly about his views on broadcasting, the current Irish music scene, the artists he admires and...
Short-circuiting the Soloist?
In a new series of columns, Toner Quinn looks at contemporary issues in traditional music.
Improvements in music education are down to political will
Music education and the musical country
The reputation of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, the organisation founded in 1951 to promote Irish traditional music, reaches far and wide. Seldom is the rise of this music over the past fifty years mentioned without paying tribute to its...
Which social groups are more likely to attend different music events? Why are some people many times more likely to be involved in music than others? Are some people excluded from musical life? In February, the Economic and Social Research Institute issued...
Martin Hayes and the Tradition
In 2008, fiddle player Martin Hayes received the TG4 Gradam Ceoil award. Toner Quinn explores the work of an artist who has walked new ground in traditional music.
One of the Forum for Music in Ireland’s most important roles has been its highlighting of the slow development of music education in Ireland. It does this through its bi-annual meetings, its website and its campaigns. The difficulty, however, has always...
The third annual festival of the Institute of Ideas in London – The Battle of Ideas – took place in October. There was a music element this year, which I attended, comprising four separate discussions on music education, the ubiquity of music,...
The interview with fiddle player Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh in this issue raises the issue of experimentation in traditional music, and it is coincidental that the Contemporary Music Centre has just commissioned a study ‘on the feasibility...
Interview with Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh – ‘…what happens when you stop playing tunes…’
From Rathfarnam in County Dublin, Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh is a fiddle player, whistle player and uilleann piper. On fiddle he has recorded one solo album, Turas go Tír na nÓg (1999), and made a widely acclaimed duet recording with uilleann piper Mick O’Brien, Kitty Lie Over (2003). Now aged 27, Ó Raghallaigh has this year produced a solo recording which stretches beyond the boundaries of traditional music. This interview took place in An Spidéal, County Galway, on 23 July 2007.
What is new in the Arts Council’s relationship with the traditional arts?
The matter of providing state-funded music education services is still unresolved.
myTunes and i
On tunes and musicians' relationships to tunes.
Talk about ‘music education’ in Ireland is actually about classical music education.
Dublin Style
A review of the recent Temple Bar Trad traditional music festival in Dublin.
The idea of an avant-garde wing in Irish traditional music may seem a contradiction in terms, but it shouldn’t be, argues Toner Quinn.
Just as this issue is going to print, the Arts Council has published its report, The Public and the Arts 2006, providing a snapshot of the behaviour and attitudes of Irish people as regards the arts. The last such report was published in 1994.The intervening...
Public-service broadcasting is a vital two-way conduit for those seriously interested in music.
For reasons that perhaps have more to do with Zeitgeist than design, this issue is punctuated by thoughts, comments and comparisons that consider the music and culture of Ireland in the context of the wider world. John McLachlan visits the new music scenes...
It is possible that, over the past five years or so of JMI, Seán Ó Riada has received more mentions in the magazine than any other Irish musical figure. While this may suggest some establishment-like status for the composer and musician, it is...
Piping Aces
Na Píobairí Uilleann's 39th Anual Tionól, which took place in Dublin.