Toner Quinn

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.
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...
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.
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.
The BBC Radio 4 Reith lectures by Daniel Barenboim.
Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray, 23 February 2006The challenge for Trihornophone was clear from the start: trumpet, alto sax, baritone sax, and drum kit appeared – where’s the rest of the band? Rather, this self-imposed reduced format suits where saxophonist...
Purists All
Little captures the imagination like the idea of the ‘traditional music purist’ – though it’s a notion rife with inconsistencies. What is more, the idea appears to be as popular as ever, though for reasons, argues Toner Quinn, that have little to do with music…
Various venues, Temple Bar, Dublin, 26-29 January 2006Although Dublin has the greatest concentration of traditional musicians in the country, Temple Bar Trad, which took place over the last weekend in January, was the first broad-based festival of traditional...
For all the ties that bind Ireland to England – not least in family and employment – it remains in our perception a force to be pushed against. In this jostling, there are expressions of English culture which we are prone to overlook. English folk...
Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray, Co. Wicklow, 20 January 2006 Ronan Guilfoyle, bass; Tommy Halferty, guitar; Aoife Doyle, vocals; Sean Carpio, drums; Phil Ware, pianoOutside jazz circles, I wonder does the extent to which Ronan Guilfolye is the generator of (or...
There is a new and very large advertisement for alcohol on the main street in my town, and the image is of a stylish and very contemporary-looking Irishman, dreadlocked and in his twenties, moodily playing a harp which has been painted Irish green and gold....
It seems timely that we lead in this issue with an article that focuses on jazz, for there are many important developments taking place at present in the jazz scene in Ireland. Indeed, there have been for some time, but it seems to have passed some sort of...
The Pressure to Conform
Commitment to tradition versus experimentation.
I am sure that our lead article will ring a bell with anyone who has ever tried to explain their area of musical speciality to someone with entirely different musical interests. It is not an easy thing to do, primarily because there are so many different areas...
The news that the Arts Council has allocated 3 million euro to the traditional arts for 2006, with that figure set to increase in 2007 and 2008, is both welcome and significant. Setting aside for a moment the practical impact it could have on traditional music,...
Reading aloud Folk Music and Dances of Ireland...
Irish traditional music has played an interesting role in the writing on Irish classical music through the years – sometimes an inspiration to composers, sometimes a burden – but, asks Toner Quinn, do traditional musicians recognise themselves or their music in these writings?
Gerry Godley’s article on the common ground that traditional musicians and jazz musicians share reminds me again that there is an extraordinary amount of music out there that I don’t make enough time to seek out and listen to. Every now and then...
Without giving away too much, one point raised in Axel Klein’s travelogue of his recent (and most enterprising) trip to the US can be commented upon here. Mr Klein suggests that it is ‘Irish people’ (and not he – who is German and based...
Understanding the decline in the standard of traditional music CDs.
Many thanks to those of you who took the time to fill out our online survey. The responses have been detailed and full of good ideas, and we intend trying to bring as many of them as possible to fruition over the coming year. For those of you who were...
There are so many different lines of musical questioning taken in this issue that it would be unwise of me to try and summarise them or somehow join up the ideas as an introduction. How, for example, would I bind the megalomania of Schoenberg and the trials...
‘Why don’t traditional musicians play slow airs anymore?’ asks our front cover for this issue. There are probably many who would say that they regularly hear airs being played, and many again who would argue over what constitutues good air...
An Interview with Fiddle-Player Frankie Gavin
In 1976, Frankie Gavin, aged just nineteen, made one of the outstanding fiddle albums of the latter half of the twentieth century, Traditional Dance Music of Ireland with bouzouki player Alec Finn. Since then, through his solo and duet work, as well as performances with the group Dé Danann, he has proved to be a unique, creative talent as well as one of Ireland’s most dynamic traditional musicians. His influence on Irish traditional fiddle playing, in technique, style and repertoire, has been profound.With Dé Danann recently disbanded, the Galway fiddle-player has just released a four-CD collection of live performances, featuring Stephane Grappelli, Gary Hastings, Joe Derrane, Máirtín O’Connor and Carl Hession. Here, Toner Quinn interviews the virtuoso about his recordings...
It was only after the interview with Frankie Gavin that I once again thought about the need for an Aosdána-type body for Irish traditional musicians. Meeting a musician such as Frankie Gavin, and discussing a life dedicated to traditional music, one...