Claddagh Records Agreement Could Make Classic Recordings Available Online

Garech de Brún and Seán Ó Riada (Photo courtesy of Claddagh Records archive)

Claddagh Records Agreement Could Make Classic Recordings Available Online

There are plans to make significant traditional Irish and classical music albums available on streaming services as a result of licensing agreement with Universal.

Last week it was announced that the Irish record label Claddagh Records has signed a licensing agreement with Universal Music, the world’s largest record company.

Claddagh, which was founded by Garech de Brún and Ivor Browne in 1959, contains a catalogue of hundreds of traditional Irish, classical music and literary recordings.

Commenting on the agreement with Universal, James Morrissey, Chairman of Claddagh Records, said:

This agreement with Universal Music Ireland is a most significant development as it signals a very exciting new chapter for Claddagh and for Ireland’s cultural past.

Morrissey said that de Brún’s ‘lifelong wish was for Claddagh recordings to be accessible nationally and internationally.’

Nick Younger, Chief Operating Officer of Universal Music Ireland, said:

It is a real honour to begin this exciting partnership with Claddagh Records. We also understand the enormous responsibility that comes with it. Claddagh isn’t just a record label but is a home for musicians, poets and artists who have both historic and real cultural significance for Ireland. In partnership with Claddagh Records, we want not only to reignite a famous catalogue but to pay homage to Garech and make Claddagh Records the home for new Irish artists.

A number of Claddagh’s recordings are already available to stream online, including the Chieftains’ records, but the new licensing deal could see the availability of more early releases on streaming services such as Spotify, and additional vinyl releases.

Among the records in the catalogue are the very first Claddagh album, Leo Rowsome’s Rí na bPíobairí (1959), fiddle-player Seán Keane’s Gusty’s Frolics (1975),  two volumes of The Pipering of Willie Clancy, released in 1980 and 1983, Dolores Keane’s There Was a Maid (1978), Len Graham’s Do Me Justice (1983) and Matt Molloy’s Stony Steps (1987).

Seán Ó Riada’s Vertical Man (1969), the Aeolian Quartet’s recording of Frederick May’s 1936 String Quartet in C Minor (1974), Bernadette Greevy Sings Brahms, and recordings by Veronica McSwiney and Malcolm Proud are also part of the catalogue. The Frederick May recording was recently re-released on vinyl, a result of a request de Brún made before he died. The poetry recordings include albums by Séamus Heaney and John Montague and Francis Stuart’s Alternative Government.

Claddagh have said that they also plan to sign new young artists to the label. The current board members of the company are Morrissey, Chris du Putron and Tony Boylan. 

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Published on 1 September 2020

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