Between 1945 and 1970 over 600,000 men and women left Ireland for destinations across the globe. About three-quarters went to Great Britain and one-eighth to the United States. Among them were many traditional musicians and singers who carried their culture with them, giving it continued relevance in their new communities. Voices of Irish Music & Migration presents some of the music and memories that members of the post-war migrant generation shared with me for my research.
As part of several different projects from 2008 to 2014 I conducted over forty original oral histories. These include interviews with first-generation migrant musicians as well as second-generation and non-Irish people who participated in the Irish music scene in the post-war era. The twelve interviews presented as part of this digital archive are those I had permission to put online and for which the audio was of sufficient quality. These appear largely in their original form, though occasionally personal information has been edited out to respect the wishes of the interviewee and their privacy. Some of the interviewees have also generously provided photographs and allowed me to record them singing or playing tunes.
I encourage you to listen to the interviews themselves, and to make it easier, I created time-coded indexes using the Oral History Metadata Synchronizer (OHMS). Click on the “listen to the interview” link in the item, and it will open the audio player (pictured at right). You can choose to listen to the whole interview from start to finish, navigate to any part identified in the index, or search the index by keyword.
This site was originally created in 2015 as part of my Ph.D. in History / Digital Arts & Humanities at University College Cork. A book based on my research is in progress. In the meantime, I have decided to make the interviews and related materials accessible. They may be used for educational purposes with appropriate attribution; they are not for commercial use. Please contact me with any questions.