What a year 2020 was. When it began, the outlook for the music industry hadn't looked so good in decades. Then came Covid-19, the industrial equivalent of a comet hurtling in from deep space. As we emerge into 2021, it's time for some damage assessment. What exactly has been destroyed? Who has benefitted from lockdowns? What has changed for good? And, asks Gareth Murphy, now that vaccines are arriving, can the music business bounce back even stronger than before, and what do those in the industry need to focus on?
‘Trad Nation’, a new book by fiddle-player and scholar Tes Slominski, questions how ‘Irish’ Irish traditional music is in a postnational music scene, and makes the case for separating the genre from ethnic nationalism. Helen Lawlor reviews.
Why is the public conversation around music important, and how do we make it stronger? Toner Quinn reflects on twenty years of publishing the Journal of Music and the changes that have taken place.
The government’s funding announcement for the arts in Budget 2021 was unprecedented, and there are lessons to be learned from the way in which it came about, writes Toner Quinn.
On the fiftieth anniversary of the passing of the great uilleann piper Leo Rowsome (1903–1970), his daughter Helena Grimes reflects on his legacy and remembers her musical childhood in Dublin.
A new documentary on the history of Irish hip hop explores the views of current artists such as Denise Chaila, Costello, Ophelia, Kojaque and Mango X Mathman. Is the genre becoming an agent of change in Ireland? Andrea Cleary reviews.
The new Covid restrictions regarding indoor and outdoor gatherings have caused even more disruption in music and the arts, just as we thought things might be improving. Is it possible to have confidence about organising an event in this environment, and if not, what needs to be done, asks Shannon McNamee.
John Hume's views on the role of artists in a conflict are worth considering today, writes Toner Quinn.
Musicians and Identity – Why There Was Such a Strong Reaction to Minister Heather Humphreys' Comments
The response from musicians to comments last week by Minister Heather Humphreys about reskilling and retraining was visceral, although her words were not directed towards them. Colm Kelly explores why.
A major book by American writer Ted Gioia, published last autumn, explores the history of music and many overlooked traditions, and argues that the best music has almost always been subversive. James Camien McGuiggan reviews.
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