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A World Stage for Irish Music

by Familia Ulster Genealogical Review: No. 08, 1992


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by Labhras O Murchu

By Labhras O Murchu, Director General of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann

"One is tempted to quote statistics ad infinitum accruing from the world­wide popularity of Irish traditional music. I have met young French students who, with very broken English, enquire about the Doolin tin whistle player Miko Russell as if Doolin were the capital of France and Miko one of its leading citizens.

A young Swede came on a short visit, heard our music and now wishes to make his home here. A German fiddler comes each year to improve his repertoire of Irish tunes.

Bill Ochs, a Jewish piper, has mastered the uilleann pipes, one of the most difficult of our instruments; while American-born Tomas Standevan won the Oireachtas on the same instrument and then added a bonus by becoming a fluent Irish speaker."

This article looks at the rise in popularity of Irish music all over the world.