The Living Note – The Heartbeat of Irish Music –

By Christy McNamara and Peter Woods

“Peter Woods tells the story of Irish music from the twenties to today. The story moves through three generations of the Ruanes, a fictitious family, beginning with the youth of Eamonn Ruane, who grows up in the 1920s and 1930s, then emigrates to England to work on the buildings and to London to dig the Underground tunnels. But music has always been his soulmate, and it travels with him to England, coming alive for him in the Irish Pubs of Camden Town and Kentish town. It is his source of inner strength in hard times, and his main link with community.

And then the story switches to the voice of Mary Hynes, who marries Eamonn and is brought into the world of music through him; she understands his deep feeling and need for it. Back now on the small farm in County Clare, it is she who fosters the love for music in their children, especially Francie, who also has the same need and feeling for music as central to his life.

Francie tells the story of the new generation, ringing it right up to date. He is the one who can hope to make his living from music. His debt to his father’s generation is felt and expressed – it is here that his roots are sown and nourished. There is still the strong link between generations which fosters healthy growth, and although he may earn most of his living by playing abroad, he returns too. Thus the music is both inward-looking and outward-looking, and so retains its true origins merged with the freshness of change.

These three generations, drawn from Peter’s imagination bur resting on years of living around music and musicians, present the story of Irish music as never told before. This is no academic, remote study. This is  book of experiences, a story of intimacy.

This is the story of every musician but none in particular. It is really the story of the spirit of Irish music and its place in the hearts of people.

In word and in photographs The Living Note is like the music iself – intimate, alive, unpretentious, but real.”

“The Photographs.

Taken largely in County Clare and in London, the photographs are of real sessions, in homes and pubs, at parties and wakes – anywhere music is played. The strong Clare tradition has spawned many of today’s most famous musicians – here in these photos we see their roots, like the roots of musicians from all over Ireland and  sometimes abroad. Christy McNamara, himself a player of the accordion, has photographed while playing – taking the odd break from joining in the music. This intimacy and familiarity shows through – these are his friends, his relations, his neighbours – and matches the intimacy of the text.

What Christy too is aiming at is the inner experience, to show how it feels to be part of this community or part of this playing of music. Here we see groups of all sizes and ages, as well as solo players and singers, for music also captures the spirit of being alone wit oneself.”


Voor een beeld van de buitengewone foto’s, kijk op Christy McNamara’s website.








Artikelnummer: 10889 Categorieën: ,
Talen Engels
Landen Ierland


23x19cm, hardcover, met stofomslag, 160 blz, in zeer goede staat


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