Despite its isolation on the western edge of Europe, Ireland occupies vast amounts of space on the music maps of the world. Although deeply rooted in time and place, Irish songs, dances and instrumental traditions have a history of global travel that span the centuries. Whether carried by exiles, or distributed by commercial networks, Irish traditional music is one of the most popular World Music genres, while Clare, on Ireland's Atlantic seaboard, enjoys unrivaled status as a "Home of the Music," a mecca for tourists and aficionados eager to enjoy the authentic sounds of Ireland. For the first time, this remarkable soundscape is explored by an insider-a fourth generation Clare concertina player, uilleann piper and an internationally recognized authority on Irish traditional music. Entrusted with the testimonies, tune lore, and historic field recordings of Clare performers, Gearoid O hAllmhurain reveals why this ancient place is a site of musical pilgrimage and how it absorbed the impact of global cultural flows for centuries.
These flows brought musical change inwards, while simultaneously facilitating outflows of musical change to the world beyond - in more recent times, through the music of Clare stars like Martin Hayes and the Kilfenora Ceili Band. Placing the testimony of music and music makers at the center of Irish cultural history and working from a palette of disciplines, Flowing Tides explores an Irish soundscape undergoing radical change in the period from the Napoleonic Wars to the Great Famine, from the birth of the nation state to the meteoric rise-and fall-of the Celtic Tiger. It is essential reading for all interested in Irish/Celtic music and culture.