Tinker to Traveller - interesting documentary
Anyone with a bit of interest in Irish trad will know that there was and still is, a debt of gratitude to a number of ‘traveller’ families in Ireland. In that they kept the tradition going through the middle decades of the 1900s when it was generally looked down on by the populace at large. Whether it was the Raineys or Dohertys on fiddle or the various piping families, Dorans, Keenans, Fureys etc
There was an interesting documentary ‘Unsettled: From Tinker To Traveller’ on the lifestyle of tinker families back in the 1970s, shown last night on RTE1 TV. It was an American couple, Sharon & George Gmelch, who to their credit went to live with the travellers for a year and recorded their life in various writings and many fine photographs. They revisit several of the families 40 years on. No particular musical references but a great insight into just how much the lives of travellers have changed in this short period.
When I accidentally tuned in, I initially thought it was a bit jarring, educated Americans talking to various travellers but then I realised what they had done and I must say, fair dues to them. Because most Irish people looked down on these people and in many ways, still do. All very well seeing Johnny Doherty fixing pots and playing a few tunes but the perception of violence and burglary is at the back of many peoples minds these days. So always good to be brought up short and reminded just how challenging their lives have been and of course, that there are many decent travellers.
You’ll find more detail at http://www.rte.ie/tv/programmes/unsettled.html
or see it at http://www.rte.ie/player/ie/show/10107920/