Road Map Of Ireland

By Tom McGonigle And Robert MacGowran

Added by Kenny .

Twenty-one comments

“Road Map Of Ireland”

This must be one of the rarest records in traditional Irish music. I’d never heard of it, or any other musician ever mention it until it turned up oneBay last year. Recorded in 1981 on the now sadly defunct Belfast "Outlet" label, it features the unique combination of Tom McGonigle from Omagh on concertina and Dubliner Robert McGouran on whistle. Must surely be the first recording of "Tommy Bheiti’s Waltz", as later made famous by "Altan"

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“Road Map of Ireland”

Yes, a very enjoyable listen. This is another of Outlet’s output I wish was re-released…

One repeat irritation was Outlet’s attempts to try to claim copyright on traditional melodies and arrangements, as they did here, as if no other combination of tina and whistle would ever be allowed to play "Coppers and Brass" again without paying for the right… :-/.

I’ve just made the connections for the rest of the tunes, now complete… 8-)

6c.) “Richard White’s” =

Finbar Dwyer’s "The Fox on the Town"

Richard Dwyer, not one of Finbar’s…

Notes from the LP

I enjoy their music, honest and unpretentious, but also value that in the their individual contributions on the back of the LP sleeve, their written accounts of their relationship with the music back then, which follow…

Tom

I was born in Omagh in 1957 and lived there until I was ten. The family then moved to Newcastle, on the Country Down coast, and it was there that my interest in Irish music began to develop. I joined the local branch of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann at the age of twelve and started playing the piano accordion. Apart from one uncle who plays the whistle, there is not a strong tradition of instrumental music in the family. However, I got plenty of encouragement from friends and relatives.

The most significant phase in my musical development occurred when I went to the New University of Ulster at Coleraine in 1974 to do a degree in Irish Studies. There was already a small group of musicians there, and the environment was great for fostering an enthusiastic and dedicated approach to Irish music. Since 1974 there has increasingly been a trend for students from all over the North of Ireland to go to Coleraine to study Irish and play music. Currently, in 1981, there are about a dozen resident musicians there, and they are supplemented by visiting musicians most weekends. This makes a large repertoire of tunes available, and, indeed, Coleraine has been the source for many of my favourite tunes.

The concertina is still a rare instrument, but, in keeping with the current revival in Irish music, its popularity is increasing. Good instruments are, unfortunately, scarce and expensive.

It was in 1977, when I was in the Donegal Gaeltacht, without my accordion, that I started to ply concertina. I began on a borrowed instrument, so my initial motivation was lack of an accordion! However, I found that I liked the concertina. Besides, it was more portable and more acceptable in a session, so I decided to stick at it and now play the concertina and accordion. The instrument which I am playing on this record is a Mayfair concertina. In terms of its components, the Mayfair is a very basic model, but I think it has a great sound. I bought it for £40 in a Liverpool antique shop, three years ago.

I have travelled a lot both in Ireland and abroad since I started to play music. Consequently, I don’t feel that I have been influenced by any one musician. Rather, a lot of people and their styles have contributed to the way I play. My attitude to tempo is that all tunes ought to be played at a moderate speed so that none of the melody is lost to the listener. I think this is especially true of hornpipes, which to my mind are the most melodious of all our music and especially well suited to the concertina.

Robert and myself have previously played together on only a few occasions. However, we hope that traces of individuality will add something to the straight-forward and spontaneous approach, which we believe are the greatest qualities of the music on this record.

It was at the Wednesday night session in Gus McIlroy’s bar, Drumnaquoile, that Bobbie Hanvey offered us the opportunity to make the record and we offer our sincere thanks to all concerned in helping and encouraging our music.

Biodh Dochas Don Duchas Agaibh (Have hope for the heritage).

~ Tom McGonigle

Robert

I was born in Dublin city in 1958 and lived for the first seven years of my life near the centre city area. At around the age of seven or eight we moved to the South side of Dublin where my parents now live.

My interest in traditional music began around the age of seventeen on hearing some records that my brother had bought and was then playing quite regularly in the house. Up to this point I was quite indifferent to this type of music. There is in fact no history of traditional playing in the family. I began to get more and more interested in the music and decided that I would like to try to play it. I picked up a whistle and began by just fooling around with the notes, not really trying to learn a tune for quite a while. I think one of the first tunes I really attempted to learn was “Tabhair dom do lamh”. When I felt that I was getting somewhere I decided to push myself and try harder. But I suppose my really strong interest and love of the music got off the ground when I moved to Galway city in 1978. There I was almost soaked in traditional music and this urged me on even more. I began then to practice seriously and go regularly to sessions, not only to hear the music but to meet the musicians themselves, hoping to learn more all the time. It was well over a year before I plucked up the courage to play in a session.

At this stage I had, I suppose, only about twenty or thirty tunes to my credit and did not even play these very well. But I knew that the only way, for me anyhow, to pick up more tunes and get the real feeling of the music into me was to go along to these sessions and at least make an attempt to play the few tunes I knew. Well, it just went on from there really. I met a great number of fine musicians there in Galway and later in many other places, and learned a lot from them and their music. I do not really think that I have been influenced by any one particular musician or group of musicians. I do not consciously, at any rate, attempt to copy the style of an individual musician. I just listen to plenty of music, get it into my head, and then play it the way I want to or as close as I can to that. I learn tunes by ear as I cannot read music, and, anyway, prefer this method.

~ Robert ‘Robbie’ MacGowran

Other than the tune list, there are no other notes…

5. ) Jigs: Coppers and Brass / The Blarney Pilgrim / The Rose in the Heather

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uz_b2aFgtr0


Dear Robbie has just put this up on YouTube, 6/12/2012 ~ and thanks, good to hear this again, as we are still without a turntable… :-(

Notes (courtesy of Robert MacGowran): A track from Robbie MacGowran’s (McGouran) 1981 vinyl album with concertina player Tom McGonigle, recorded in Belfast. The origional master tapes are long gone, the audio was taken from a scratchy copy, possibly one of the last ones left in the Country.

9.) Hornpipes : The Galtee hunt, The fairy hornpipe

To second modestly Ceolachan’s posts, track 9 of that album has been published too on YT, 13/12/2012 :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VaKi20opFjc

Just hoping the other tracks will follow for Xmas !

To “alcofribas”

I cannot send you a message via "The Session", if you can send me one, include your e-mail address and I can give you some information.

“Road Map Of Ireland” available again

Robbie MacGowran made the “Road Map Of Ireland” available again.
You can order it through Track One, Wicklow.
The online shop is not working, just send a mail to sean (at) avocamusic (dot) com

Curious….

If, as "ceolachan" states above - "the original tapes are long gone" - how was this recording able to be re-released ?

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Copy

This is, what Robbie wrote me about that:
"The origional master tapes of "Road map of Ireland" are long gone and so I have being searching for a good vinyl album copy and at last I found one."
The quality of the copy seem good enough for me.

Very good….

…congratulations to Tom and Robbie on the album re-release. Hope it does well for them.

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road map of Ireland

I sent an email to sean (at) avocamusic (dot) com but got no reply

I have an original LP of this, and have cherished it for years. This week I got a copy of the ‘remastered’ CD that Robbie did. It is very well done.

I really think anyone interested in playing either instrument should consider this a must have recording, and I’ll go even further, that any beginning ITM player ought to have it as well.

This is the real stuff, no studio tricks, what you get is competent playing. that will make you say "I can do that too’.
Mike