Recent and Forthcoming Music Books (September 2022)

The cover image for Bill Whelan's new memoir, 'The Road to Riverdance' – the composer and his father.

Recent and Forthcoming Music Books (September 2022)

A round-up of recent and forthcoming music books including a collection of music for the uilleann pipes from Na Píobairí Uilleann, a new edition of The Irish Harper from Máire Ní Chathasaigh, Beauty an Oileáin: Music & Song of the Blasket Islands from Claddagh Records, The Jackie Daly Collection, Crazy Dreams by Paul Brady, The Road to Riverdance by Bill Whelan, and Bono's Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story.

Music for the Irish Pipes – Volume 3 – A Selection of tunes from early piping recordings
Joe Doyle
Na Píobairí Uilleann
August 2022

Music for the Irish Pipes – Volume III, published by Na Píobairí Uilleann, is a collection of over two hundred tunes transcribed by Joe Doyle from piping recordings that date from the early 1900s to the 1970s. The tunes include not only ornamentation but variations too and include reels, jigs, hornpipes, airs and set dances. The earliest recordings of uilleann piping come from cylinders and 78s made in the United States at the beginning of the last century and feature Patsy Touhey, Barney Delaney, Michael Carney and Michael Gallagher. There are tunes from all of them here. The earliest recordings made in Ireland were undertaken by Dr Richard Henry of Jem Byrne from Kilkenny, who also features in the publication.

There are also tunes from the recordings of Richard Lewis O’Mealy (b. 1873 in Co. Westmeath), the first piper to play on Irish state radio; Edward Mullaney, who made commercial recordings for the Victor company in the 1920s; Michael Gallagher, who also recorded in the States; Dublin-born William Andrews, who made the first commercial recordings on the pipes in Ireland; Liam Walsh, who made over thirty records for a variety of labels in the 1920s and 30s; Tom Ennis, one of the most prolific Irish-American recording artists of the 1920s; William Clarke who recorded for the Columbia label in the 1920s; Pat Brophy, who broadcast on Irish radio between the 1940s and 60s; Philip Martin, who made a commercial recording in 1937 for the Regal Zonophone company; Jimmie McLaughlin, who was born in New York and made a commercial disc when he was around 15 in 1924; Andy Conroy, who lived for twenty-two years in New York before returning to Ireland in 1973 – the recordings transcribed here were made by his friends in his later years in Ireland; Felix Doran, who died in 1950 – the tunes here come from the 1976 Topic LP The Last of the Travelling Pipers and non-commercial recordings made by Breandán Breathnach; and, finally, Peadar Broe – the tunes are from a tape made by Broe for fellow piper Al Purcell of Dublin and Detroit.

Music for the Irish Pipes – Volume III includes a foreword by Seán Donnelly. This is Joe Doyle’s fourth publication for Na Píobairí Uilleann, following Music for the Irish Pipes Volumes I and II and The Piper’s Choice Music Collection.

To purchase Music for the Irish Pipes – Volume III, visit


The Irish Harper – Volume Two – 24 Pieces by Turlough O’Carolan (1670–1738)
Arranged for the Irish Harp by Máire Ní Chathasaigh
Old Bridge Music
July 2022

This is a new edition of Irish harper Máire Ní Chathasaigh’s arrangements of O’Carolan tunes, first published in 2001. This amended and updated edition, which was undertaken during the pandemic lockdown, has a new cover, alternative right hand and left hand parts for some pieces, amendments to notation, and further information and performance guidance. Among the tunes are ‘Carolan’s Draught’, ‘Blind Mary’, ‘The Princess Royal’, ‘Constantine Maguire’, ‘Bridget Cruise’, ‘George Brabazon’, ‘Madame Judge’ and ‘Baptist Johnson’. Each tune comes with a note on its background. Pieces 1–24 in the book correspond to tracks 1–24 of her CD The Carolan Albums (Old Bridge Music, 1994).

To purchase the new edition of The Irish Harper – Volume Two, visit


Beauty an Oileáin: Music & Song of the Blasket Islands
Compiled by Ríonach uí Ógáin
Claddagh Records
August 2022

In 1992, Claddagh Records released an album titled Beauty an Oileáin containing seventeen tracks of music, song and spoken word from former Blasket Islanders and their descendants. The County Kerry island was evacuated in 1953 but had already become famous because of three books published between 1929 and 1936 – An tOileánach, Fiche Blian ag Fás and Peig.

Now, Claddagh have released a book titled Beauty an Oileáin: Music & Song of the Blasket Islands with an accompanying CD that includes the original tracks plus nine more that have either come to light since 1992 or feature other descendants of the islanders such as Aoife and Deirdre Granville and Róisín Ní Chéileachair.

The book is bilingual and features an essay in Irish and English by Irish folklorist and former director of the National Folklore Collection at University College Dublin, Ríonach uí Ógáin, who compiled the collection. Notes on the tunes are by fiddle player Máire Ní Chaoimh. Among the artists featured on the recording are Seán Cheaist Ó Catháin (playing ‘Port na bPúcaí’ on the fiddle), singer Pádraig Ó Cearnaigh, Peaití Ó Duinnshléibhe, and fiddle player Seáinín Mhichil Ó Suilleabháin, all of whom were born on the Great Blasket.

In her essay, uí Ógáin writes: ‘Reading the memoirs written by Blasket Islanders and other writings, I learned much about island life as it had been. However, I always felt that something was missing, and to me, that was the music, song and dance which were core to the fabric of Blasket life. Song, music and dance are captured in the written word as they are described on the page, but I believe that hearing the voices, the sounds, the words, the rhythms and the tunes brings us closer to the music and song and allows us to savour their unique quality. Islanders created this entertainment purely from their love of it and their need for it as a pastime, as communication and a release as they drew on their own experiences.’

Most of the recordings are drawn from her own fieldwork for the National Folklore Commission, but there are also recordings from RTÉ, Aodh Ó Tuama of University College Cork, Máire Ní Chaoimh, Breanndán Ó Beaglaoich, Muiris Mac Conghail and Seáinín Ó Braonáin.

To purchase Beauty an Oileáin, visit


The Jackie Daly Collection: Original Irish Tunes 
Edited by Matt Cranitch
July 2022

The traditional Irish accordion player Jackie Daly has recently published a collection of his tune compositions, The Jackie Daly Collection, compiled, transcribed and edited by fiddle player Matt Cranitch.

The book contains over two hundred compositions divided into jigs, slides, polkas, reels, hornpipes, and miscellaneous (mainly planxties and waltzes). Among the tunes are the reel ‘The Trip to Tuam’, which appears at the end of Dé Danann’s arrangement of ‘Hey Jude’. There are also tunes such as ‘The Fly Fishing Reel’, which he recorded in 1995, ‘Jackie Daly’s Reel’, which was recorded by Arcady, and ‘The Rakes of Merlot’ and ‘The Living Stream’, which were recorded by Daly and Cranitch. There is also one song, ‘The Roadside Stage’, composed by Daly when he received the Kanturk Festival Award in 2009. Many of the tunes include notes on their origins from the composer.

The Jackie Daly Collection: Original Irish Tunes is available to purchase from and the Irish Traditional Music Archive


Crazy Dreams
Paul Brady
Merrion Press
September 2022

Crazy Dreams is the new autobiography from Paul Brady published by Merrion Press. It chronicles the life and musical career of the singer, songwriter and guitarist over six decades from his early years in Strabane, Co. Tyrone, to his most recent albums such as Hooba DoobaAlong the way, he discussed his early schooldays, the Irish folk scene, The Johnstons, Planxty, his work with Andy Irvine, Rory Gallagher and Phil Lynott, touring with Dire Straits, writing for Tina Turner, meeting Bob Dylan, his classic song ‘The Island’, the albums Primitive Dance, Trick Or Treat, Spirits Colliding and Oh What A World, and the Paul Brady Songbook performances over twenty-three nights at Vicar Street.

To purchase Crazy Dreams, visit



The Road to Riverdance
Bill Whelan
Lilliput Press
20 October 2022

The Road to Riverdance, a memoir by composer Bill Whelanwill be published on 20 October by Lilliput Press. Beginning with his Limerick childhood, the book traces his early years learning music and then starting to write songs and record at home, followed by an early breakthrough on the soundtrack of a Richard Harris film. Whelan studied law in Dublin but gradually became more involved in the music scene, working as a producer, arranger and musician with a wide range of artists from Shay Healy to Planxty and from Van Morrison to Kate Bush. His own music came more to the fore through a W.B. Yeats festival at the Abbey followed by The Seville Suite, The Spirit of Mayo and then the globally successful Riverdance. The Road to Riverdance is a personal story but also provides a rich insight into the Irish music scene over the past five decades.

To purchase The Road to Riverdance, visit


Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story
Knopf Books
1 November 2022

A third book exploring music in Ireland over the past few decades is Bono’s Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story, which will be published by Knopf on 1 November. Over forty chapters, each named after a U2 song, Bono brings the reader from his early days growing up in Dublin, including the loss of his mother when he was fourteen, to U2’s journey to become one of the world’s most influential rock bands, to his more than twenty years of activism. About the book, he says: ‘When I started to write this book, I was hoping to draw in detail what I’d previously only sketched in songs. The people, places, and possibilities in my life. Surrender is a word freighted with meaning for me. Growing up in Ireland in the seventies with my fists up (musically speaking), it was not a natural concept. A word I only circled until I gathered my thoughts for the book. I am still grappling with this most humbling of commands. In the band, in my marriage, in my faith, in my life as an activist. Surrender is the story of one pilgrim’s lack of progress … With a fair amount of fun along the way.’

To purchase Surrender, visit

For our June round-up of new music books, visit

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Published on 27 September 2022

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