“With deft strokes, Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráin connects the small place to the big picture, creating an intimate and intricately detailed history of the renowned musical tradition of County Clare. Flowing Tides will become a monument of Irish ethnomusicology.”
–Henry Glassie, author, Irish Folktales and The Stars of Ballymenone
“Flowing Tides is the finest book to appear on the music of Clare, the county widely regarded as the centre of gravity of Irish Traditional Music.”
–Kevin Whelan, director, The Keough Naughton Notre Dame Centre, Dublin
“Simultaneously a page-turner, an inspiration, and a who’s who of the Clare scene at home and abroad”
“Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráin is well-known to specialists in Irish music across the world. He has spent his life digging deeply into the sounds and locations of County Clare’s rich musical tradition by playing, learning, and asking questions as a well-informed participant observer. His newest contribution to the library of Irish music scholarship is simultaneously a page-turner, an inspiration, and a “who’s who” of the Clare scene at home and abroad.
Ó hAllmhuráin’s years in France (and Francophone Canada) are revealed in the titles of the introductory chapter: “L’Entrée; Clare and its Soundscape” and the conclusion, “L’épilogue: Remembering and Forgetting.” Because languages and wordplay bring him so much joy, and because he peppers both his conversations and his writing with both French and Irish, it is no surprise to see that some of Flowing Tides is written with the assumption that his readers know at least a cúpla focal agus quelques mots. This is not a hindrance; this is the rightful understanding and general knowledge of a citizen of the Irish music world.”
“This is a rewarding and valuable book, successfully integrating close detail with a longue durée approach, and it is particularly notable for its emphasis on how Clare’s traditional music soundscape has been continuously shaped by cultural flows both local and global, and its refusal to lapse into such binaries as “tradition and innovation”. Ó hAllmhuráin’s Promethean vision and approach pays rich dividends.
As befits the rich texture of the music of the area [County Clare], the book interweaves a number of different themes and ideas throughout the text, although with a light touch, so that the more casual reader can approach without fear of being overwhelmed by overly knotty academic terminology. Ó hAllmhuráin skilfully blends folklore research with ethnographic testimony, Junior Crehan’s voice coming to the fore frequently in the text.
In this, and in the censuring of tourism’s tendency to stereotype, commercialise and vulgarise musical culture, Ó hAllmhuráin writes with the authority and knowledge of the insider, who is not simply concerned with documenting, but is actively responding to how his own “Clare soundscape” has responded to cultural flows, both local and global.
“This author is one of the great authorities on Irish music and its migration to Canada and the United States. Flowing Tides represents a decisive contribution to the discourse of ethnomusicology in general, and to the understanding of Irish music as a narrative of social, cultural, and artistic meaning in particular.”
–Harry White, Professor of Music, University College Dublin
“An immensely readable, informative, and innovative exploration of how history, culture, tradition, and art interweave to create and recreate place. Destined to become a classic!”
–Nancy Groce, Senior Folklorist, Library of Congress, Washington, DC
“Gearóid’s knowledge of Irish traditional music goes far beyond his academic voice. With an abiding passion for the music of our native Clare, he knows the source of the music and knows its heart and soul even more intimately.“
–Martin Hayes, Irish Master Fiddler
“In this unparalleled history of traditional music in County Clare, Ireland, Ó hAllmhuráin (Concordia Univ., Montreal) provides a thorough account of how regional, national, and international forces have influenced the music and culture of an area considered by many to be the heart of Irish traditional music.
The author offers excellent interdisciplinary context but never gets bogged down in academic prose; instead, his personal connection to the art (he is a skilled performer of traditional Irish music and a native of County Clare) and his facility as a writer give the topic the liveliness it deserves. In the introduction (‘L’entrée: Clare and Its Soundscape’), Ó hAllmhuráin astutely observes that County Clare is a ‘periphery on the edge of a periphery,’ but that even so the musical tradition in this remote area has assimilated an impressive array of cultural influences and had an outsize impact on the rest of the world.”–Choice