The Housekeepers

This album shines a light on the music and lives of five remarkable early 20th Century Irish Traditional Musicians: Ella Mae O’Dwyer, Nora Hurley, Aggie Whyte, Ellen Galvin and Mollie Myers Murphy.

With the exception of a small number who recorded commercially, female musicians of previous generations tend to be remembered as peripheral figures in the tradition. This isn’t a true reflection of their musicality, instrumental proficiency, or the esteem in which their contemporaries held them.

In the course of this project, we delved into the lives of these women and discovered how they occupied a place at the heart of traditional music communities. Some played in dance halls, at house parties and community events whilst others were céilí band leaders, educators and composers.

As a result of family commitments and the social norms of the day, their music-making was largely confined to the home, a state of affairs which goes some way towards explaining why many never got the recognition they deserved. We want to acknowledge this under-representation and our album strives to preserve their artistic legacy for generations to come.

We’re very grateful to the Arts Council of Ireland who afforded us the opportunity to conduct this research. We have since discovered many more talented and innovative female musicians and unfortunately could not include them all. Musicians such as Kathleen Harrington, Elizabeth Crotty, Kitty Hayes, Eleanor Keane, Lucy Farr and Mrs. Dalton have inspired our own music making but we’ll have to leave them for another day!

The CD is accompanied by a 24 page booklet designed by Black Rogue Design that includes writings form our research and archival photographs.

Released May 11, 2019

Fiddle - Doireann Glackin
Concertina - Sarah Flynn
Accompaniment on guitar - John Francis Flynn
Recorded, Mixed & Mastered - Jack Talty
Design - Black Rogue Design
Photography - Donal Glackin

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