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Message from President Higgins for Irish Music Month

Date: Fri 3rd Mar, 2023 | 12:30

“May I send my very best wishes to all of those who are participating in, and supporting, this year’s Irish Music Month.

It is an initiative which has already proven enormously valuable and it constitutes a major statement of support for Irish music by 25 independent Irish radio stations, working together with Hot Press, and supported by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.

The role and significance of music to life in Ireland cannot be over-stated. Irish musicians are among our most talented and best loved performers. They are also, as it happens, among the finest practitioners of their art in the world. 

The popularity of our musicians, bands and performers extends far beyond Irish shores. Not only do these artists bring our rich musical tradition to countries across the globe, but they also ensure that this extraordinary living tradition – powerful and resonant in its own right – remains open to and can absorb the influence and rich contribution of other cultures, and of other artistic perspectives.

Here at home, the diverse cultural backgrounds of so many of our young Irish musicians are helping to forge new strands in Irish music, intertwining their own musical creativity with existing Irish forms.

That is how Irish music evolves, and develops, constantly reflecting, in this powerful dynamic, the changing society with which it engages.

We have in recent years sadly lost many of our most cherished and influential members of the Irish music community. Yet their influence lives on, though their legacy to a new generation of musicians, responding in their own way and informed by their own personal circumstances and perspectives, who continue to push the boundaries of what Irish music can be.

Together with all our artists, the musicians of Ireland offer to us, as a society, the capacity for an enriching and often very beautiful and inspiring creative vision, but they do more, also challenging the taken for granted, in a way that is in itself courageous and liberating.

Irish Music Month has helped foster such a spirit. It is yet another statement of the central role of culture in our lives; of what we owe to the commitment of so many dedicated people within the artistic community for  ensuring access to that culture; and of the support that is there for them from the media, which is so important to nurturing and encouraging our artistic talent.

I particularly welcome the renewed commitment this year to ensuring gender-balance amongst those musicians who will be featured across the month. I welcome too the significant increase in Irish music which will be played by participating radio stations. In combination with the mentoring and advice being provided as part of this year’s ‘A New Local Hero’ competition, these initiatives will ensure a wide range of diverse and dynamic Irish musicians receive the airplay that their work deserves.

We owe a great debt of gratitude to every single one of the 25 independent radio stations, spread as they are across the country – and providing as they do a special connection to the citizens of this country and to music fans across all genres – for supporting this important event; and to Hot Press, who continues to make such a valuable, lasting contribution to Irish music across so many years.

I thank them, and all those involved in Irish Music Month, and I wish you every success with this very valuable and imaginative initiative.

Traoslaím libh uilig is guím gach rath agus beannacht oraibh do’n todhchaí.”