Composer Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin talks about the place of the piano in Irish traditional music.
The piano is not the first instrument that would be associated with Irish traditional music. The main purpose of the piano up to relatively recently has been to accompany musicians.
The piano is now seen as an instrument which can now do justice to Irish folk music.
Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin performs a tune called ‘The Wild Geese’. This piece was first published in Dublin in the 1720s it was also collected from the last of the itinerant harpers in Belfast towards the end of the eighteenth century.
As someone who has been exposed to so many different musical traditions and cultures Mícheal Ó Súilleabháin says he finds himself connected emotionally with Irish traditional music.
The multi-instrumentalist who is primarily a pianist realised that his first instrument was the wrong one for traditional music, but has dedicated himself to creating a unique relationship between the two.
I came to traditional music, and found myself with the wrong instrument...so what I'm playing is a working out of that dilemma.
This episode of ‘The Pure Drop’ was broadcast on 25 November 1991. The presenter is Paddy Glackin.
‘The Pure Drop’ is described by the RTÉ Guide in 1988 as "A nine part traditional music series featuring the best solo instrumentalists playing in Ireland today and occasionally featuring small groups."
The programme was first broadcast on 14 January 1988 and ran until February 1996. Presenters were James Kelly, Iarla Ó Lionáird, Paddy Glackin and Martin McGinley.