16 January 2021 The Irish Film & Television Network
Declan McGrath's 'Lomax In Éirinn' to Premiere at Galway Film Fleadh with Special Live Performance
04 Jul 2018 : Nathan Griffin
A special live performance from Clannad and Iarla Ó Lionáird (The Gloaming) is set to take place ahead of Declan McGrath’s new documentary, which chronicles the journey of American song collector Alan Lomax to Ireland in 1951. ‘Lomax in Éirinn’ is set to premiere at the Galway Film Fleadh at 8pm on Wednesday, July 11th.

‘Lomax in Éirinn’ was produced and directed by Declan McGrath (‘Mary McAleese & The Man Who Saved Europe’, ‘A Woman’s Place’). It was shot by Colm Hogan (Klondike, Murdúir Mhám Trasna), edited by Dermot Diskin (‘Love Hate’, ‘Peaky Blinders’ and Jim Sheridan’s ‘Sacred Scripture’) with sound by Bob Brennan (‘Song of Granite’). The writer is Felim Mac Dermott (‘Screencraft: Screenwriting’).

The documentary features Pól Brennan (‘Clannad’, composer ‘Kings’, ‘Bronntanas) uncovering the story behind the trip of Texan song-collector Alan Lomax to Ireland in 1951. To get the background to that story the crew travelled to the USA. There, they filmed in the stunning locations where Alan Lomax began collecting music in the 1930s such as the Texas bayou and the Mississippi delta. They also shot in New York (where Lomax lived) and in The Library of Congress in Washington where Lomax’s collection is now preserved. The remaining shoot took place in Dublin and along the west coast of Ireland focusing on the areas Lomax visited when he came here in 1951.

‘Lomax in Éirinn’ was made by Aisling Productions for TG4. The film was funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and the Irish Language Broadcast Fund of NI Screen.

One of the biggest challenges for the crew was the capture of live performances ‘in the field’ from contemporary artists playing music that Lomax preserved. The idea was to showcase the power of this music as it is found today as well as tp payhomage to Lomax’s legacy. Acts featured include Steve Earle, Clannad, Slow Moving Clouds, The Tulla Ceilí Band and Nell Ní Chronáin. In the edit, the filmmakers drew extensively upon archive from the Irish Film Archive and the Irish Folklore Commission as well as from the Alan Lomax Collection, stored in Washington.

Contributors to ‘Lomax in Éirinn’ include Iarla Ó Lionáird (The Gloaming), John Spillane, Brian Mullan, Ian Lee, Grace Toland, Danny Diamond, Nicholas Carolan and Deirdre Ní Chongaile.

Speaking about the projects, Director Declan McGrath, says:

Lomax in Éirinn is ultimately an exploration of the value of music to humanity. Alan Lomax gave up his life to record, preserve and promote the forgotten music of the margins. This programme asks what drove him to do that. It was an privilege, for me,  to hear musicians of the calibre of Iarla Ó Lionáird grapple with that subject and to witness top-class performances from the likes of Clannad, Steve Earle, Slow Moving Clouds and Nell Ní Chronáin, all of them keen to honour the legacy of Alan Lomax and his contribution to Irish and world music.”

Speaking about why he got involved, Presenter & member of Clannad, Pól Brennan said:

When we started the group Clannad in 1970, we were drawing on music that Alan Lomax had recorded and preserved when he came to Ireland twenty years earlier, and we toured with that music throughout the world. There were other bands of the 1970s revival – like The Bothy Band and Planxty – that did the same.

“Lomax in Éirinn gave me a chance to explore the roots and consequences of Lomax’s journey to Ireland and the undeniable influence it had on Irish music. I was also drawn to this story because Alan’s journey to Ireland touched me personally. One of the singers he recorded in 1951 was Cití Ní Ghallchóir, a neighbour of mine from Gweedore Co. Donegal, and one of the songs that Alan recorded from Cití had been translated into Irish by my grandfather Aodh Ó Dugain.”

‘Lomax in Éirinn’ is set to premiere at the Galway Film Fleadh at 8pm on Wednesday, July 11th.

Click here for more information about tickets

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