16 January 2021 The Irish Film & Television Network
Lomax in Éirinn to Premiere on TG4
14 Sep 2018 :
The Irish language documentary follows Pól Brennan of Clannad as he uncovers the story of Alan Lomax in Ireland.

In ‘Lomax in Éirinn’, Brennan brings the audience on an emotional journey through stunning locations in the Mississippi delta, as it explores how Lomax’s vocation was forged there as a teenager when he discovered iconic artists whose music later laid the seeds of rock and roll such as Muddy Waters, Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie and Jelly Roll Morton.

Taking advantage of two new inventions in technology (the LP and magnetic tape), he was determined to record and to preserve the folk music of the world before it was smothered by the new corporate and monotone mass-media. His mission brought him to Ireland, leading to the first LP of Irish traditional music in 1955. 20 years later, his recordings inspired the 1970s revival by the likes of Planxty, The Bothy Band and Clannad.

Presenter, Pól Brennan, explained why he got involved in ‘Lomax in Éirinn’, saying:

“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. Alan’s journey to Ireland also touched me personally. One 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.”

The documentary features exclusive musical performances from contemporary artists paying homage to the music that Lomax preserved. Steve Earle, Clannad, Slow Moving Clouds, The Tulla Ceilí Band, Mississippi bluesman Sam Mosely and the youngest ever winner of sean-nós competition Corn Uí Riada, Nell Ní Chróinín all make significant contributions throughout. The film’s soundtrack also includes some of the best recordings made by Alan Lomax throughout the world.

Pól Brennan of Clannad explains Lomax’s influence on Ireland:

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.”

https://grabyo.com/g/v/59X7NLDUpCN - Trailer

‘Lomax in Éirinn' was made by Aisling Productions for TG4 with the support of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and the Irish Language Broadcast Fund of Northern Ireland Screen.

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 film asks what drove him to do that. It was a 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 Chroinín, all of them keen to honour the legacy of Alan Lomax and his contribution to Irish and world music.”

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

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 Chonghaile.

The documentary will air on TG4 at 8:30pm on Sunday 16th September.

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