(sent to all members and supporters about the future role of the society (March 2003)
The Folk Music Society of Ireland, a voluntary society, has been going through a period of revaluation after more than 30 years in existence, and after the recent publication of volumes 5-6 of its journal Irish Folk Music Studies/ Éigse Cheol Tíre it has come to certain decisions regarding its future.
The Society was founded in Dublin 1971 by a group of interested individuals with the aims of encouraging interest and promoting research in the traditional music, song and dance of Ireland. It was felt by its founders that the then recent revival of traditional music performance had not been accompanied by an equivalent growth in traditional music study and analysis. For 30 years the Society ran an annual series of public lectures and recitals, organised day seminars and conferences, advised researchers and answered queries, published a newsletter Ceol Tíre, a journal Irish Folk Music Studies/ Éigse Cheol Tíre, and a series of printed studies and cassette sound-recordings.
In recent years the Society has been adversely affected by various circumstances: partly the death and retirement of founding members, but also by changes in Irish social life and patterns of entertainment. On the positive side, it has been affected by the ready availability throughout the country of lectures and specialist recitals at festivals and summer schools, by the enormous increase in the publishing of traditional music, and by the number of academic courses being run in third-level education. These welcome developments, many of them initiated by members of the Society, have altered the music world in which the Society came into being and have removed some of its functions.
The Committee of the Society has accordingly decided that the Society will continue in existence only as a publishing body, and that it will cease its other public functions. Voluntary suscriptions will be gratefully received in support of its publishing activities (and may be sent to Nicholas Carolan, Hon. Treasurer, FMSI*, but membership subscriptions will no longer be accepted. A further volume of the Society’s journal is now in preparation, and this will be generally advertised when it appears. The Society is grateful for the various supports it has received in the past and looks forward to a new, but different, future.
Dr Seóirse Bodley Chairman
* [since 2006 – at the Irish Traditional Music Archive, 73 Merrion Square, Dublin 2]