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In 1958, when he was 19, the Hon. Garech Browne and his friend, Ivor Browne, were students of Leo Rowsome, one of Ireland’s leading uileann pipers. They bemoaned the fact that none of the established record companies were interested in a long-playing record of his music. And so they set about establishing a record company that would do just that.
Claddagh Records was born following year when Leo Rowsome’s Ri na bPiobairi (King of Pipers) was released.
The second album was by The Chieftains, the first recording of now world-famous traditional group. Garech Browne set out to ensure that the preservation of Ireland’s rich heritage in music and the spoken work would be Claddagh’s prime objective.
Leading poets including Patrick Kavanagh, Austin Clarke, John Montague and Seamus Heaney recorded for Claddagh. The spoken word recordings also extended to Scottish poets, among them Hugh MacDiarmid, Sorley MacLean and George MacKay Browne.
More albums by The Chieftains followed and other artists whose works were released on the Irish label included Liam O’Flynn, Tommy Potts, Seamus Ennis and Matt Molloy.
Classical music was also to feature – notably Frederick May’s 1936 String Quartet in C Minor (1974), recordings of Brahms and Bach by Bernadette Greevy and an interpretation of John Field’s nocturnes by Veronica McSwiney.
In the mid-1960s Samuel Beckett presided over the recording of extracts of his work, read by the actor Jack McGowran.
Some years later Garech Browne inveigled composer Sean O’Riada to record Irish airs and dance music at a his home in Luggala. O’Riada’s Farewell was posthumously released.
The Claddagh Records catalogue is a truly unique rich reservoir of Irish music and the spoken word.
The Hon. Garech Browne June 25, 1939 – March 11, 2018
Today, Claddagh’s mail order service has access to more traditional Irish music than any other company, and we will send it anywhere in the world!
In our shop at 2 Cecilia Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2 (MAP), we have the finest display of recorded traditional music anywhere, with people coming from all over the world to purchase.
We post cds and DVDs worldwide.