Treat in store for local folk fans
The music collection of local folk aficionado, the late Geoff Harden, will be added to the Northern Ireland Music Archive at Belfast Central Library at a special launch this week (Thursday 31st May).
Geoff’s collection forms the backbone of the Traditional Arts element of the Northern Ireland Music Archive which was established by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland in March last year.
The archive, which is permanently available to the public at the Belfast Central Library, currently holds approximately 400 irreplaceable classical music recordings from the BBC Northern Ireland archives. The Geoff Harden collection is the second stage of the archive project, which over the coming years will develop and grow to include music from all genres practiced in Northern Ireland, including rock, pop and jazz.
Paul Flynn, Traditional Arts Officer at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland said, “The addition of the traditional arts element to the Northern Ireland Music Archive is another example of how important the Arts Council considers the preservation and promotion of our traditional music and song to be. With the two universities in Northern Ireland now offering accredited 3rd level qualifications in traditional music, the Arts Council sees this new addition to the archive as an invaluable resource to students. We are delighted to be able to include elements of the late Geoff Harden’s field recordings of Belfast folk clubs in the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s and we are hoping to follow this up with the inclusion of traditional music collections from other sources.”
L-R Pictured at the Archive in Belfast Central Library
Paul Flynn, Traditional Arts Officer, Arts Council of Northern Ireland
Nicholas Carlan, Director of Irish Traditional Music Archive,
Robert Collins, Music Officer, Arts Council of Northern Ireland
Paula Gibson, Music Department Librarian, is delighted to open this new strand in the ever-growing collection of digital recordings in the archive. “The NI Music Archive has proved extremely popular since it opened last year and the addition of the Traditional Arts element especially the vast and varied collection of Geoff Harden will be a major attraction to all folk fans. Geoff was a walking encyclopedia of folk music and worked tirelessly to promote folk music in Northern Ireland through his work as an organiser of festivals and also as a freelance writer and broadcaster. The digitization of his collection and housing this resource in Belfast Central Library safeguards the archive for future generations of music lovers” said Paula Gibson.
The Geoff Harden collection was bequeathed to Colin Harper, Music Journalist and librarian at the Belfast School of Music, who has kindly allowed the Arts Council to digitise the collection at Belfast Central Library. Colin said, “Geoff’s collection of concert recordings is a faithful and remarkable document of an era, and I’m delighted that the Arts Council of Northern Ireland have put some resources into the daunting process of transferring the material to a digital medium. This will ensure that future generations will recognise the great contribution he made to folk music in Belfast and beyond.”