As a race, we have a healthy and natural suspicion of ‘moves’ by those in authority or ‘over us’ as we say here.
While all isn’t lost by no means in the move I’ve only heard of recently, it doesn’t bode well for the exposure of Irish Traditional Music on RTÉ Radio 1.
On this Sunday night, Peter Browne and The Rolling Wave will broadcast the final Radio 1 programme on the channel before being replaced by a Derek Mooney fronted show.
The Rolling Wave will continue in its Lyric FM, Monday evening slot between 6pm and 7pm. However, as a bend-over-backwards service to the Irish Traditional Music industry over the years, both Peter Browne and the station itself remain unsurpassed.
RTÉ Supporting The Arts
In can never be said of the station that it didn’t live up to it self inflicted proclamation “RTÉ Supporting the Arts” as the station and its ambassador did indeed seek the fair land as far as looking for and supporting music and associated events in every town and village in the country.
This was mainly – though not exclusively – at a time when the fabric of rural life was crumbling before our eyes. When governments and their services were retreating to their big centre, bastions of population and power.
I seem to remember a similar move in the early 1990’s when an RTÉ Radio 1 ‘trad’ programme got the chop and the ‘murder’ that ensued.
Traditional & Folk Music
The Rolling Wave radio programme is named after a famous traditional Irish tune. And the programme features the best of Irish traditional and folk music from all corners of the country and beyond.
From the point of view of the Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Music Festival, it was the potent combination of Browne and RTÉ which put the event on its feet and encouraged it to walk – and even to walk before it could run.
Such was the depth of advice and guardian angeling and mentoring that went on that we felt the whole station was behind us in those shaky, early years from 1993.
If there’s a consolation it’s that I’m not writing this as a complete farewell to The Rolling Wave. It’s more of a timely tribute and feeling of resistance to ‘the move’ and in the hope the powers that be in RTÉ may consider finding it another slot on the old channel.
Brilliant Young Musicians
The odd thing is that there is a rolling wave of brilliant, young musicians breaking on the shores here all the time and they learn their trade partly from attention to the kind of detail provided by the likes of The Rolling Wave.
Peter Browne is very highly regarded by this and the coming generation as Séamus Ennis and Ciarán MacMathúna were by their fathers and grandfathers.
The tradition of going out to the communities and into their natural habitats by people who instinctively knew what they wanted is what Radio Éireann always did best.
That they collected and went home with the goods has created a bank of material that will never be surpassed.
This has earned huge kudos for the mother station – and rightly so. It would be odd now, that we are in an era when youngsters are playing better music from instruments kept in kinder environments that the station would change its policy.
As I mentioned above, thankfully this is not a farewell to The Rolling Wave – it’s just the casting of a cold eye on a move that raises suspicion.
The Rolling Wave is on tonight on RTÉ Radio 1 from 10pm to 11pm. and on Lyric FM on Monday evenings from 7pm to 8pm.