ROSSA Ó SN­ODAIGH KÍLA

AGUS ANOIS AN AIMSIR... (AND NOW THE WEATHER)

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Gaeilge is the lan­guage of our soul, and art and mu­sic the weather fore­cast of our soul.

I feel we have been dis­con­nected from our soul. Imag­ine that Irish broad­cast­ers would only fore­cast the English and Amer­i­can weather, and worse, saw noth­ing odd about this. The dis­con­nec­tion would be enor­mous. The Irish broad­cast­ers have been do­ing much the same by not play­ing songs in our soul lan­guage.

English songs from Éire

English lan­guage mu­sic from Éire has been knock­ing on the doors of the main­stream me­dia for gen­er­a­tions, in the hope that those in charge of the air­waves would proudly broad­cast their mu­sic.

Back in the '90s, the French gov­ern­ment were sup­ported by the EU in en­act­ing Tour­ban's law, which brought in a 40% French mu­sic quota to pro­tect the French lan­guage. Tak­ing their ex­am­ple, the then IRTC (In­de­pen­dent Ra­dio and Tele­vi­sion Com­mis­sion) were able to con­vince the EU that mu­sic in Ire­land was a lan­guage that was in need of pro­tec­tion, and thus the EU and the Irish gov­ern­ment ap­proved a 30% Irish mu­sic quota.

But when the BAI su­perceded the

IRTC, they dropped the quota sys­tem, and in­stead mon­i­tored the quo­tas the sta­tions them­selves agreed in their li­cence sub­mis­sions. This could be as low as 5-10%, and de­spite each sta­tion hav­ing to agree an Irish lan­guage pol­icy, a se­cret broad­cast pol­icy of 'English lyrics only' has pre­vailed. A quota for Irish lan­guage songs is now the only way this sit­u­a­tion will change.

Are there enough songs as Gaeilge?

I’ve been run­ning An Puball Gaeilge, the Irish lan­guage per­for­mance tent at the Elec­tric Pic­nic, for 11 years; there were 35 bands on this year alone. On an­other stage called Hazel­woods, Con­radh na Gaeilge – who’ve just re­leased their umpteenth Irish song CD, Ceol 2018 – pre­sented 15 acts. The com­bined 50 bands per­formed ev­ery­thing in­clud­ing rock, pop, bar­ber­shop, trad, rap and hip hop.

Most per­form­ers were flu­ent, but for those who weren’t, this was the first time they were ap­plauded for us­ing their cú­pla fo­cal. They sang in the lan­guage of their soul, to an amazed au­di­ence who were like peo­ple who had heard the ac­tual Irish weather fore­cast for the first time.

It re­con­nected the au­di­ence to some­thing that had been ab­sent since birth; it raised their spir­its, gave them pride, and made them feel like the sun was sud­denly ris­ing.

The peo­ple of this coun­try de­serve to have their spir­its raised by songs

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