Brendan Lamb is a musicology PhD candidate at the Conservatorium of Music at the University of Tasmania. Brendan notes in his thesis that the numerous folk music revivals of the twentieth century have been key turning points in popular music, grassroots phenomena that paradoxically drove the industry they often strove to defy. Whilst the North American and English folk revivals were highly popular and influential movements, neither had quite the impact on revitalising culture as the Irish folk music revival in Ireland. Performers such as The Dubliners, The Chieftains, Planxty and The Bothy Band combined old and new, foreign and familiar in their performances in such a way that they drove Irish folk and traditional music into a new evolutionary phase. This evolution, unlike its North American and British counterparts, fundamentally redefined the musical landscape within Ireland and spawned an international phenomenon in the Pub Session.
Through studying the origins of this movement, Brendan highlights the complex relationship this period has had within the context of Irish traditional music and also evidenced the fundamental role the tradition played in this music’s performance. In analysing the recorded performances of these key ensembles and comparing their key musical elements to Irish music prior to the period, this thesis has identified the significant innovations and contributions to Irish music that these performers have provided.