Big Bear Sound recently participated in another Sounds Alive event for Culture Night – this time at the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) – for an evening of collected stories, songs and memories from one of the largest sound archives in the country – the National Folklore Collection.
Before even most people had a radio at home, volunteers and teachers were being asked to go out into their locality and collect local stories, traditions and descriptions of past events as part of the Irish Folklore Commission. Ireland was going through incredible changes at the time and there was a concern that many of these memories would be lost forever if they weren’t preserved properly. History isn’t just confined to what people write in history books, and these oral narratives are incredible testimonies to some of the biggest chapters in Ireland’s history, including the 1913 Lockout and the 1916 Rising.
With contributions from Anna Bale from the National Folklore Commission, audio restoration specialist Harry Bradshaw, and Pat Herbert from the Hurdy-Gurdy Museum of Vintage Radio in Howth, Co. Dublin, the audience were treated to some of the earliest audio recordings ever made in Ireland, played back from wax cylinder recorders live on the night. Colm Mac Con Iomaire (The Frames / Swell Season / Kila) provided some beautiful musical accompaniment.
BAI reception also played host to a pop-up Vintage Radio museum, showcasing a dazzling array of vintage radio and television sets.
Sounds Alive was started in 2010 by Julien Clancy, a freelance radio documentary maker who loves sharing the magic and wonder of stories told through sound. Since then, he has hosted listening events everywhere from the Megapolis Audio Art Festival in New York to Electric Picnic. For more info, please visit www.soundsoutloud.com or follow @julesoutloud.