Savage to Help Start Irish Music Archive

By Sean Smith
Staff Writer

Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern has appointed Irish Studies Associate Director Robert Savage Jr. to a commission that will establish a national music archive for Ireland.

Savage sits on the 16-member board of the Sean O'Riada Trust, named for the late composer and musician who was a key figure in the modern revival of Irish traditional music forms. The board soon will begin developing plans for the fall 2000 opening of an archival materials center.

"O'Riada, while dedicated to traditional music, was very intrigued with the idea of using modern technology and culture in its expression," said Savage, who joins former US Ambassador to Ireland Jean Kennedy Smith as the only Americans on the board. "The O'Riada Trust will work on that same principle, making materials available through the World Wide Web and other technology, as well as more traditional methods. Ultimately, the trust hopes to be part of a global connection that includes the Library of Congress - which is working with the board - universities, schools, interpretive centers and other locations.

"The fact that a representative of Boston College has been named to the board," he continued, "reflects the stature of our Irish Studies Program, and our own efforts to build an archive, as evidenced by the establishment of the Irish Music Center in Burns Library."

The trust will focus initially on organizing the diverse collection of O'Riada, whose endeavors also included theater, lectures, radio and television programs, poetry and correspondence. It will gradually "move outward," said Savage, "and track the way Irish music has spread throughout the world.

"The scope of this project dovetails with our program's interests and activities," he added. "I am very honored to be part of it."

Other board members include singer and composer Phil Coulter, a visiting faculty member in Irish Studies, and Michael D. O'Higgins, Ireland's former minister of the arts.

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