Iconic Irish Music Labels, Claddagh & Tara Records Relaunch With New Webstores

Both regarded as leading purveyors of Irish folk and traditional music, Claddagh and Tara have introduced stellar talents ranging from Derek Bell to Christy Moore.

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Tara Records stars Planxty in 1973: Photo: Michael Putland/Getty Images

Two Iconic Irish music labels, Claddagh and Tara are relaunching. Claddagh has been relaunched along with a new webstore for enthusiasts of Irish music, poetry, and the spoken word around the world.

The relaunch of Claddagh Records, founded by the late Garech Browne in 1959, follows the signing of a worldwide licensing agreement with Universal Music Ireland. Led by Nick Younger, the newly re-formed Claddagh Records Label, within Universal Music Ireland, will embark on an ambitious re-mastering and digitizing programme of the Claddagh Records archive and will release over 60 recordings newly remastered, on all Digital Service Providers (DSPs) for the very first time this year. These releases include The Chieftains 1-10, Leo Rowsome’s King of the Pipers and Derek Bell’s Carolan’s Favourite.

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Six further archive recordings, including Sean Ó Riada’s Ó Riada’s Farewell, Seamus Heaney and Liam O’Flynn’s The Poet and the Piper and Jack MacGowran’s MacGowran Speaking Beckett, will be remastered, and pressed on to vinyl for the first time and released later this year.

Claddagh Records, one of Ireland’s oldest record labels, specializes in Irish traditional music, poetry and spoken word. The first release on the label was Leo Rowsome’s King of the Pipers followed by many recordings by The Chieftains, Liam O’Flynn and Seán Ó Riada. Claddagh Records was also instrumental in recording some of the greatest Irish and Scottish poets alive including Seamus Heaney, Patrick Kavanagh, John Montague, Hugh Mac Diarmid and George McKay Browne.

Set up by John Cook in the early 1970s, Tara Records has been regarded for many years as one of the leading traditional Irish music recording companies. The first release was the album Prosperous by a young Christy Moore, still largely unknown at the time.

During the last forty years, no single band has changed the face of “traditional” Irish music more than Planxty, the supergroup of Donal Lunny on bouzouki, Andy Irvine on mandolin, Liam O’Flynn on uilleann pipes and Christy Moore on guitar, formed more by accident than design in the early 1970s. Their unique blend of folk and Irish traditional music transformed the genre and eventually paved the way for the worldwide success of Riverdance. Tara Music released two Planxty Albums – 1979’s After the Break, and 1980’sThe Woman I Loved So Well.

Tara Music also released both Bill Whelan’s first major orchestral work, The Seville Suite and his most recent release: The Connemara Suite.

Over the last 18 months, a full inventory of the Claddagh Records archive, including over 60 boxes of material stored in the Bank of Ireland vaults for several decades, has been completed. Over 300 historic recordings, some of which have never been released, have been fully catalogued and will now be re-mastered and digitized to ensure their preservation. These recordings will be made available both nationally and internationally to those interested in Ireland’s cultural history.

In addition to this, new recordings and releases are currently being scheduled with the record label, including a special release to mark The Chieftains 60th Anniversary and a new recording of Patrick Kavanagh’s “Almost Everything”.

Claddagh Records Webstore, under the direction of James Morrissey as Chairman and Mark Richardson as Operations Manager includes over 1,000 Irish music and spoken word products across all record labels, available to purchase across CD and vinyl. The extensive repertoire spans from as early as the 50s and 60s, with Leo Rowsome’s King of the Pipers (Claddagh Records, 1959) and Sean Ó Riada’s Mise Éire (Gael Linn, 1960) right up to the present day with recordings from The Gloaming (Real World Records), Lankum (Rough Trade) and Niamh Regan (The Black Gate Label). It will also stock a variety of merchandise, books and traditional Irish instruments. All product on the store will be available to ship worldwide.

Visit Claddagh Records’ new global webstore.

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