The music recorded on this record is not rare nor is it about to disappear. It is from a living tradition which is constantly evolving with many young musicians who take part with as much enthusiasm as their grand fathers have shown.
Such as it exists today, the music of Ireland finds itself firmly planted between popular music and folk music.
Popular music because it is known from one side of the country to the other and played and appreciated by every level of society (as opposed to the traditional music of Western Europe which is the exclusive property of the illiterate working classes). It is therefore much less localised than for example Breton music. A fiddler from the County of Cork (S.E.) could meet another from Donegal (N.W.). They would very quickly find tunes that they both knew, coming from an enormous repertoire common to the whole country. Of course each one would have his own version of each tune and with the style of their region, but the differences would rarely be so great as to prevent them playing together. Emigration and the comings and goings of emigrants have perhaps played a role in the establishment of this common store of music. For two centuries in effect the Irish have built large communities in North America and England, there uniting people who come from every region of Ireland who are very attached to their traditions and particularly their musical traditions. You can hear great Irish music in London and New York. It was in this latter city where the most important tunes were published in about 1900 by O'Neil, a publication which was much used in Ireland itself and is used even to this day. The existence of these resources, many times changed and adapted, reinforces the semi-literate character of this music.
(translated from the French by Alistair Banfield)
The cover drawing for the Toss the Feathers LP was clearly based on the photograph from the cover (right) of Fleá Ceoil (1966 - Gael-Linn CEF 013 LP). While the bodhrán player may be Brendan Byrne, the fiddler is almost certainly not Ted Furey. In addition, neither Ted Furey or Brendan Byrne appear on the Fleá Ceoil LP.