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This collection of video footage was recorded by Terry Rafferty between 1986 and 2002, providing the viewer with a unique snapshot of the ‘Revival’ years of the 1980s and 1990s. Terry’s husband, Mike Rafferty, arrived in New York in 1949 and was a hugely influential east-Galway flute player, particularly from the 1970s up to his passing in 2011. Terry attended most of Mike’s music gatherings and decided to record as many as possible on video. Through Terry’s dedication to recording, we have a front row view of various gigs and concerts but also more informal gatherings such as Mike, Willie Kelly and Billy McComiskey playing in the basement of the Rafferty house, a popular late night venue for music sessions.

The entire Rafferty Collection consists of ca. 250 hours of video footage and for this exhibition we have selected thirty clips recorded between 1986 and 1992, featuring a wide range of ages. These women and men, including Mike Rafferty, Jack Coen, Paddy Reynolds and younger players such as Joanie Madden, Jerry O’Sullivan and Deirdre Connolly to name but a few, left a rich legacy in the Irish traditional music community in New York.

9 July 1989
To set the scene for this Collection we begin with a light-hearted moment. It’s the 9th of July 1989 and Mayo have just beaten Galway in the Connacht Football semi-final replay, a year that Mayo were defeated by Cork in the All-Ireland Final. Mike Rafferty, dressed in his Sunday best, plays the hornpipe ‘The flowing tide’ and the music is followed by an exchange with Tony, a native of County Mayo.