A treasure trove of traditional songs recorded over 30 years ago by singers across County Wexford have been made available for free to the public in digital format.

he County Wexford Traditional Singers Archive features 876 tracks recorded by John O’Byrne and Phil Berry from The County Wexford Traditional Singers from January 1991 to February 1996 and produced by artist/folklorist Michael Fortune from folklore.ie

Now in a development that will be music to the ears of traditional song lovers, song recordings from the early 1990s featuring singers from every corner of County Wexford have been saved from digital deterioration and made available for free to the public in a fascinating online archive. 

In September 2021 John O’Byrne handed a box of cassettes to Michael Fortune who slowly and carefully digitised and re-mastered the collection into audio files. Some of the tapes had deteriorated over the years but luckily most were in good working order still.

In 2022 Michael and the group secured further funding thanks to The Arts Department of Wexford County Council via their Creative Communities Scheme and Michael produced these audio files into video format, complete with each song chapter marked with details of the singer, the song and when it was recorded.

John O’Byrne and Phil Berry have been organising traditional singing sessions throughout Wexford for the past 30 years and fortunately John had a cassette recorder and they managed to record over 150 singers over the years. This archive was officially made available to the public in February 2023 and is an incredible free resource for those interested in traditional song here in Wexford as well as nationally and internationally.

Michael conducted the production of the archive and has made the recordings available via YouTube where each recording has been catalogue with singer, song and their location while he has also Chapter Marked each recording so the listener can easily skip from song to song.

To listen to the songs please visit the YouTube Pages of Wexford Traditional Singers or Michael Fortune (Folklore.ie).