Una Mullally: We need to become a culture-first society

We cannot pretend to value art yet have cities that are hostile to artists

 James Vincent McMorrow on stage at the Iveagh Gardens, Dublin, in June. Photograph: Tom Honan /The Irish Times

James Vincent McMorrow on stage at the Iveagh Gardens, Dublin, in June. Photograph: Tom Honan /The Irish Times

‘This recording was supported through funding from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sports and Media as administered via the Music Industry Stimulus Package 2020.” That increasingly common sentence, which appears on the liner notes of Kojaque’s new album, Town’s Dead, shows how some musicians in Ireland are finally and rightly being supported. By the time this brilliant record was released, Kojaque, one of Ireland’s finest musical talents, had already moved to London.

In March, Gareth Murphy wrote an excellent piece for the Journal of Music, about what Ireland is doing wrong with the music industry. He wrote: “A musical, tech-savvy island like Ireland should be embracing the future with wide open arms. This is an opportunity to become a truly independent, copyright-owning, job-creating music culture.”

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