Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, Rita Gallagher and Michael Rooney winners in TG4 Gradam Ceoil Awards 2017

The TG4 Gradam Ceoil awards for 2017 have just been announced and the recipient’s include artists that we have featured over the last number of weeks on Tradconnect.

The Traditional Musician of the Year award goes to Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh who is a founding member of Altan and has recently released an album with her family called Na Mooneys. Mairéad was born and raised in the heartland of the Gaoth Dobhair Gaeltacht in Donegal and while known internationally for her work with Altan, she has also appeared on recording with Enya, The Chieftains, Dolly Parton, The String Sisters and many others.

Fellow Donegal singer Rita Gallagher is the recipient of the Traditional Singer of the Year award. “Although I always sang, I only came to traditional singing in my early twenties, and went on to compete in several Fleadhanna, with a certain degree of success. I became fascinated by the tunes of the songs initially, and the potential to interpret them, to ornament, emphasise, inflect, and generally mould the song to suit my voice and how it influenced me and appealed to me. Traditional music would lose most of its appeal if it were played without interpretation, and the stamp of the individual artist playing it.”

Later today we will be launching The Macalla Suite by acclaimed composer and musician Michael Rooney, and it is fitting that he is the recipient of the Composer of the Year award. Michael is a prolific composer and is widely regarded as one of the foremost players of the traditional Irish harp.

Originally from Scotstown, Co. Monaghan and now resident in Sligo, Michael has composed nine suites of music in the past 20 years, including The Macalla Suite (2016), Boróimhe Suite (2014), The Second Coming (2014), De Cuellar Suite (2011) and Battle of the Books Suite (2007). In May 2015, Michael was commissioned to write music and perform on the occasion of Prince Charles’ visit to Sligo. His music features on ‘The Queen's Speech’, RTÉ's documentary of Queen Elizabeth’s visit to Ireland.

The remaining awards go to flautist Mick O’Connor who received this year’s Outstanding Contribution award, the legendary Dónal Lunny who picked up the Lifetime Achievement award and West Clare concertina player Liam O’Brien is Young Traditional Musician of the Year.

The full awards list is:

Traditional Musician: Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh

Composer: Michael Rooney

Young Traditional Musician of the Year: Liam O’ Brien

Lifetime Achievement: Dónal Lunny

Outstanding Contribution: Mick O’Connor

Traditional Singer of the Year: Rita Gallagher

"Gradam Ceoil TG4 is the premier annual traditional music awards scheme. An independent panel of adjudicators selects recipients each year.  It is not a competition.  The Gradam Ceoil recipients are presented with a specially-commissioned piece by leading sculptor John Coll as well as a small stipend.    This year’s awards will be presented at the Gradam Ceoil TG4 Concert in the Cork Opera House on Sunday 19th February. At this live televised concert, hosted by well-known musician/broadcasters Tristan Rosenstock and Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, the 2017 Gradam recipients will be joined in performance on stage by their own special musical guests in a unique, star-studded line-up of musicians and award-presenters to include Altan, Lunny, Brady & Irvine, The Castle Céilí Band, The Atlantic Arc Orchestra, Na Mooneys, The Macalla Orchestra and many more."



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