Traditional Irish Music
The results are in and we are delighted to announce Saileog Ní Cheannabháin as the winner of the Tradconnect New Tune Composition 2014. Its an outstanding tune and was one 12 tunes that were shortlisted by our adjudicator Peadar Ó Riada as worthy winners. To all 63 entrants as well as the 11 that were shortlisted a very big thank you. This was first and foremost a showcase for composers. It provided composers with a platform for their music and generated significant interest. A big thank you to Cormac Begley and Tunes in the Church for putting up the prize of €500. It may also be included on the next Tunes in the Church album and an excerpt from the tune will ring out on the Church Bells prior to next season's concerts.
To Peadar Ó Riada an extra big thank you. He took time out of his day to listen to all the tracks and go through the process of narrowing the field down. We spoke to him about the process and and he confirmed that he " took the competition very seriously and spent quite a bit of time with it." On the exact work involved he said "I listened to all tracks and marked them. I then went back over them a second time. I then took the best 12 and marked them again. I appreciate how personal the submitted tune is to each composer. I applaud their courage and their decision to enter the competition. Remember this was a competition for a tune out of the list of 63 - not a composer and his/her body of work. Traditional Irish Music is like a language. Each line is a sentence that has to be answered in the next line. The second part of the tune and subsequent parts, are a continuation of the same conversation but a new idea has entered the flow. All parts and sentences must be in the same voice or language or even dialect/local style. A huge heap of words or notes don’t make a poem or a tune."
"I was looking for a tune that was evenly balanced and with a distinct shape. I wanted a tune that people would not only like but that would also play. I found many such tunes. I am sure that personal taste influenced my decision also and that any of four or five different entries could have been the winner under a different adjudicator. I did not look at any information regarding any entry until my adjudication was finished and I did not take musicianship into account as the competition was for the actual tune. I am happy to answer any question anyone may have about my decision." Peadar Ó Riada Dé Sathairn 20ú Meann Fhomhair 2014.
It is also worth noting that Peadar is still accepting submission for his annual Seán Ó Riada Gold Medal with a prize of €2,500. Please read this article for more information.
The Winning Tune - Saileog Ní Cheannabháin / Méaracáin Mhordáin
Saileog Ní Cheannabháin is a musician and singer. A native Irish speaker, her sean-nós singing style is mainly influenced by singers from Iorras Aithneach in the Connemara Gaeltacht. She plays traditional music on fiddle, piano and viola, and also studied classical piano for twelve years. Having graduated with a BMus (2009), University College Cork awarded her the Seán Ó Riada Prize, for a study of the Songs and Singers of Iorras Aithneach. She has performed at various festivals and venues in Ireland and abroad, including Féile Joe Éiniú, Scoil Cheoil an Earraigh, Éigse Dhiarmaid Uí Shúilleabháin, Scoil Geimhreadh Merriman, Cooley-Collins Festival and Scoil Samhradh Willie Clancy. In 2012, Saileog released a CD of sean nós songs that were collected by Seamus Ennis in the 1940s in Iorras Aithneach, Connemara.
About the tune: This tune came about when I was out walking near Aill na Méaracán (the cliff of the foxgloves) on a bog road in Iorras Aithneach, Connemara, a few years ago. The first part of the tune came into my head while looking over at Cnoc Mordáin (Mordán's hill), and I added the rest of it later on. Mordán, according to local folklore, was a druid who had the hill named after him. The title is a mixture of the two place names, so it became "Méaracáin Mhordáin" - Mordán's foxgloves.
The 11 other Semi Finalists selected by Peadar were
Tune #11 - Shane Meehan / In Memory of John Meehan
Tune #14 - Bláthnaid Nic Cába / Taoiseach na Saoirsí (The Liberties Chieftain)
Tune #22 - Maurice Lennon / Ben Lennon’s Hornpipe
Tune #25 - Yvonne Casey / After Midnight
Tune #35 - Tommy McCarthy / A Trip to Miltown
Tune #37 - Keelan McGrath / Farewell to Finbarr
Tune #43 - Dick Glasgow / Maurice Duncan's trip to Ballycastle
Tune # 50 - Jimmy McEvoy / Frank’s Breakfast
Tune #52 - Joe Carey / An Siocán Sneachta
Tune #53 - Alan Jordan / Féinmheas
Tune #57 - Rónán Regan / Music is the Answer
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