Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh and Dónal Lunny Receive TG4 Gradam Ceoil Awards
Fiddle-player and singer Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, and bouzouki-player and arranger Dónal Lunny, are among the six recipients of the 2017 TG4 Gradam Ceoil awards.
Now in their 20th year, the TG4 Gradam Ceoil awards are the premier awards in Irish traditional music. The main award, Ceoltóir na Bliana (musician of the year) has been awarded to Ní Mhaonaigh, the Donegal fiddler and singer with the group Altan. Ní Mhaoinigh recently featured in the successful multi-media show Aisling? and has also just released an album with her family, titled Na Mooneys.
Commenting on the award to TG4, Ní Mhaonaigh said,
It is a great honour. It’s nice to get recognition for your art, and it is very important to me as woman to receive this award, because not many women have received it – and I am in great company, men and women.
Ní Mhaonaigh is one of only three women, out of twenty recipients, who have received the main award since 1998. The others are Mary Bergin (2000) and Máire Ní Chathasaigh (2001).
Dónal Lunny received the Gradam Saoil (hall of fame) award. He said
I am very happy to received this award. I’ve always enjoyed performing at the awards ceremony – but it will be very different this year.
The awards ceremony takes place at the Cork Opera House on Sunday 19 February and will be hosted by Tristan Rosenstock and Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh.
Michael Rooney received the Cumadóir (composer) award, which has returned after being dropped in 2014. Rooney, who is a harper and composer, recently completed a major commission titled Macalla 1916, which was performed at the Barbican in London in March.
The Ceoltóir Óg (young musician) award went to concertina player Liam O’Brien from Miltown Malbay. A graduate of the Irish World Music Academy of Music and Dance in Limerick, he has toured widely with guitarist Hajime Takahashi.
Rita Gallagher from Ballybacahill in south-west Donegal received the Amhránaí na Bliana (singer of the year) award. Influenced by the late Paddy Tunney in particular, Gallagher is a three-time winner at Fleadh Cheoil na Éireann and in 2010 released the collection of songs in English, The May Morning Dew.
The Gradam Comaoine (special contribution) award goes to Dublin flute-player Mick O’Connor, a pivotal figure in the traditional music scene for over fifty years. He has worked with many organisations including Na Píobairí Uilleann, the Irish Traditional Music Archive, Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann and the Willie Clancy Summer School.
The 2017 Gradam recipients will be joined on stage at the awards ceremony in February by a range of musical guests, including Altan, Paul Brady and Andy Irvine, The Castle Céilí Band, The Atlantic Arc Orchestra, Na Mooneys, The Macalla Orchestra and more.