2013 TG4 Gradam Ceoil Recipients

Mick Tubridy, Dermot Byrne, Dónal McCague and Tommy Peoples

2013 TG4 Gradam Ceoil Recipients

The 2013 TG4 Gradam Ceoil recipients are Dermot Byrne (Gradam Ceoil TG4 / Traditional Musician of the Year); Dónal McCague (Ceoltóir Óg TG4 / Young Musician of the Year); Mick Tubridy (Gradam Saoil TG4 / Lifetime Achievement Award); Tommy Peoples (Cumadóir TG4 / Composer of the Year); Séamus Begley (Amhránaí TG4 / Singer of the Year); and Na Píobairí Uilleann (Gradam Aitheantais TG4 / Musicians’ Award).

This year’s awards will be presented at the Gradam Ceoil Concert in the UL Concert Hall, Limerick, on Saturday 30 March. The concert, hosted by Aoife Ní Thuairisg and Páidí Ó Lionáird, will feature performances by the winners and guests, and is linking up with The Gathering Ireland 2013 by focussing on the impact that Ireland’s musicians have had around the world.

Tickets for the Gradam Ceoil concert are available by telephoning 061 331549 or via gradam.ie.

Dermot Byrne: Gradam Ceoil / Musician Award

Having last year recorded with Altan on a ninth studio album (The Poison Glen / Gleann Nimhe), and recorded an album and toured extensively with French harpist Floriane Blancke, Dermot Byrne is this year’s TG4 Musician of the Year. Byrne is from Buncrana, Co Donegal. He learned the accordion from his father Tomás O’Byrne, while Donegal musicians such Johnny Doherty, Con Cassidy, Tommy Peoples, James Byrne, and Danny Meehan fired his enthusiasm. Though Byrne has been playing with Altan since the late 1980s, he has collaborated with numerous other musicians including Séamus and Manus McGuire, Sharon Shannon, The Chieftains, Salsa Celtica, Steve Cooney, Dezi Donelly, Bríd Harper, Frankie Gavin, Tommy Peoples, Tim O’Brien and the late jazz violinist, Stephane Grappelli. His debut solo recording was released in 1995 and features accompaniment from Steve Cooney, Trevor Hutchinson and Dónal Lunny. He made another recording in 2001 entitled 2 Worlds United, which was recorded with Ontario-based fiddler Pierre Schryer and included French, Irish, Scottish and Cape Breton tunes. In 2011, he recorded a duet album with French harpist Floriane Blancke that combines French waltzes with newly composed pieces, a tune by Turlough O’Carolan and traditional tunes. Byrne is in the process of recording a single-row CD of Donegal music.

Previous winners in this category are:
1998 – Tommy Peoples
1999 – Matt Molloy
2002 – Paddy Keenan
2003 – John Carty
2004 – Seán Keane
2005 – Jackie Daly

2006 – James Kelly 
2007 – Liam O’Flynn
2008 – Martin Hayes 
2009 – Charlie Harris    
2010 – Seán McKiernan
2011 – Noel Hill
2012 – Bryan Rooney   

Dónal McCague: Ceoltóir Óg / Young Musician 

Dónal McCague released his début album, Bits’n’Pieces, in 2011 aged only 21. He is from a musical family in Scotstown, Co. Monaghan. His music teachers have included Laura Beagon, Deirdre and Michael Rooney, Pat McCabe, Edel Connolly and Phelim Ó Raghallaigh. In 2005, at the age of 15, he played at the Frankie Gavin International Fiddle Festival in Galway 2005 and in the National Concert Hall Dublin on St Patrick’s Day 2006. He was part of an All-Ireland winning Scór na nÓg instrumental group for Scotstown in 2006. He has recorded for the TV programmes Geantraí on TG4 and the RTÉ Fleadh Programme, as well for national and local radio. He has toured Europe with the Irish dance troupes Ragús and Celtic Legends. He was runner up in both the Fiddler of Dooney competition at Sligo Live and in Fiddler of Oriel, Monaghan. McCague cites his main influences as Tommy Peoples, Séamus Quinn, Brian Rooney, Cathal Hayden, Seán Keane and Frankie Gavin.

Previous winners in this category are:
1998 – June Nic Cormaic, Co. Sligo
1999 – Aogán Ó Loingsigh, Cork
2000 – Méabh O’Hare, Belfast
2001 – Conor McKeon, Dublin
2002 – Liam O’Connor, Dublin
2003 – Ciarán Ó Maonaigh, Donegal
2004 – Edel Fox, Co. Clare
2005 – Seán McKeon, Dublin
2006 – Michelle Mulcahy, Co. Limerick
2007 – Fiachna Ó Mongáin, Co. Mayo
2008 – Martin Tourish, Co. Donegal
2009 – Conor McEvoy, Co. Meath
2010 – Aidan O’Donnell, Co. Donegal
2011 – Pádraic Keane, Co. Galway
2012 – Caoimhín Ó Fearghail, Co. Waterford

Michael Tubridy: Gradam Saoil / Lifetime Achievement Award

Dancer, flute-player and teacher, member of Ceoltóirí Chualann, founding member of The Chieftains, author of the first tutor book for traditional step-dancing, and all-round gentleman, Michael Tubridy was born in Kilrush in Co. Clare into a musical household. After secondary school, he studied civil engineering in UCD and settled in Dublin. From the mid-1950s, he frequented the Pipers’ Club and John Egan’s Club in Church Street. He played with several small groups including a quartet with Paddy Moloney, Anne Walsh and Jack Dervan. In the 1960s he played flute with the Castle Céilí Band, and became a member of Seán Ó Riada’s Ceoltóirí Chualann again with Moloney, as well as with Seán Potts and Martin Fay. In 1962 he was involved in forming The Chieftains and remained a member of the group until 1979 when he left to work full-time as a structural engineer. On his solo album, The Eagle’s Whistle, he plays flute, concertina, bombarde and bodhrán. He wrote the first tutor book for traditional step-dancing, A Selection of Irish Traditional Step Dances, published in 1998, which contains his own method of graphically notating step dance. In 1973 he received the President’s Award from the Association of Consulting Engineers of Ireland for his work on the structural design of the Dublin Airport Passenger Terminal Building. In 2000 he received the Millennium Prize from the Institution of Engineers of Ireland for his work on the restoration of the Great Telescope at Birr Castle.

Previous winners in this category are:
2001 – Paddy Canny, Co. Clare
2002 – Peter Horan, Co. Sligo
2003 – Johnny O’Leary, Co. Kerry
2004 – Tony MacMahon, Co. Clare
2005 – Peadar Ó Lochlainn, Co. Clare
2006 – Sarah & Rita Keane, Co. Galway
2007 – Paddy Cronin, Co. Kerry
2008 – Joe & Siobhán O’Donovan, Co. Cork
2009 – Roger Sherlock, Co. Mayo
2010 – Seán Potts, Dublin
2011 – Ben Lennon, Co. Leitrim
2012 – Danny Meehan, Co. Donegal

Tommy Peoples: Cumadóir / Composer 

In April last year, while touring with Laoise Kelly and Breanndán Ó Beaglaoich, Tommy Peoples became only the second traditional musician to be elected to Aosdána, the announcement for which acknowledged not just his musicianship but his compositions as well. His reaction was: ‘I really think that traditional music should have been recognised maybe before I should be. There’s plenty of people that could take that role.’ Peoples was born near St Johnston in East Donegal and had his first fiddle lesson from his cousin Joe Cassidy who had been taught by their grandfather Jimmy Peoples. He moved to Dublin in 1965 and played with groups such as The Green Linnet (with Mary Bergin), 1691 (with Matt Molloy, Peter Brown, Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill and Liam Weldon) and the Bothy Band. He lived in County Clare for over 30 years and began composing tunes very early on, many of which have entered the repertoire and been recorded extensively. His discography includes The Bothy Band (1975), The High Part of the Road (1976, with Paul Brady), Matt Molloy, Paul Brady, Tommy Peoples (1977) The Quiet Glen (1998), and Waiting for A Call (2003). He was the first ever recipient of Gradam Ceoil TG4, in 1998. He is in the process of putting together his collected compositions.

Previous winners in this category are:
2001 – Paddy Fahy, Co. Galway
2002 – Brendan Tonra, Co. Mayo
2003 – Vincent Broderick, Co. Galway
2004 – Richie Dwyer, Co. Cork
2005 – Josephine Keegan, Co. Armagh
2006 – Charlie Lennon, Co. Leitrim
2007 – Jim McGrath, Co. Fermanagh
2008 – Peadar Ó Riada, Dublin
2009 – Con Fada Ó Drisceoil, Co. Cork
2010 – John & Finbarr Dwyer, Co. Cork
2011 – Liz Carroll, Chicago
2012 – Paddy O’Brien, Co. Offaly

Séamus Ó Beaglaoich: Amhránaí / Singer

Currently touring extensively with Oisín Mac Diarmada and Téada, and having recorded an album with the former last year, Séamus Begley recently told The Journal of Music: ‘the craic we were having on those [Irish Christmas in America] tours was just so good. I just love entertaining people, telling lies and winding people up. I laugh when the young fellas call it work. If they were out with me milking cows or de-horning sheep they wouldn’t.’ Begley is from the famous musical family from Baile na bPoc near Baile na nGall on the Dingle peninsula. By the age of fourteen he was playing accordion at local dances. In 1972 he recorded his first album, An Ciarraíoch Mallaithe, with his sister Máire. They made a second album, Planxtaí Bhaile na bPoc, for Gael Linn in 1989 that featured the playing of Steve Cooney. Touring far and wide in the years afterwards, Cooney and Begley eventually recorded Meitheal together in 1996. Begley’s album with guitarist Jim Murray, Ragairn, was voted 2001 Traditional Album of the Year in both Hot Press and the Irish Times. Murray and Begley recorded a second album in 2009 entitled Éirí Go Lá. He recorded Disgrace Notes with Tim Edey and his singing can also be heard on the recent Béal Tuinne in the company of other West Kerry singers.

Previous winners in this category are:
2001 – Ciarán Ó Gealbháin, Co. Waterford
2002 – Len Graham, Co. Antrim
2003 – Frank Harte, Dublin
2004 – Rosie Stewart, Co. Fermanagh
2005 – Maighread Ní Dhomhnaill, Co. Donegal
2006 – Seán Garvey, Co. Kerry
2007 – Dara Bán Mac Donnchadha, Galway
2008 – Iarla Ó Lionáird, Co. Cork
2009 – Sarah Ann O’Neill, Co. Tyrone
2010 – Cathal McConnell, Co. Fermanagh
2011 – Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, Co. Kerry
2012 – Nell Ní Chróinín, Co. Cork

Na Píobairí Uilleann: Gradam Aitheantais / Special Recognition Award

Na Píobairí Uilleann (NPU) was founded in 1968 with the aim of protecting an art form in decline. Its core objectives remain the promotion of the playing and manufacture of the uilleann pipes, and the promotion of Irish traditional music in general. The range of services provided by NPU to a worldwide membership of several thousand pipers includes public performances, music tuition, training in the art of pipe making, publications, an instrument loan scheme, an online digital archive, and a library, museum and extensive research material. NPU maintains a significant online presence. Source, a web-based piping and traditional music resource, makes training, tutorial and archive materials available to lovers of Irish music throughout the world. NPU is currently partnering with Music Generation and Dublin City Council to provide an extensive out-reach tuition programme. With demand for pipes considerably exceeding supply, a dedicated Training Centre – Pipecraft – was established by NPU in 2010 to deliver a range of part and full-time training in the highly skilled craft of uilleann-pipe making. Their restored Georgian building at 15 Henrietta Street in Dublin’s north city centre facilitates activities in all areas of traditional music, song and dance. As part of the Henrietta Street Conservation Plan, NPU intends to reinstate the adjoining 16 Henrietta Street in order to provide a visitors centre, museum, mews theatre and research facility. Na Píobairí Uilleann’s primary funding agencies include the Arts Council/An Comhairle Ealaíon, The Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht, and Dublin City Council. In its 44 year history, NPU has worked on, and successfully delivered projects with many organisations including the Arts Council, Dublin City Council, Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht, Temple Bar Cultural Trust, Crafts Council of Ireland, FÁS, Culture Ireland, Music Network, ChildVision, Leader, Pavee Point, Music Generation, Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy, Ballybunion Chanters Festival, Séamus Ennis Cultural Centre and the Irish Traditional Music Archive among others.

Previous winners in this category are:
2006 – Proinsias Ó Conluain, Co. Tyrone
2007 – Ciarán Mac Mathúna, Limerick
2008 – Harry Bradshaw, Co. Wicklow
2009 – Reg Hall, Kent, England
2010 – Muiris Ó Rócháin, Co. Kerry
2011 – Micheál Ó Súilleabháin, Co. Tipperary
2012 – Eithne and Brian Vallely, Co. Armagh

Published on 15 February 2013

Sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to receive our latest news, UK newsreviews, articles, jobs and events.

To add a listing see here. For advertising visit this link.