The winners of TG4’s annual Irish traditional music awards, Gradam Cheoil, were announced yesterday at a media reception in Carrick-on-Shannon. This year’s winner of the Gradam Ceoil is Leitrim fiddler Brian Rooney. A native of Kiltyclogher in North-Leitrim, Brian emigrated to London in 1968 and has been at the centre of the traditional scene there since. His most recent CD is At Complete Ease, a duet fiddle recording with John Carty, TG4 Musician of the Year 2003.
Young Musician of the Year this year is piper Caoimhín Ó Fearghail from An Rinn in the West Waterford Gaeltacht. Learning pipes from David Power and Jimmy O’Brien-Moran, he won three All-Ireland titles under the age of twelve, and has also won awards as a soloist on other instruments. He is currently studying for an MA in Irish at UCC.
Composer of the year is Paddy O’Brien, accordion player from Daingean, Co. Offaly, who has been living in Minneapolis since 1983 and performing and teaching all over the United States. A respected scholar, he has composed over 50 tunes, released a tune collection of over 500 tunes and currently plays in the group Chulrua.
Nell Ní Chróinín, winner of the singer of the year award, is a young sean-nos singer from Béal Átha an Ghaorthaidh in the Múscraí Gaeltacht of northwest Cork. She has made a number of recordings, guesting on the 2010 compilation Rogha Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy (singing Cath Chéim an Fhia); and on Raw Bar Collective 2011 (singing two songs – Cá Rabhais ar Feadh an Lae Uaim? and Na Táilliúirí) and recently toured with the Raw Bar Collective (Cónal Ó Gráda, Dave Sheridan and Benny McCarthy), on a Music Network tour with Mick O’Brien and Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh and with Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann in 2008.
Brian and Eithne Vallely have been honoured with the TG4 Musicians’ Award. They set up the Armagh Pipers club in 1966, which has since taught Irish traditional music to thousands of young people, all through the period of the Troubles.
Fiddler Danny Meehan wins the TG4 Lifetime Achievement Award. A native of Donegal, he left for England in 1916. He played with the group Le Chéile, and released Navvy on the Shore, his first solo CD in 2000. Last year, with the support of Cairdeas na bhFidléirí, he issued a double CD entitled Drimalost and Beyond. He returned to Donegal in 2007.
List of Winners
Gradam Ceoil – Brian Rooney
Ceoltóir Óg (Young Musician) – Caoimhín Ó Fearghail
Gradam Saoil (Hall of Fame) – Danny Meehan
Cumadóir (Composer) – Paddy O’Brien
Amhránaí (Singer) – Nell Ní Chróinín
Gradam Aitheantais (Musicians Award) – Eithne & Brian Vallely