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2018 Awards

Musician of the Year Award

Frankie Gavin was born in 1956 in Corrandulla, Co Galway and he stands out as one of the most distinctive and innovative figures in traditional music since the 1970s.

Frankie Gavin

Citation

Since the 1970s, this Galway man has been at the forefront of Irish music. He has recorded numerous albums that are considered classics and has inspired uncountable numbers of musicians by his performances. He is regarded as one of Ireland’s leading fiddlers and equally as skilled on flute and whistle.

Coming from a musical family, he began to play music from an early age and was strongly influenced by the early 78 recordings of the early century.

In 1973, he became one of the founding members of the highly influential group Dé Danann with whom he spent decades touring and entertaining audiences worldwide. Over the years, he has developed his own unique style that is playful, exciting, uplifting, majestic and technically brilliant with unmistakable tone.

He has recorded  and broadcast extensively  with De Danann as well as stunning solo albums and has performed and recorded with leading artists such as Stephane Grappelli and The Rolling Stones, an indication of the high regard in which he is held as a musician within and beyond the tradition.

One of his more recent recordings is a tribute to one of his early inspirations, the great Paddy Killoran. He continues to be influenced by these great musicians of the past and to commemorate and revitalise that tradition.

He is still playing, touring and inspiring others all over the world. He is indisputably one of the most influential Irish musicians of all time.

This year’s Gradam Ceoil goes to Frankie Gavin.

 

Biog

Frankie Gavin was born in 1956 in Corrandulla, Co Galway and he stands out as one of the most distinctive and innovative figures in traditional music since the 1970s.

Frankie grew up in a household full of music, and the soundtrack of his early years featured the 78 rpm recordings of the Irish and Irish-American musicians such as Paddy Killoran, James Morrison, Dan Sullivan’s Shamrock Band and the Flanagan Brothers.

He has made a significant impact on the shape and sound of traditional music, particularly through his work as a soloist on fiddle, flute and whistle. His other major contribution to traditional music is through his work with De Dannan which he founded in 1973 and with whom he has brought traditional music and song to audiences the world over.

Frankie’s approach to music manages to remain fresh and contemporary while capturing the energy and humour of the bands and entertainers of Irish-America in the early 20th century. His musical collaborations and arrangements have stretched and challenged the boundaries of traditional music, and opened up new avenues for other to follow.  The list of artists he has worked with, in addition to the stellar performers in De Dannan, is impressive: Charlie Lennon, Máirtín O’Connor, Paul Brock, Jackie Daly, Stéphane Grappelli, The Rolling Stones and he has explored genres as diverse as Balkan and Klezmer music alongside music-hall and vaudeville.

Always curious and receptive to different angles on music, Frankie’s willingness to experiment with new repertoire and arrangements has produced a body of work that includes interpretations and reworkings of Handel’s The Return of the Queen of Sheba, and Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. His 1977 album with Alec Finn, Traditional Music of Ireland, is widely considered a classic and influential album that remains a reference point for both fiddle players and accompanists. Over the years, he has developed his own unique style that is playful, exciting, uplifting, majestic and technically brilliant with an unmistakable tone.

Frankie’s recorded output includes five solo albums Up and Away (1995), Frankie Gavin (1997), Frankie Goes to Town (1999), Shamrocks & Holly: An Irish Christmas Celebration (1999) and Fierce Traditional (2001).

His work with De Dannan spans over thirty years and includes the seminal 1975 De Danann and the classic Mist Covered Mountain (1980), as well as the ground-breaking albums Star-Spangled Molly (1981) and Hibernian Rhapsody (1995) and the 2012 album Jigs, Reels and Rock n’Roll.

 

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