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2018 Awards

Young Musician of the Year

Clare Friel was born in 1993 in Glasgow, into a family that has deep connections with the Rosses area in the northwest Donegal Gaeltacht and with Kerrykeel on the Fanad peninsula. Growing up in a household steeped in Irish music and culture, Clare was immersed in the traditional songs and tunes of her homeplace and, with her sisters Anna and Síle, has been playing and performing from an early age.

Clare Friel

Citation

This talented young woman has emerged as one of the most exciting young traditional musicians on the scene today.

In her fiddle playing and singing we hear many of the creative influences that have shaped her approach to traditional music, particularly her family background that epitomises the shared identity and heritage between Donegal and Scotland.

She has a powerful, energetic and commanding young voice on fiddle that draws on contemporary repertoire and styles, but is strongly accented and deeply rooted in that rich seam of music, song and shared culture.

Her repertoire of songs reflects the migration and the cultural traffic between Donegal and Scotland that has made such an imprint on traditional music here in Ireland.

She performs regularly with her sisters Anna and Síle and she is also building a reputation as a solo performer and teacher.

Always in demand in sessions, she brings an infectious joy and delight to any gathering of musicians and listeners.

TG4 is delighted to announce that the Gradam Ceoltóir Óg na Bliana/Young Musician of the Year goes to Clare Friel.

 

Biog

Clare Friel was born in 1993 in Glasgow, into a family that has deep connections with the Rosses area in the northwest Donegal Gaeltacht and with Kerrykeel on the Fanad peninsula. Growing up in a household steeped in Irish music and culture, Clare was immersed in the traditional songs and tunes of her homeplace and, with her sisters Anna and Síle, has been playing and performing from an early age.

Clare’s repertoire covers music and songs here are associated with the Rosses, including material she got from her grandmother Nellie and mother Sheila, and from neighbours like Connie Mhary Mhicí Ó Gallchóir of Rann na Feirste, as well as from listening to great singers like Dolores Keane and the wonderful Cathal McConnell from Balinaleck, Co Fermanagh. Her fiddle playing shows influences and nuances from master Donegal fiddlers such as Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, Tommy Peoples, Danny Meehan and Néillidh Boyle.

One of the striking aspects of Clare’s music is how she absorbs and integrates these diverse influences into her own distinctive style.  Writing about the music that Clare plays, Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh says  “Briseann an dúchas fríd súile and chait…an old Irish  proverb which literally states that nature breaks through the cat’s eyes, meaning that what is innate and natural comes out anyway – you cannot hold it back.

Clare has emerged as one of the most exciting young traditional musicians on the scene today, and in her fiddle playing and singing we hear many of the creative influences that have shaped her approach to traditional music.  Her family background epitomises the shared identity and heritage between Donegal and Scotland, and her ancestral homeland in the Rosses has always had strong cultural and social connections with Glasgow.

Clare’s repertoire of songs reflects this history of migration and the cultural traffic that has made such an imprint on traditional music here in Ireland.  In her fiddle playing, we hear a powerful, energetic and commanding young voice that draws on contemporary repertoire and styles, but is strongly accented and deeply rooted in that rich seam of music, song and shared culture between Donegal and Scotland.

Clare performs regularly with her sisters Anna and Síle and she is also building a reputation as a solo performer and teacher. Always in demand in sessions, Clare brings an infectious joy and delight to any gathering of musicians and listeners and inspires audiences and musicians at every turn.

Clare tours and performs with her sisters (www.frielmusic.com) and in 2013 they released their first album The Friel Sisters.

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