Gradam Ceoil TG4
Pic: Paddy Glackin
TG4 Gradam Ceoil 2022 Awards ceremony will take place in Dublin for the first time in the awards history. This is the 25th year of the awards ceremony and it will air live on TG4 on Easter Sunday 17th April at 9.30pm from the National Concert Hall. The annual Gradam Ceoil Awards, also known as ‘the Oscars of traditional music’, pay homage to musicians who have advanced, strengthened, and preserved traditional music in Ireland
Musician 2022 will be awarded to Paddy Glackin. For almost half a century, Paddy has made, and continues to make, a significant contribution to traditional music in Ireland. Amongst leading influences were his father and subsequently, John Doherty, Tommie Potts and Padraig O’Keeffe. Paddy has always been eager to engage with new approaches – his seminal 1980 recording with Jolyon Jackson set a benchmark in opening cross-fertilisation within traditional music and his work with the avant-garde American composer John Cage has been universally acknowledged. The founding fiddle player with The Bothy Band, included amongst many others he has toured and recorded with are Mícheál Ó Domhnaill, Liam O’Flynn, Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin & Robbie Hannan. Fiddle player, consummate performer, seasoned broadcaster, teacher, recording artist, archivist, collaborator – a true keeper of the flame.
From Cúil Aodha in Cork Diarmuid Ó Meachair is this year’s recipient of the Young Musician 2022 award. Having started on the tin whistle and growing up singing with the Cór Cúil Aodha, Diarmuid was always immersed in the Irish traditional music world. His music not only comes from the area but very much from the blood.
Drawing from musicians such as Finbarr Dwyer, Jackie Daly, Johnny Connolly and mixing that with techniques from John Kimmell and many Quebec musicians, Diarmuid is one of the most exciting accordion/ melodeon players of his generation.
This year’s Lifetime Achievement 2022 goes to Dolores Keane. She has one of the most distinctive, soulful, and sweet voices of our generation. As a young girl, she was influenced by the singing of her aunts Sarah and Rita. She began her professional singing career with Dé Dannan in 1975 where her unique, soulful, and emotive voice was heard across the globe. Her work with John Faulkner brought new arrangements to the tradition that was to continue through the 1980’s and early 1990’s. Her recordings with The Reel Union Band, ‘Solid Ground and ‘Lion in a Cage’ were ground-breaking. She has collaborated with Emmylou Harris, The Chieftains, Paul Brady in song from the Irish tradition and other traditions.
Connie O’Connell will be awarded Composer 2022. Connie is a fiddle player and composer from Cill na Martra, in the Múscraí Gaeltacht of West Cork. Connie’s music has been influenced by the renowned fiddle players of the nearby Sliabh Luachra area such as Denis Murphy, Pádraig O’Keeffe, and Julia Clifford. In 2014 a collection of 69 of his compositions was released as two CDs (recorded by Connie and his daughter, Áine), along with a book of the tunes. UCC – where Connie has taught fiddle since the 1980s – has made this Bóithrín na Smaointe project available as a free, online learning resource.
Conamara sean-nós singer Sarah Ghriallais is this year’s Singer 2022. Sarah grew up in Muicineach in the Conamara Gaeltacht steeped in the tradition of sean-nós. She won Corn Uí Riada at Oireachtas na Gaeilge in 1984, an award won eight times since by various members of the Griallais family; her sisters Nan and Nora and more recently, her son, Michael Frank Ó Confhaola and her niece Celia Ní Fhátharta. Sarah was appointed singer in residence at NUIG in 2017. Her songs have been recorded by Cló Iar–Chonnacht and most recently ‘Idir Dhá Sháile 2’ by Gael Linn. The most noted songs of her repertoire are ‘Táilliúr a’Mhagadh’, ‘Eileanóir na Rún’, ‘Póg Bhideog’ and ‘Amhrán Chamuis’.
Edwina Guckian from Drumsna in Co. Leitrim receives the Outstanding Contribution Award 2022 Edwina was steeped in the music of Leitrim and Roscommon as a young child. She is a dancer, dance teacher, choreographer, artistic director, and cultural activist who since the age of 16 has innovated and moulded various projects and gatherings all of which explore the relationship between music and movement.
Through The Airc Damhsa Culture Club, The Leitrim Dance Project, The Modern-Day Mummers and her most recent projects, Sowing the Seed and Jenny put the Kettle on, she has engaged thousands of children and adults in dance, all in a fun, non-competitive environment. She works tirelessly to promote the cultural treasures of her native Leitrim through her work with most cultural and artistic organisations in Ireland today. She has performed with the biggest musical acts in Ireland today and is without doubt, one of Ireland’s leading solo dancers.
A new award introduced this year, the Music Group 2022 goes to Skara Brae. Skara Brae’s emergence in the early 1970’s rejuvenated an interest in Irish traditional singing at a time when it was in danger of dying out. They produced a unique, ground-breaking sound which challenged the traditional view of sean-nós singing but remains fresh and innovative to this day. Skara Brae are sisters and brother Tríona, Maighread and Mícheal Ó Domhnaill (1951-2006) and Daithí Sproule. Skara Brae’s distinctive sound is rooted in the tradition whilst also taking inspiration from emerging pop and folk acts of the 1960’s such as The Beatles, Bob Dylan, and Joan Baez. A new, young emerging audience were grabbed by Skara Brae’s raw, edgy, fresh sound and their 1971 album continues to inspire generations of traditional Irish singers and musicians to this day.
The full list of TG4 Gradam Ceoil 2022 recipients reads as follows:
- Ceoltóir / Musician – Paddy Glackin
- Amhránaí / Singer – Sarah Ghriallais
- Ceoltóir Óg/ Young Musician – Diarmuid Ó Meachair
- Gradam Saoil/ Lifetime Achievement – Dolores Keane
- Cumadóir / Composer – Connie O’Connell
- Grúpa Ceoil / Music Group- Skara Brae
- Gradam Comaoine / Outstanding Contribution – Edwina Guckian
Gradam Ceoil TG4 is the premier annual traditional music awards scheme and academy. An independent panel of adjudicators selects recipients each year. It is not a competition. The Gradam Ceoil recipients are presented with a specially commissioned piece by leading sculptor John Coll as well as a small stipend.
This year’s awards will be presented at the Gradam Ceoil TG4 Concert in the National Concert Hall, Dublin on Easter Sunday 17th April. At this live televised concert, hosted by Doireann Ní Ghlacáin & Páidí Ó Lionáird, the 2022 Gradam recipients will be joined in performance on stage by their own special musical guests in a unique, star-studded line-up of musicians and award-presenters. Tickets available at www.NCH.ie
TG4 Commissioning Editor, Proinsias Ní Ghráinne, says, “I am delighted that TG4 can keep celebrating the very best of traditional music and song each year. We are honoured to witness such an array of spectacular performances on the Gradam stage and on the many stages and locations of our traditional music programming throughout the year.
Gradam comes to Dublin for the first time to celebrate a milestone of 25 years. Comhghairdeas le na faighteoirí uilig. Is sibh croí agus anam na tíre seo.”