Gradam Ceoil TG4
Maurice Lennon – Composer of the Year
Fiddle player and composer Maurice Lennon was born in 1958 to the Lennon family of traditional musicians in Co. Leitrim. His father was the well-known fiddle player and teacher Ben Lennon – who received the Gradam Ceoil Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011 – and his uncle, Charlie Lennon is a renowned composer, pianist and fiddle player who also received the composer award in 2006.
Lennon began playing traditional music at age 13. At age 17 he won the Senior Fiddle Championship at the All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil in 1977. In the same year, he founded the folk-rock band Stockton’s Wing with flute and whistle player Paul Roche, banjo and mandolin player Kieran Hanrahan, guitarist and singer Tony Callinan and bodhrán player Tommy Hayes. The band grew international success in the 1980’s and 1990’s and released many albums including Stockton’s Wing (1978), Take a Chance (1980), and Full Flight (1986).
After leaving the band, Lennon’s solo career has seen him collaborate with singers Seán Keane, Ronnie Drew, Finbar Furey and Johnny McEvoy, as well as performing a central role in the music of Irish dance production Ragús. His most famous composition ‘If Ever You Were Mine’ was recorded by Cherish the Ladies and featured on their 1992 album The Back Door, and also by Canadian fiddle player Natalie MacMaster. Other artists to record his compositions include The Kilfenora Céilí Band, Blazin’ Fiddles, Noel Hill, Brian Rooney, Karen Tweed, Pride of New York, Liam O’Brien, Jerry O’Sullivan, Cathy Vard and Liam Lawton, The London Lasses and many more.
Lennon has released a number of acclaimed albums as a solo artist, including Brian Boru – High King Of Tara (2001) and his solo fiddle album The Little Ones (2013), which included compositions ‘The Road to Garrison’ and ‘The Belltable Waltz’.