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Gradam Ceoil TG4

Na Moltóirí

Note from Neil Martin – Cathaoirleach Choiste Roghnúcháin Ghradam Ceoil TG4 2024

What a magnificent combination of Mary McPartlan’s vision and TG4’s realization of her dream that traditional music and dance has enjoyed since 1998. A highlight in the diary of the traditional music year, it hurtled out of the traps from the off, a whole tribe of musicians and lovers of music hungry and ready for it. It’s celebration, its acknowledgement, it’s excitement, it’s platform – and the reach is global, beamed around the world and watched by millions. But behind the razzmatazz, it enables something at another, almost intangible level. It gives a crucial and deeply significant boost to each winner, be Ceoltóir Óg or Gradam Saoil TG4. It fortifies the individual in the most personal way, and it emboldens the winners to continue on with what they believe in, what is at their very core – the expression and sharing of the soul. The song, the tune, the step – the performer lays bare the soul, and that takes superhuman levels of skill and bravery. And for that inner human, and betimes fragile inner human, to flourish, like any growing thing, it needs to be fed. That’s what the Gradam Ceoil TG4 do.

In an increasingly secular world where human spirit and thought are being at the very least overshadowed/threatened by AI, the genuine article should be even more lauded. Our music and song and dance tell the truth about us. And as we look into the future, that’s why we must even more cherish these Gradam awards. They encourage human interaction and nourish the very lifeblood of our identity. And that’s something to write home about.

Neil Martin

Belfast-born Neil Martin is a composer and musician who enjoys a most varied and rewarding career. Recent compositions include an opera – Nobody/Somebody (2023), a violin concerto – dall’ombra (2022), the RTS award-winning score for Lost Lives (2020), theatre scores and chamber music. Amongst other works are – Sweeney (2018), an orchestral song cycle; an octet, The Helping Hand (2017); this is an Irish dance (2015) a duet for dancer and cellist; a score for Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis (2017); the choral symphony OSSA (2007).

A cellist and an uilleann piper, Neil has collaborated with many leading artists, from Liam O’Flynn, Bryn Terfel, Seamus Heaney, Sam Shepard, Christy Moore, Stephen Rea, Josh Groban, Jean Butler and Barry Douglas to the LSO, RPO and all the principle orchestras in Ireland. He has scored music for plays on Broadway, in the West End and in Europe, and has contributed to more than a hundred albums. Performance venues range from Carnegie Hall to the Palazzo Vecchio and his ground-breaking work with the West Ocean String Quartet has been lauded globally, and beyond…their recordings have been played aboard the International Space Station.

Liam O’Brien

Liam, originally from Miltown Malbay, grew up in a very musical family. He began learning the tin whistle at the age of four from his mother Bríd and later progressed to the concertina. He studied concertina under Noel Hill and began teaching at the age of sixteen. Liam earned a BA in Irish Music & Dance from the University of Limerick and later won the TG4 Young Musician of the Year Award in 2017. Liam went on to complete a Master’s in Film Production & Direction and he is now based out of Galway working with Nuacht RTÉ & TG4. Liam teaches at festivals and colleges in Ireland and abroad, including Scoil Samhradh Willie Clancy and the Irish World Academy. Liam still conducts concertina workshops and performs globally in countries like Japan, USA, Tanzania, and all across Europe.

Liz Doherty

Dr. Liz Doherty is a fiddle player, educator, arts consultant and producer from Co. Donegal, Ireland.
She is the founder and director of I Teach Trad, offering training and professional development for teachers of traditional music. Her academic credentials include a PhD (Cape Breton fiddle music) and she has lectured in traditional music since 1994, at UCC and at Ulster University, Derry as well as in Canada, the US and Australia. Her teaching excellence was recognised with a National Teaching Fellowship from the Higher Education Academy in 2018. As well as a significant number of published books and papers, Liz has performed and recorded with Mícheál Ó Súillebháin and the RTÉ National Symphony and Concert Orchestras, Riverdance -The Show, and with bands the String Sisters, Bumblebees and Nomos; Fiddlesticks, the band she founded and directed while in UCC has recently reunited and performed at Celtic Connections, 2024. She has featured on over 20 recordings, including 2 solo releases. Liz’s work in production includes the award-winning Samhlú (TG4), and TG4’s Fleadh series (2020-). She has worked with the Arts Council (An Comhairle Ealaíon) where she introduced the Deis funding programme for traditional artists and has been a member of Culture Ireland’s Expert Advisory Committee (2018-2024).

Iarfhlaith Ó Domhnaill

Iarfhlaith is a fiddle player and documentary filmmaker from Kilcar, Co. Donegal. Iarfhlaith currently works as a Documentary Producer for South Wind Blows, producing documentary films for cinema/broadcast and music concerts and events at the Other Voices music festival in Dingle. Iarfhlaith previously worked for the Irish Traditional Music Archive (ITMA) as Finance Manager and Documentary Producer/Editor. He has since joined the ITMA Board as Treasurer. Iarfhlaith is set to release his debut album, The Devil’s Dream, with piano player Natalie Ní Chasaide in 2024.

Nell Ní Chroinín

Nell Ní Chróinín was born in reared in the Múscraí Gaeltacht of Béal Átha’n Ghaorthaidh. She comes from a musical family on all sides, from the Ó Riordáin agus the Muirthile families from Cúl Aodh and the Cróiníns from Béal Átha’n Ghaorthaidh.
When she was only 11 years old, she took part in the singing scheme ‘Aisling Gheal’. This is where she first encountered the singing of the great Máire Ní Cheilleachair, from who she got a magnificent collection of songs from her own area. Nell went on to gather more from local singers, Madhicí Ó Suilleabháin agus Éilis Ní Shúilleabháin. The result of the young singers collecting and singing won her the coveted Gradam Ceoil TG4, singer award in 2012 and Corn Ui Riada at Oireachtas na Gaeilge in 2014. She is presently the lead singer with the renowned group Danú. She tours across the globe with the group to great acclaim.

Ellie Byrne

Ellie Byrne spent 18 years of her career as the Press and Performing Arts Manager at the Irish World Academy at the University of Limerick, under the directorship of the late Professor Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin. In 2014 she left UL to establish her own PR and arts management venture, EB Promotions. Since its inception, her company has become a go-to for for musicians, dancers, solo artists and bands seeking press management services. Among the notable artists she has represented are Altan, Declan O’Rourke, Martin Hayes, Karan Casey, Kevin Burke, The Kilfenora Céili Band & Eiriú Dance Company. She’s based in Kilkee County Clare.