Special Contribution Award
This multi-talented woman is a singer, researcher, poet and composer. She is an authority on the music and song traditions of the Oriel area of Ireland. Her many and wide ranging contributions include 9 recordings of traditional song, children’s song, lullabies and her own acclaimed compositions.
Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin
This multi-talented woman is a singer, researcher, poet and composer. She is an authority on the music and song traditions of the Oriel area of Ireland.
Her many and wide ranging contributions include 9 recordings of traditional song, children’s song, lullabies and her own acclaimed compositions.
Her doctoral research book on the Oriel tradition, A Hidden Ulster, forms an important part of traditional music scholarship. Her most recent treasure, launched this year, is an extension of this work, an online resource documenting the rich heritage of this area, its people, songs, collections and harping tradition.
She is also an accomplished broadcaster, a singer in residence at Queen’s University, received major awards from the Arts Councils, North and South and from the Royal Literary Fund.
She is also a passionate advocate for equality and respect in the traditional music community and beyond.
Her many endeavours continues to ensure the preservation and dissemination of our tradition, and her enthusiasm and approach inspire others to attempt a fraction of what she has achieved.
The 2018 Gradam Comaoine goes to Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin.
Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin, singer, researcher, poet and composer, was born in 1950 in Co Louth and her early years were spent in Louth, Mayo and Donegal. Raised in an Irish-speaking household, her early years were steeped in traditional culture, music and song.
She now lives near Mullaghbawn in South Armagh with her husband Len Graham and family.. Pádraigín’s career has included periods as a school teacher and a presenter and broadcaster, and since the 1990’s she has been particularly associated with traditional music, becoming a professional full-time singer, writer and researcher in 1999. She had researched and presented the RTÉ series Reels of Memory in 1979-81.
Pádraigín’s work as a singer, collector, researcher and advocate for song has been recognised by her peers in the singing community through the 2003 award Gradam Shean-Nós Cois Life in recognition of her contribution to the song tradition.
Both Arts Councils in Ireland have supported her work with major arts awards and bursaries. Pádraigín holds a Ph.D from the University of Ulster (2008) and her rigorous approach to research and education is reflected in her work as Traditional Musician in Residence for eight years in the Seamus Heaney Centre of Poetry in Queens University Belfast, and in residencies in Dundalk Institute of Technology and The Glens Arts Centre in Manorhamilton, County Leitrim. She is also the first recipient of an Irish language fellowship from the Royal Literary Fund based at St Mary’s University College Belfast and Queen’s University Belfast.
As a singer, she has broadcast and performed widely throughout Ireland and internationally and has an impressive catalogue of recordings and publication including the landmark publication A Hidden Ulster – people, songs and traditions of Oriel (Four Courts Press, 2003) and she currently spearheading a revival of interest in the Oriel tradition through the Oriel Arts Project (www.orielarts.com). Pádraigín has recorded nine albums since 1994 that present traditional song, children’s song, lullabies and her own acclaimed compositions.
Her albums include A Stór ‘is a Stóirín (1994), When I Was Young (1995), An Dealg Óir (2002), Songs of the Scribe (2011) and Let the Fairies In (2012).