'An acknowledgement of Steve's profound and enduring commitment to his art': Steve Cooney Celebrated at RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Awards
Musician Steve Cooney received three awards in addition to the Live Achievement Award at the RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Awards which were broadcast yesterday evening (26 November).
The guitarist and producer was awarded Best Folk Instrumentalist, Best Folk Album for Ceol Ársa Cláirsí: Tunes of the Irish Harpers for Solo Guitar, and Best Traditional Folk Track for ‘Eleanor Plunkett’ from the same album. The Lifetime Achievement Award had been announced earlier this month.
Commenting on Cooney’s work, President Michael D. Higgins said:
This Lifetime Achievement Award is an acknowledgement of Steve’s profound and enduring commitment to his art, and the glories he has produced for all our souls’ enrichment. Steve’s is a towering musical intelligence of which we are the beneficiaries and to which we owe a great debt.
The Australia-born musician moved to Ireland in 1980 and has had a significant influence on traditional music guitar playing. He has performed on over two hundred and fifty albums including Meitheal with Séamus Begley, Under the Moon with Martin Hayes, Scaoil Amach an Pocaide: Live in Spiddal with Tony MacMahon, and on recordings with harper Laoise Kelly.
The awards – broadcast from RTÉ studios in the absence of the usual live event because of the pandemic – were presented by Ruth Smith and John Creedon. Radie Peat won the Best Folk Singer award for the second time in three years, and Lankum won the Best Folk Group award for the second time also. ‘Baby Talk’ by Mick Flannery and SON won Best Original Folk Track.
The Dublin singer Frank Harte, who died in 2005, was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Daoirí Farrell sang two songs associated with the singer, and Harte’s granddaughter Siobhán Quinn sang ‘Spanish Lady’.
Also performing during the broadcast were the group The Bonny Men, singers Éilís Kennedy, Dàibhidh Stiùbhard and Niamh Regan, concertina player Caroline Keane, and Cooney’s band the Éiníní.
Among the guests presenting the awards were writer Colm Tóibín, singer Norma Waterson, actor Brendan Gleeson, fiddle-player Liz Carroll, singer Iarla Ó Lionáird, Spider Stacey from the Pogues, and Minister for the Arts Catherine Martin.
A panel of 40 judges from Irish folk and traditional music submitted nominations for the awards. A shortlist was then produced by the steering committee and the 40 judges voted again for the winners. The recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Hall of Fame Award were chosen by the steering committee, which is chaired by Nuala O’Connor.
See the full list of nominees below with winners in bold.
To listen back to the awards, visit www.rte.ie/culture/2020/1125/1180397-rte-radio-1-folk-awards-winners-announced/
Best Folk Instrumentalist
Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh
Best Folk Singer
Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh
Best Folk Album
Ceol Ársa Cláirsí: Tunes of the Irish Harpers for Solo Guitar – Steve Cooney
Hemet – Níamh Regan
So Ends This Day – Eilís Kennedy
The Livelong Day – Lankum
Best Folk Group
The Bonny Men
The Lost Brothers
Best Original Track of the Year
Baby Talk – Mick Flannery & SON
Dynamite – Saint Sister
Flow in the Year of Wu Wei – Brian Finnegan
The Beauty of Everyday Things - Luka Bloom
The Young People – Lankum
Best Traditional Track of the Year
Eleanor Plunkett – Steve Cooney
O’Neill’s March – Martin Hayes & Brooklyn Ryder
Port na bPúcaí – Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh
Tabhair Dom do Lámh – Steve Cooney
The Broken Pledge – The Bonny Men
The Pride of Petravore – Lankum
The Old Maids of Galway – Liam Flanagan & Claire O’Loughlin
The Wild Rover – Lankum
Lifetime Achievement Award
Hall of Fame Award