Angelina Carberry Announced as TG4 Gradam Ceoil Musician of the Year

Angelina Carberry (Photo: Kelvin Boyes, Press Eye)

Angelina Carberry Announced as TG4 Gradam Ceoil Musician of the Year

Steve Cooney, Seán Ó Sé, Sorcha Costello, Niall Hanna and the Glengormley School of Traditional Music also among recipients.

TG4 has announced the recipients of the 2021 Gradam Ceoil traditional music awards. The annual awards, now in their twenty-fourth year, celebrate musicians who have advanced, strengthened and preserved traditional music in Ireland.

Banjo-player Angelina Carberry has been announced as Ceoltóir na Bliana/Musician of the Year. Carberry was born in Manchester but has lived in Longford, where her family are from, since the 1990s. She is widely respected as a musician and has performed extensively in Ireland and abroad. In 1998, she released Memories from the Holla with her father Peter Carberry and guitarist John Blake. This was followed by a duet recording with Martin Quinn in 2003, and her debut solo album An Traidisiún Beo in 2008. Her second solo recording, Pluckin’ Mad, was released in 2014, followed by a duet recording with accordion-player Dan Brouder, A Waltz for Joy, in 2017. Most recently, she was the subject of a tribute as part of the Trad Ireland 20/20 Visionaries series. Carberry was also a member of the all-female group The Bumblebees.

Fiddle-player Sorcha Costello, from Tulla, Co. Clare, will be awarded Ceoltóir Óg/Young Musician of the Year. Costello has won various All-Ireland Fleadh competitions in solo, duet and band categories and has a degree in Music and English from UCC and an MA in Music Therapy from the University of Limerick. She is a member of the band Provenance with Frankie Gavin, Éadaoin Ní Mhaicín and Ciara O’Brien. In 2016, she released The Lady’s Cup of Tea with her mother, concertina player Mary MacNamara.

Guitarist Steve Cooney, who was awarded four awards at the RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Awards last November, will be awarded Cumadóir na Bliana/Composer of the Year. Among the tunes he has written are ‘Capaillín Dubh na Thaibhreamh’, recorded by Zoë Conway and John McIntyre, ‘Blue Fiddle’, recorded by Seán Smyth, and ‘Skidoo’, recorded by Stockton’s Wing and Sharon Shannon. He also wrote the song ‘Bless the Road’, recorded by Mary Black.

Singer Seán Ó Sé, who is renowned for his work with Seán Ó Riada in the 1960s, will receive the Gradam Saoil/Lifetime Achievement award. From Bantry in County Cork, he studied singing with John T. Horne at the Cork School of Music. Ó Sé featured on a number of Ó Riada recordings including Ó Riada sa Gaiety. He has since recorded with Dónal Lunny and Peadar Ó Riada and toured internationally.

Niall Hanna from Derrytresk in County Tyrone will be awarded Amhránaí na Bliana/Singer of the Year. A former recipient of the Young Musicians’ Platform Award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Hanna is a founding member of the band Reeling It In and released his debut album Autumn Winds in 2017, which received two nominations at the RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Awards.

The Glengormley School of Traditional Music in Newtownabbey will receive the Gradam Comaoine/Outstanding Contribution award. Based in North Belfast, the cross-community school has provided tuition in traditional music for nineteen years and has approximately 200 pupils each term. 

Commenting on this year’s awards, Alan Esslemont, TG4 Director General, said:

Gradam Ceoil TG4 is celebrating its 24th year this Halloween night which coincides with TG4’s 25th birthday. The awards pay homage to those who have done so much to advance and strengthen traditional music in Ireland and around the world. This year, we dedicate the awards ceremony to Mary McPartlan whom we remember fondly. Mary initiated the Gradam Ceoil awards 24 years ago. I would like to congratulate all of this year’s winners. We are delighted to award them the highest honour in Irish music.  

The year’s awards will be presented at Whitla Hall in Queen’s University Belfast and broadcast on TG4 on 31 October at 9:30pm.

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Published on 8 September 2021

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