Steve Cooney to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award from RTÉ Folk Awards
The nominees and Lifetime Achievement Award for the 2020 RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Awards have been announced. The full award announcements will be made in a live broadcast on 26 November.
The guitarist Steve Cooney is the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award. The Australia-born musician has been based in Ireland since 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 Laoise Kelly. This year Cooney released an album of harp tunes, Ceol Ársa Cláirsí: Tunes of the Irish Harpers for Solo Guitar, and he will shortly release a new recording, Rhapsody and Rascality. In 2018, he received a PhD from NCAD for the development of a new musical notation system for early learners and those who experience difficulties with staff notation.
Cooney has also been nominated in the Best Folk Instrumentalist, Best Traditional Track of the Year and Best Folk Album categories.
Commenting on the announcement to the Irish Times, he said
My reaction was surprise, shock and elation… Because I came from Australia it’s even more of an honour. It’s the kind of thing, dare I say it, that you tend to get at the end of your career. But I intend to go on for another decade or so if I can. It put things in perspective for me, and makes me realise that what I have worked at has been appreciated by people – so I’m very grateful.
The folk group Lankum have been nominated in four categories, including Best Folk Album, Best Folk Group, Best Original Track of the Year for ‘The Young People’ and Best Traditional Track of the Year twice for ‘The Pride of Petravore’ and ‘The Wild Rover’.
The Best Folk Singer nominees include Mick Flannery, Emma Langford, Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh and Radie Peat. Nic Amhlaoibh has also been nominated for Best Traditional Track of the Year for ‘Port na bPúcaí’, as have Martin Hayes and Brooklyn Ryder for ‘O’Neill’s March’. Hayes has also been nominated in the Best Folk Instrumentalist category along with Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, Ryan Molloy, Caroline Keane and Cooney.
For the full list of nominees see below. The awards will be announced by Ruth Smith and John Creedon on RTÉ Radio 1 on 26 November at 8pm–10pm. A performer will also be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Visit https://www.rte.ie/radio1.
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