Traditional Music Programmes on TG4 This Christmas

Louise Mulcahy will present Mná na bPíob on TG4 this Sunday (Photo: Victor Tzelepis).

Traditional Music Programmes on TG4 This Christmas

A round-up of documentaries, tributes and concert broadcasts over the Christmas period.

Beginning this week there will be a number of music programmes broadcast on TG4 as part of their Christmas programming, as well as a new series on dance on RTÉ. See details below.

Mná na bPíob – The Story of Forgotten Female Uilleann Pipers
This Sunday evening (19 December), TG4 will broadcast Mná na bPíob, a feature-length documentary film about a group of lesser-known female pipers who were ‘airbrushed out of our cultural history’, including Kitty Hanley, Nance the Piper, Anna Barry, Mollie Morrisey, May McCarthy, Mrs Margaret JJ Murphy, Netta Jane Nicholl, Betty Nevin and Phyllis Crothers. Piper Louise Mulcahy presents the documentary and meets with musicians and scholars who share insights into these women pipers and the challenges they faced during their lives, from the mid-19th century until to the 1950s and beyond. Throughout the documentary, there will be performances by Mulcahy and her sister Michelle and father Mick, Máire Ní Ghráda, Molly Ní Ghrada, Mary Mitchell-Ingoldsby, Rosaleen O’Leary, Heather Clarke, Marion McCarthy, Síle Friel, Jane Walls, The Rowsome family, the late Paddy Moloney and more.

A Tribute to Joe Burke
On Christmas Day, a programme dedicated to Galway accordion player Joe Burke, who died in February of this year,  will be shown on TG4 at 10:20pm. Joe Burke – Ceiliúradh will feature a selection of musicians gathered to celebrate this life and music including Burke’s wife, accordionist Ann Conroy Burke, Mary Conroy, Frankie Gavin, Brian McGrath, Eileen O’Brien, Máire Ní Chathasaigh, Liz and Yvonne Keane, Jackie Daly, Dermot Byrne and Conchubhar Ó Luasa.

The Mighty Ocean – Máirtín O’Connor
The Mighty Ocean, a music film based around the musical suite reflecting on the environment and climate change composed by button accordionist Máirtín O’Connor, will be shown on TG4 on St Stephen’s Day, 26 December, at 8:45pm. The film premiered on the channel in April, was commissioned by Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture, and produced by Galway Music Residency. The music, scored for twelve musicians, features Máirtín O’Connor, Garry O’Briain, Cathal Hayden, Seamie O’Dowd, Jim Higgins, Sinead O’Connor, Ciara O’Connor, Matthew Berril and the ConTempo Quartet.

The Life and Legacy of Seán Ó Riada
In Seán Ó Riada – Mo Sheanathair fiddle-player Doireann Ní Ghlacáin explores the life and legacy of her famous composer grandfather who died in 1971. The feature-length documentary gives an intimate portrayal of Ó Riada, including interviews with Doireann’s mother Sorcha Ní Riada, her aunt Rachel Ní Riada and her uncle Peadar Ó Riada, fiddle-player Sean Keane and singer Seán Ó Sé, and performances from Barry Douglas, Iarla Ó Lionáird, Nell Ní Chróinín, Steve Cooney, Cormac McCarthy, Cór Chúil Aodha and Ní Ghlacáin herself. Seán Ó Riada – Mo Sheanathair is directed by Feilimí O Connor and produced by Dónal O’Connor and will be broadcast on TG4 on St Stephen’s Day at 9.20pm.

Róisín ReImagined – Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh
On 27 December, a concert film of singer Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh’s Róisín ReImagined project from earlier this year, featuring the Irish Chamber Orchestra and soloists Dónal O’Connor, Mick O’Brien, Aisling Ennis, Cormac McCarthy and Caitríona Frost, will be broadcast on TG4. The concert was filmed in St Canice’s Cathedral during the Kilkenny Arts Festival and features new arrangements of sean-nós songs by six Irish composers – Cormac McCarthy, Paul Campbell, Linda Buckley, Sam Perkin, Niamh Varian-Barry, and Michael Keeney.

Steps of Freedom – The Story of Irish Dance 
This Thursday (16 December), Steps of Freedom – The Story of Irish Dance will air on RTÉ One at 10.15pm. The documentary by producer and director Ruán Magan tells the story of the evolution of Irish dance, and how it transformed from a folk tradition to global phenomenon.

Concert programmes
Also featured on the Christmas music schedule for TG4 are concerts by Cherish the Ladies (19 December, 10:50pm), vocal group Anúna (24 December, 7:15pm), The Chieftains (25 December, 8:30pm, and 2 January, 9:30pm), and We Banjo 3 (31 December, 10:30pm). There will also be a programme on poet, actress and singer from Connemara, Caitlín Maude (29 December, 9:15pm). On 31 December, TG4 will broadcast a special New Year’s Eve programme – Fáilte 2022 featuring presenters Dáithí Ó Sé and Orla Ní Fhinneadha and a selection of traditional musicians performing from Matt Molloy’s pub in Westport, the Rusty Mackerel in Donegal and the Ráth Chairn Gaeltacht in Co. Meath. The show will feature Matt and Peter Molloy, Dan Delaney, Cathy Jordan, Jiggy, The Bonny Men, Maighréad and Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill, Jimmy and Peter Campbell, Tara Conaghan, Clare Friel, Dermot Byrne and Bríd Harper, and more. TG4 will also re-broadcast this year’s Gradam Ceoil on New Year’s Eve.

Published on 14 December 2021

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