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Best of traditional Irish music for Belfast

Ceoltóir Óg: The Young Musician of the Year Sharon Howley playing her Cello Ceoltóir Óg: The Young Musician of the Year Sharon Howley playing her Cello
By Staff Reporter

THE Waterfront Hall is set to host the 2020 Gradam Ceoil TG4 music awards, with globally renowned quintet Beoga playing live at the internationally acclaimed event.
Trad sensation Beoga, who collaborated with Ed Sheeran for his 2017 chart topping hit ‘Galway Girl’ will take to the stage, for what is set to be the biggest Gradam Ceoil to date.
Gradam Ceoil is the premier annual traditional music awards, with this year’s event set to be televised live on TG4 and available to stream on BBC iPlayer live from Belfast on Sunday February 23 thanks to support from Northern Ireland Screen’s Irish Language Broadcast Fund.
The band are looking forward to their upcoming performance in Belfast.
“We are delighted to be involved in the 23rd annual Gradam Ceoil TG4 traditional music awards celebration. We are proud to be associated with such a prestigious event that celebrates highly-talented Irish and international musicians and we can’t wait to take to the wonderful Waterfront Hall stage on 23rd February.
“It is shaping up to be an incredible showing of the best in Irish traditional music, and we look forward to playing in Belfast on the night.”
TG4 Director General, Alan Esslemont, spoke about the event.
“Gradam Ceoil TG4 is 23 years in existence, and recognises the best of traditional Irish music, an initiative that TG4 is immensely proud of,” he said. “ I would like to congratulate all of this year’s winners. They are the embodiment of traditional music and song, and we are delighted to award them the highest honour in Irish music. Gradam Ceoil represents a successful collaboration with Belfast City Council, ILBF, Red Shoe Productions and TG4.”
Women lead the way in this year’s accolades, with Musician of the Year, Young Musician of the Year and Composer of the Year all set to be awarded to highly talented female musicians.
Harper Laoise Kelly from Westport, Co. Mayo is this year’s TG4’s Musician of the Year and is one of the youngest recipients of the main award to date.
Fiddle and Cello player, Sharon Howley, from Kilfenora, Co. Clare has been selected as the 2019 Young Musician of the Year, having been immersed in traditional music from a young age with a rich musical lineage.
Lillis Ó Laoire, two-time winner of the premier sean-nós singing competition Corn Uí Riada in 1991 and again in 1994 is to be awarded the title of Singer of the Year.
The other award recipients are Lifetime Achievement Award to Séamus Connolly, Outstanding Contribution Award to Nenagh’s Ned Kelly and Composer of the Year to Josephine Marsh.
Northern Ireland Screen’s Head of the Irish Language Broadcast Fund, Áine Walsh talked about the scheme’s strong links with Belfast.
“As well as giving recognition to the Gradam winners this is also a fantastic platform for the talent and broad musical heritage of the North,” she said. “It is also wonderful that this celebration will be seen by a worldwide audience.”
The 2019 Gradam Ceoil showcase will bring a number of special fringe events to Belfast on the weekend of the awards, adding to what should be a festival musical atmosphere across the city. Beyond the talents of Beoga and the various award winners, the night will see special accompanying performances from both The Kilfenora Ceili Band and Orchestra for Life.
Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Daniel Baker spoke about the impact of the awards.
“Gradam Ceoil is a fantastic celebration of traditional music and is revered by music fans right across Ireland and beyond. We’re delighted to once again play host to the awards ceremony which promises to be an amazing spectacle of live performances, showcasing world class talent right here in Belfast. I want to wish all those nominated the best of luck and look forward to welcoming everyone to our city for this great event.”
Tickets for TG4 Gradam Ceoil Awards 2020 are now available now from https://www.waterfront.co.uk/what-s-on/gradam-ceoil-tg4-2020 or +442890334455
The full list of TG4 Gradam Ceoil 2020 recipients are as follows:

Ceoltóir na Bliana/Musician of the Year: Laoise Kelly
Ceoltóir Óg/Young Musician of the Year: Sharon Howley
Gradam Saoil/Lifetime Achievement: Séamus Connolly
Amhránaí na Bliana/Singer of the Year: Lillis Ó Laoire
Gradam Comaoine/Outstanding Contribution: Ned Kelly
Cumadóir na Bliana / Composer of the Year: Josephine Marsh

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