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The Oscars of traditional music returns

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Traditional music fans are in for a treat, as Belfast prepares for the return of TG4’s Gradam Ceoil in February.

Known as ‘the Oscars of traditional music,’ the live concert and award ceremony takes place at the Waterfront Hall on Sunday, February 17 and will be broadcast live on TG4.

As award season gets into full swing, Gradam Ceoil 2019 will give local traditional music fans the opportunity to experience the thrill of a live televised awards show, complete with live performances right here in the heart of Belfast.

Tickets for the show – which is returning to Belfast for its second year in a row – are on sale now, with a world-class line-up of top trad talent, celebrating the achievements of musicians from Ireland and across the world.

2019 Gradam recipients, which represent the crème de la crème of traditional music and song, will be joined in live performances on stage by their own special musical guests in a unique line-up of musicians and award-presenters. Last year, actor Stephen Rea and President Michael D. Higgins were amongst the VIP guests at the event, and this year promises another evening of foot stomping entertainment.

Meath based flute player, Catherine McEvoy, heads up the list of recipients this year, receiving traditional music’s highest accolade of Musician of the Year.  The accomplished concert flute player from the Sligo-Roscommon tradition has inspired and influenced numerous other musicians and listeners, most particularly through her visionary work as an educator and teacher.

Catherine McEvoy joins a long list of traditional music greats, including Matt Molloy, Liam O’Flynn, Máirtín O’Connor, Frankie Gavin and Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, who have all received Trad music’s top ‘Oscar’, in the 22-year history of the awards.

Picking up the accolade of Young Musician of the Year will be accordion player Conor Connolly, hailing from South Co Galway.

This soulful musician, largely influenced by his home county, has already played with some of the most renowned traditional musicians we have today and is widely respected as one of the most traditional and solid accordion players of his generation.

The full list of TG4 Gradam Ceoil 2019 recipients includes Musician of the Year, Catherine McEvoy; Young Musician of the Year, Conor Connolly; Lifetime Achievement, Nicky and Anne McAuliffe; Singer of the Year, Thomas McCarthy; Outstanding Contribution, Brendan Mulkere; Musical Collaboration, Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill. Each of the recipients will be awarded with a specially-commissioned piece by leading sculptor John Coll as well as a small stipend. 

Those intending to make a weekend of it can enjoy a dedicated three-day Gradam Fringe programme. A packed calendar of free music events, screenings and talks will take place in locations across Belfast, building up to the main event on Sunday, February 17.

Tickets for TG4 Gradam Ceoil Awards 2019, priced from £22.50, are available from www.waterfront.co.uk or call +44(0)28 9033 4455. For more information, visit www.gradam.ie or connect with Gradam Ceoil on Facebook and Twitter @GradamCeoil using the hashtag #Gradam.

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