It was another spectacular night for Irish music like that RTE Radio 1 Folk Awards started on Vicar Street in Dublin. Since these awards were launched in 2018, they have consistently highlighted Ireland’s vibrant folk scene and last night was no exception.
The evening was moderated by RTÉ’s John Creedon and broadcast live on RTÉ Radio 1; The night featured live performances from Sharon Shannon, Scullion, Pauline Scanlon, Inni-K, Mary Black, members of The Chieftains, Eliza and Martin Carthy and more. A highlights TV program will be broadcast on RTÉ One on Saturday 19 November at 10.25pm.
This year’s awards saw you vagabonds pick up again Best Folk Album to the nine wavesits sequel from 2019 The Hare’s Lament, which also won the award for best folk album that year. In our Review of Nine WavesDavid Weir’s conclusion was confirmed: “Ye Vagabonds once again prove themselves at the forefront of an ever-evolving, thriving Irish folk scene and have done so in the most understated and inspired way imaginable.”
Ye Vagabonds have toured with them Cormac Begleyanother winner of the evening who picked up Best Folk Instrumentalist. I would have loved to see that tour as the rivalry on stage sounded a lot like when brian and Diarmuid MacGloinn from Ye Vagabonds told us in one earlier this year detailed interview:
The excitement on stage between us was different than it was between me and Diarmuid. There was this kind of rivalry between us; we were constantly preparing each other for good opportunities to rip each other, especially over the course of the tour. It’s more than just the music with Cormac; he is a devil.
Cormac released his second solo album, B, earlier this year, on which he set out to explore the sonic possibilities of the bass and baritone concertina series.
Susan O’Neill Was awarded Best Original Folk Track to the ‘Now you see it‘. She won Best Original Track for her duet with Mick Flannery on chain reaction Last year it’s clear that her songwriting is greatly appreciated. She’s something of a sought-after collaborator – as is Mick Flannery; She also collaborated with Clare Sands on her EP and album and with Sharon Shannon at a concert at Dublin’s National Concert Hall last year.
Best Traditional Folk Track went to Muireann Nic Amhlaoibhwho is also the moderator of RTÉ people on one. She won the award for Róisín Dubh from her Róisín ReImagined project with the Irish Chamber Orchestra, featuring acclaimed soloists Dónal O’Connor, Mick O’Brien, Aisling Ennis, Cormac McCarthy and Caitríona Frost. She also won best folk singer, a well deserved award. If you’re not familiar with Muireann’s previous projects, then be sure to check them out too Thar Toinn / Seabornea sea-themed project that was equally fascinating.
The best folk group went to the ollam, featuring legendary Belfast piper John McSherry alongside piper/Whistler Tyler Duncan and Michael Shimmin & Joe Dart. They returned this year with their long-awaited second album, elegie, where they continue their exploration of the dark side of Irish music. They released their self-titled debut (reviewed here), which Folk Radio described as “…a madness that works on all levels, the writing, the musicianship, the arrangements and ultimately the listening experience”. With its roots in the jigs and reels of the Irish, this is music that knows no borders, not even the expanse of the Atlantic.”
The award for Best Emerging Artist went to a young multi-instrumentalist from Donegal Cathal O Currain. He comes from a family best known for their singing. He has appeared on albums with The High Seas, The Conifers, The Friel Sisters and Aoife Scott and released his debut album Cosán Ceoil earlier this year.
Here he appears Four Mile Stone & Farewell to Erin with Megan Nic Fhionnghaile:
Mary Black (main image) was the Lifetime Achievement Award winner, while Paddy Moloney of The Chieftains was posthumously inducted into the Folk Awards Hall of Fame.
Winner of the RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Awards
Best Original Folk Track
Now you see it – Susan O’Neill
Best Traditional Folk Track
Róisín Dubh – Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh & the Irish Chamber Orchestra
Best Folk Singer
Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh
Best Folk Instrumentalist
Best Folk Group
Best Folk Album
nine waves – You vagabonds
Best Emerging Artist
Cathal O Currain
hall of fame