Fleadhfest 2021 Awards

Ceannródaí 2021

Fiona Doherty

Fiona is a third-generation fiddle player originally from Charlestown, Co. Mayo; known nationally and internationally as a fiddler she is also a very proficient flute player and uilleann piper.

Fiona’s particularly rich and longstanding musical background and subsequent musical journey has long been identified by her musical colleagues and peers through her personal musicianship and broad repertoire.

She learnt her music along with her brothers Kieran, Andrew, Brendan and Séamus (RIP) from her father Séan who plays both fiddle and button accordion. Her grandfather Michael Doherty played the fiddle and her grandmother Mary Kate Duffy was a melodeon player.

The family moved to Perth, Australia, in the 197os and their home quickly became a meeting place for both local and visiting Irish musicians including Ray Deely, the Galway flute player, Fr P.J. Kelly – accordion player, composer and missionary priest from East Galway, fiddler Mick Doherty (nephew of Johnny Doherty) and uilleann pipe maker Geoff Wooff. Her parents Seán and Margaret formed a Comhaltas branch in 1980 and Fiona helped tutor the classes and played for céilithe and dancing competitions.

Fiona returned to Achonry, Co. Sligo, in 1984 where her neighbour, flute player Harry McGowan was a huge influence along with Fred Finn, Peter Horan, Mary and Tommy Finn and others in the vibrant South Sligo music scene. While working in the USA for six years in the 1990s Fiona played with legendary musicians from the previous generation including Martin Wynne, Andy McGann, Paddy Reynolds and Jack Coen. Fiona’s commitment to the music, her musicianship and discerning ear meant she fitted in naturally to all musical company wherever she played; she continued to absorb the nuances of settings of tunes, individual and regional styles and repertoire, in addition to the music’s lore and history.

Currently based in Ballymote, Co. Sligo, Fiona is an active member of Craobh Paddy Killoran and teaches music extensively at local and national level; her students have successfully competed at county, provincial and All Ireland Fleadhanna.

She is a regular tutor at CCÉ’s Scoil Éigse Summer School, the South Sligo and Joe Mooney Summer Schools, Fiona is also a Comhaltas SCT Examiner. She is the current music educator / heritage officer at Ceoláras Coleman, CCÉ’s Regional Resource Centre in Gurteen, Co. Sligo.

Comhghairdeas Fiona, agus Ceannródaí FleadhFest 2o21 á bhronnadh ort ag Ardchomhairle Chomhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann.

Ceannródaí 2021

Gary Lynch

Gary Lynch comes from Rosslea, Co. Fermanagh and attributes Aunt Betty, Dinny Leonard and Pat McCabe as his primary early musical influences. He was also a member of the local Roslea Branch of CCÉ of which Sonny McDermott was a leading figure.

A science graduate from the University of Liverpool Gary subsequently graduated from the University of Limerick with a Masters in Irish Music performance. Following graduation, he tutored music at the University of Limerick and at the Limerick Institute of Technology and was a guest tutor for the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. In addition to his widely acknowledged performance skills Gary is also an experienced and committed music teacher and adjudicator.

Gary has played and competed with a number of Céilí Bands including the Liverpool Céilí Band and the Beartla Ó Flatharta Céilí Band. He was founder and musical director of Ceol Lab residential summer school and has also taught at Scoil Éigse and Le Bono Winter School. Gary was formerly an Examiner with Scrúdu Ceol Tíre, CCÉ’s SCT Traditional Music Examinations and currently lecturers on the TTCT traditional music teaching diploma course.

He has contributed to many publications, particularly those associated with his own locality. He has also held the position of Projects Officer at Cultúrlann na hÉireann.

Having served at all levels of the organisation and was a member (Ulster Delegate) of the Ardchomhairle CCÉ for ten years. During this time he was involved in CCÉ National events and served on the Coiste Imeachtaí, of which he is still an active member. He has been a consistent member of and contributor to various organisational sub-committees, operational focused groupings at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann his expertise and experience in event management and planning being one of his many attributes.

Gary received the Jig of Life Award at the NYAH Festival in Cavan in 2o19.

Bronann Ardchomhairle Chomhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann gradam ‘Ceannródaí FleadhFest 2o21’ ar Gary Lynch ar son a ghealltanais do cheol traidisiúnta na hÉireann a chur chun chinn agus a ghealltanas do Chomhaltas agus cultúr na hÉireann.

Comhghairdeas Gary.

Ceannródaí 2021

John Reynolds

John Reynolds’ contribution to Irish traditional music, Comhaltas and the promotion of Irish culture North America is multifaceted and lasting. His Irish born parents encouraged him to play and initially he learned to play the fiddle with John Glynn (Roscommon – accordion) and subsequently with Galway fiddler Pete Kelly in New York. John spent hours growing up listening to Seán McGuire, Andy McGann and Paddy Reynolds recordings. A 1972 All- Ireland medal winner, John was among the ground breaking and highly committed and skilled Irish American musicians who travelled annually to Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann to play, further their musical experience and compete, forming friendships and connections through music and Comhaltas.

John has in turn, facilitated subsequent generations of Irish American musicians to do the same. These include his son, John Paul Reynolds (fiddle, banjo, guitar, UL music student) and daughters, Erin (fiddle, banjo, whistle, Erin Loughran School of Music), Bláithín Loughran (box, member of Girsa), Neidín Loughran (whistle, guitar, singer and songwriter).

John is a highly skilled fiddler, with notable musicality and flexibility and an innate ‘sense of the flow of the music’. This discerning talent enables him to back all types Irish songs, ballads and songs from other genres as was evident during his long association with Dublin-born ballad singer Jesse Owens.

In the late 1990s, John joined the traditional group Morning Star – where he met his wife Margie Mulvihill (Ceannródaí 2o13), a founding member of the group. Margie, John, box-player John Nolan and singer Mary Courtney performed at festivals and concerts throughout the US, recording two well received albums Gra and Away Ye Go, Now. After Morning Star, they focused on family, teaching and passing the music to future generations. They are regularly heard playing with their group The Pride of Moyvane (named after a reel written by Margie’s cousin Martin Mulvihill). The group is in demand at céilithe and festivals in the New York tri-state area, enjoyed by dancers for its lively and rhythmic percussive style, perfect for dancing. John and Margie are also regular performers on Joanie Madden’s highly popular Folk’n Irish Cruise.

John Reynolds is a household name throughout the Irish traditional music and Comhaltas community in North America and Ireland; an an unassuming leader, has worked quietly, consistently and effectively behind the scenes at Comhaltas Branch and Regional events including the Convention in North America for many years, serving as Treasurer of the Mid-Atlantic Region and Co-Chair of the Mid Atlantic Fleadh for nearly two decades. His effective communication and facilitation skills are reflective of his discerning and skilled fiddle playing and deep, broad musical knowledge; John loves to play and through his music, leadership and commitment to Comhaltas he has enriched the lives of so many in North America and Ireland.

Comhghairdeas, John, agus Ceannródaí FleadhFest 2o21 á bhronnadh ort ag Ardchomhairle Chomhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann.

Ceannródaí 2021

Máire Ní Chéilleachair

Is ón bhFearann i gContae Chorcaí ó dhúchas don amhránaí clúiteach Máire Ní Chéileachair agus tá sí ina ball de Chomhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, Craobh Niall Ó Cathasaigh – Baile an Chollaigh, Co. Chorcaí le fada an lá.

Ó Chill na Martra, i nGaeltacht Mhúscraí dá muintir agus ní haon ionadh gur fáisceadh í sa traidisiún Gaelach. Bhí grá aici i gcónaí don amhránaíocht ach níor thosnaigh sí ag canadh go poiblí go dtí na luath 1990aidí agus í mar bhall de Chraobh Thraolaigh Mhic Shuibhne CCÉ, i gCorcaigh – áit a raibh sí ag obair mar mhúinteoir meánscoile.

Sa bhliain 1996 bhain sí amach an phríomhdhuais sa chomórtas ‘Amhránaíocht Mná’ ag Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann tar éis di cur isteach ar an gcomórtas don chéad uair riamh agus bhuaigh sí arís é i 1997. An bhliain dár gcionn, bhuaigh sí bonn óir arís ag Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, an uair seo don amhránaíocht as Béarla, duais a bhuaigh sí dhá bhliain as a chéile.

Ainmníodh Máire mar Amhránaí na Bliana ag Gradam Ceoil TG4, 2o18 agus sa bhliain chéanna bhuaigh sí Corn Uí Riada ag Oireachtas na Gaeilge. Bhí roinnt comórtaisí eile de chuid an Oireachtais buaite aici ins na blianta roimhe sin – Corn Mháire Nic Dhonnchadha agus comórtas Shean Nós na mBan. Is amhránaí fíor-dhátheangach í Máire a bhfuil na gradaim is mó urraime mar amhránaí traidisiúnta ag an leibhéal is airde bainte amach aici. Tá dhá albam eisithe aici ‘Guth ar Fán’ agus ‘Ceantar Glas Mhúscraí’ agus is díol suntais é cé chomh humhal is atá sí.

Tugann Máire aitheantas i gcónaí dóibh siúd a thug tacaíocht agus spreagadh di – a teaghlach, a cairde agus amhránaithe eile ina measc. Cuireann sí an-bhéim ar an oideachas, go háirithe i measc na nóg. Bíonn aghaidh aici ar na mionshonraí agus is múinteoir fláithiúil í atá críochnúil ina cuid oibre.

Is iad na comórtaisí ag Fleadhanna Ceoil agus imeachtaí eile CCÉ a thug na deiseanna tráthúla di an mhuinín agus an taithí a fháil agus a cuid amhránaíochta á cur chun cinn, dar léi féin. Molann sí dá daltaí páirt a ghlacadh sa phobal amhránaíochta in éineacht lena gcairde féin agus leas a bhaint as an dtacaíocht agus na deiseanna a chuirtear ar fáil i dtimpeallacht an Chomhaltais, ag Oireachtas na Gaeilge, ag seisiúin amhránaíochta agus ócaidí eile cultúrtha nach iad.

Ta dlúthbhaint ag Máire Ní Chéileachair le Gaeltacht Mhúscraí. Bhí sí mar amhránaí cónaitheach ann ar an scéim amhránaíochta ‘Aisling Gheal’ sa bhliain 2ooo-2oo1 agus tá sí fós ina múinteoir leis an scéim chéanna. Tá toradh a saothair le feiscint agus le clos sa dúthaigh sin sa tslí ina bhfuil an traidisiún amhránaíochta á chur ar aghaidh ina iomláine go dtí an chéad ghlúin eile. Bhí an-bhaint aici le tograí oideachais náisiúnta de chuid an Chomhaltais, lena n-áirítear an TTCT, ceardlanna agus seimineáir amhránaíochta; tá ocht mbliana caite aici mar theagascóir ar amhránaíocht ar an sean-nós i gColáiste na hOllscoile, Corcaigh. Tá clú agus cáil bainte amach ag Máire mar mhúinteoir agus mar thaibhealaíontóir den scoth fud fad na hÉireann agus thar lear.

Tréaslaíonn Ardchomhairle Chomhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann leat, a Mháire, agus tú i do Cheannródaí, FleadhFest 2021.

Ceannródaí 2021

Pádraig Brennan

Pádraig (Pauraic), son of Dick Brennan and Winnie Horan, was born and raised in the townland of Ballintrofaun (Killavil), Co. Sligo. From the late 19th century Pádraig’s home area was synonymous with a rich vein of traditional music. Families such as the Colemans, O’Beirnes, Wynnes and Hunts were all callers to the Brennan household. In 193o, Pádraig’s father, Dick, a fiddle player, played as a duet with flautist Tommy Hunt, of Lissananey; this historic recording was the first commercial release of traditional musicians from Co. Sligo recorded in Ireland.

Pádraig was exposed to a uniquely rich Irish musical heritage and sense of community from his youngest years and has remained steadfastly committed to both music and community throughout his life in Ireland, and as an Irish emigrant in both London and New York.

Pádraig initially played the fiddle but in keeping with the 195o’s and 196o’s he was also attracted to the music of the modern band scene and took up the guitar. Pádraig’s ‘keen ear’ and natural musicality gave him a flexibility as a musician which was combined with an understanding of entertainment, bringing enjoyment to others through music. As a guitar player Pádraig took a lead role in a band called ‘The Sundowners’. The band, in touring the dance hall circuit, was reflective of the times.

Like many of his generation, Pádraig, worked in the construction and carpentry trades which in the 197o’s took him to London. Throughout his London years he plied his musical skills with a group called ‘The Ranch Boys’. However it was on his return to Ireland, in the late 197o’s that he became a popular member of the well-known trad/ country band ‘Shebeen’. The ever popular song ‘My Own Leitrim Home’ was included in their debut album ‘Come West Along The Road’. A later career move, in the mid 198o’s, took Pádraig to the USA. Pádraig and his family now reside north of Yonkers, New York.

Pádraig, together with his wife, a native of Moygara, Co. Sligo, Attracta Mc Keon, has been a constant supporter of  The County Sligo Social and Benevolent Association. In 2oo4 Pádraig was honoured by the Association as ‘Sligo Man of the Year’. Pádraig’s commitment to his native County Sligo and its music, and his contribution to the Irish Diaspora continues to motivate and inspire others.

Comhghairdeas a Phádraig, agus Ceannródaí FleadhFest 2o21 á bhronnadh ort ag Ardchomhairle Chomhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann.

Gabhaimíd buíochas as do thacaíocht, gura fada buan tú.

Ceannródaí 2021

Pádraig Kerins

Pádraig (Pauraic) Kerins, hails from the Ougham, Riverstown, Co. Sligo. Encouraged by his parents Paddy and Bridie, Pádraig, together with his siblings Margaret and Charlie, received his first lessons in traditional music from Roscommon’s Leo Beirne. Local musicians, Owen Kelly, Paddy McDonagh, Tom Dowd, Gerry Fallon, Phil McConnon and Brendan Gannon together with Séamus Tansey, were also influential in Pádraig’s musical development. Pádraig has become a highly proficient and much respected flute player. From 1978 as a young adult Pádraig was involved, in the Riverstown Branch of CCÉ, he took on the role of Cathaoirleach in 1979. Pádraig has shown exemplary leadership as Cathaoirleach of Riverstown CCÉ, the Branch hosting Fleadh Cheoil Cho. Shligigh in 1983, ’86, ’93, ’94, 2oo3, 2oo4, 2o13, 2o14, & 2o19.

The Branch has constantly promoted the musical legacy of Drumfin’s legendary fiddle player, James Morrison (1893- 1947). The James Morrison Traditional Music Festival, established in 1993, is now in its 29th year. A roadside memorial, at Drumfin, was unveiled in 1993. The Morrison Teach Ceoil, established by Riverstown CCÉ, was officially opened in 2o11. With the financial support of the Comhaltas Meitheal programme, Sligo Co. Council & Co. Sligo Leader Company an extension to the Teach Ceoil was completed in time for the 2o19 Morrison Festival. Pádraig was the driving force and always paid tribute to all those who had helped in any way towards the development of the Teach Ceoil.

In 2oo5, together with his musical comrades, Paddy McDonagh (fiddle) and Anne Mulligan (piano), Pádraig recorded ‘The Morrison Trio’. The music on the CD is a distinctive selection of the old Morrison style tunes handed down from past generations and retained for future generations.

Pádraig was a recipient of two awards; Teastas an Chomhaltais in 2001 and a Connacht Gradam CCÉ award in 2o12.

Pádraig’s commitment, determination and enthusiasm for the promotion of our musical heritage has few parallels. His consistent volunteer commitment to Comhaltas and community, his sense of pride in place has inspired others, both locally and nationally.

Traoslaímid leat a Phádraig agus beimid de shíor faoi chomaoin as gach atá bainte amach agat.

Comhghairdeas a Phádraig, agus Ceannródaí FleadhFest 2o21 á bhronnadh ort ag Ardchomhairle Chomhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann.

Ard-Ollamh 2021

Seán Ó Muimhneacháin

Is i gceantar Gaeltachta Mhúscraí Uí Fhloinn a fuineadh agus a fáisceadh Seán Ó Muimhneacháin. Chaith sé a shaol gairmiúil ar fad ag saothrú mar mhúinteoir bunscoile i bparóiste Chill na Martra agus é ag cinntiú go leanfadh traidisiúin an cheantair Ghaeltachta ar aghaidh chuig an gcéad ghlúin eile.

Bhí sé lárnach i mbunú dhá chraobh Comhaltais go háitiúil – Craobh an tSuláin sna seascaidí agus Craobh Lachtaín Naofa, Cill na Martra sa bhliain 1976. Faoi láthair tá Seán ag feidhmiú mar Threoraí na Gaeilge ar Bhord Chontae Chorcaí. Agus é mar phríomhoide ar Scoil Chúil a’ Bhuacaigh sna seascaidí agus seachtóidí, bhunaigh sé Ceoltóirí Chúil a’ Bhuacaigh agus thaisteal siad ar fud na tíre, ag freastal ar chomórtaisí Slógadh, Féilte Drámaíochta agus Fleadhanna Ceoil. Chaith sé na blianta ag múineadh an cheoil faoi scáth an VEC in éineacht le Connie O’Connell, agus ranganna acu i bparóistí uile cheantar Mhúscraí.

Bhí ról lárnach ag Seán i gcónaí i mórán coistí agus eagraíochtaí áitiúla eile a bhain le cúrsaí cultúir agus teangan, go háirithe Coiste Forbartha Chill na Martra, Daonscoil an Fhómhair, Aisteoirí Chill na Martra, Conradh na Gaeilge agus baint nach beag aige le bunú Scéim Amhránaíochta Aisling Gheal sa bhliain 2000, a chinntíonn go bhfuil traidisiún amhránaíochta sean-nóis Mhúscraí á chaomhnú agus á chur ar aghaidh chuig an nglúin óg.

Chuir Seán an-suim go deo sna taibhealaíona dúchasacha. Is mó seó stáitse, scoraíocht, agallamh beirte, lúibín, ceapóg agus amhrán saothair atá scríte agus léirithe aige, go háirithe leis an aos óg agus an iliomad gradam buaite dá réir. Is minic a chloistear é ag aithris a chuid véarsaí ag Dáimhscoil Mhúscraí chomh maith.

Le blianta beaga anuas tá 9 gcinn de Chraobhacha Uile Éireann buaite ag Seán ag Fleadhanna Ceoil sna hAmhráin Nua-Chumtha idir Ghaeilge agus Bhéarla. Chomh maith leis sin tá comórtas Garry McMahon do bhailéad nua-chumtha, Corn Uí Fhlanagáin d’amhráin nua-chumtha as Gaeilge, agus duaiseanna liteartha an Oireachtais buaite aige.

Sa bhliain 2011 d’fhoilsigh Seán a chéad leabhar, Gleanntán an Aoibhnis, ina bhfuil bailiúchán dá chuid dánta agus amhráin as Gaeilge. Sa bhliain 2018, d’fhoilsigh sé An tAgallamh Muimhneach, bailiúchán de bhreis is 120 agallamh beirte, lúibín, ceapóg agus amhrán saothair, agus sa bhliain 2019 d’fhoilsigh sé a chéad saothar dátheangach dar teideal The Cuckoo Sings in May. Ar an 21 Feabhra 2017 insealbhaíodh é mar Uachtarán Oireachtas na Gaeilge i dTigh an Ard-Mhéara i mBaile Átha Cliath.

Is eiseamláir é Seán agus a chuid oibre do spioraid an Chomhaltais i leith na teangan. Tá a shaol tugtha aige i mbun gnímh, ag tacú, ag eagrú, ag gríosadh, agus ag teagasc ar bhonn áitiúil agus náisiúnta, agus dá bharr tugann sé brí do spriocanna agus fís an Chomhaltais i leith na Gaeilge agus i leith an chultúir.

Tréaslaímid a dhúthracht agus a ghaisce leis.

Ceannródaí 2021

Teresa McGuinness

Teresa McGuinness, from Dromore West in Co. Sligo, has been to the forefront of Irish Traditional Music activities in west Sligo for many years. Encouraged by her parents John James and Margaret Scott, she along with her siblings Margaret and John learned Irish music and dance from a young age. Teresa learned the button accordion from her father and later learned the tin whistle from local music teacher Bridie Donagher. Teresa instilled an interest and appreciation for all elements of Irish culture in her children Damien, Jason and Lorna and in the many students she taught music to in her local branch of Tireragh CCÉ. Her commitment to teaching and mentoring young people has provided them with the skills to reach their individual potential while also enjoying their musical participation as they emerge through the various stages on musicianship. She also committed to ensuring that her students and others would have the benefit of a wide variety of musical experiences to consolidate their musical and personal skills.

Teresa built on an earlier revival of activities within the branch, leading it in transition from the Kilglass branch named after the parish in which the branch was founded, to the Tireragh branch which incorporates the entirety of the west county Sligo region. A major achievement during this time was the hosting of two successful County Fleadhanna in 2008 and again in 2oo9. Their success was largely due to the dedication and hard work of the branch committee and wider community volunteers, led effectively by Teresa as Cathaoirleach. Hosting these events was a tremendous boost to the area, as it helped to nurture and promote a stronger connection and love for Irish Traditional Music, Song, and Dance, growing from strength to strength ever since.

Teresa continues her invaluable work in her branch and contributes to the overall county activities of the organisation. Previously Vice-Chairperson of Sligo Co. Board of CCÉ she is currently the Assistant Secretary.

Teresa received a Connacht Gradam Comhaltas Award in 2011 for her dedication, hard work and contribution to Comhaltas and it is fitting that her continued efforts to promote our musical heritage is recognised with this Ardchomhairle CCÉ award.

Comhghairdeas Teresa, agus Ceannródaí FleadhFest 2o21 á bhronnadh ort ag Ardchomhairle Chomhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann.