Conamara singer to receive Gradam Ceoil TG4 2023

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galway daily news síle denvir receives award at gradam ceoil 2023
Síle Denvir attending the TG4 Gradam Ceoil 2023 Awards in the Irish World Academy of Music & Dance. Photo: Liam Burke / Press 22

Connemara born singer and harpist Síle Denvir will receive a prestigious national award for her beloved singing at this year’s Gradam Ceoil Awards.

The annual Gradam Ceoil Awards, also known as ‘the Oscars of traditional music’, pay homage to musicians who have advanced, strengthened, and preserved traditional music in Ireland.

Conamara singer Síle Denvir is this year’s Singer 2023 in the 26th year of the Gradam Ceoil Awards.

Síle Denvir is a sean-nós singer, harpist, and academic whose music is deeply influenced by the Irish language, her upbringing in the Conamara Gaeltacht and the sean-nós style of the region.

In addition to performing as a solo artist, Denvir is a founding member of the traditional band Líadan and has collaborated with many musicians throughout her career including The Chieftains, Barry Kerr, Liam Ó Maonlaí, Martin Hayes and Úna Monaghan.

In 2018, she took part in the world premiere of Mícheál Ó Suilleabháin’s Fill Arís, performing with Iarla Ó Lionáird, Lillis Ó Laoire and the National Symphony Orchestra, and in 2020, her singing featured on Rogha Raelach Volume 1, traditional music label Raelach Records’ first compilation album.

She is also a Lecturer at Dublin City University and is particularly interested in Irish language song in a modern context.

She has published two books on Conamara songwriters, Tom a’ tSeoighe: Amhráin (2020) and Ciarán Ó Fátharta: Amhráin (2008).

Other research projects include a video series on the work of Tom a’ tSeoighe for TG4 Molscéal in 2020, and a CD and booklet on the music from the plays of Patrick Pearse – Caithréim: Ceol agus Amhráin ó Dhrámaí an Phiarsaigh.

Denvir is an accomplished composer and the music director of the new youth sean-nós group Bláth na hÓige.

She regularly contributes to TV and radio programmes on TG4, and in 2023 will release her next album, Anamnesis – a recording of sean-nós songs in collaboration with producer John Reynolds and cellist Caroline Dale.

The full list of TG4 Gradam Ceoil 2023 recipients reads as follows:

  • Ceoltóir /Musician – Mick O’Brien
  • Amhránaí /Singer – Síle Denvir
  • Ceoltóir Óg/Young Musician – Méabh Smyth
  • Gradam Saoil/Lifetime Achievement – Fintan Vallelly
  • Cumadóir / Composer – Maurice Lennon
  • Grúpa Ceoil/Music Group- Mick, Louise, Michelle Mulcahy

The final award, for Outstanding Contribution, will be announced in early April.

From left Michelle Mulcahy, Fintan Vallely, Meabh Smyth, Síle Denvir, Mick O’Brien, Louise Mulcahy, Mick Mulcahy and Maurice Lennon. Photo: Liam Burke / Press 22

Gradam Ceoil TG4 is the premier annual traditional music awards scheme and academy. An independent panel of adjudicators selects recipients each year.

It is not a competition. The Gradam Ceoil recipients are presented with a specially commissioned piece by leading sculptor John Coll as well as a small stipend.

Speaking at the announcement Commissioning Editor for TG4 Proinsias Ní Ghráinne said, “TG4 is delighted to honour and pay tribute to such remarkable talent for the 26th year of Gradam Ceoil.”

“We hope that Gradam continues to be a marker for future artistic excellence across all areas of our music and song. Congratulations to all of the recipients.”

This year’s awards will be presented at the Gradam Ceoil TG4 Concert in the National Concert Hall, Limerick on Sunday, April 23 in a live broadcast.

Recipients will be joined in performance on stage by their own special musical guests in a unique, star-studded line-up of musicians and award-presenters.