Paddy O’Brien was honored as Ireland’s 2012 Composer of the Year at the recent Gradam Ceoil Irish Traditional Music Awards in Limerick. The awards are sponsored by TG4, the Irish language television network (now part of RTE, the national broadcasting service). Paddy joins a long list of Irish traditional music luminaries with this honor, including previous winners Paddy Fahy, Vincent Broderick, Charlie Lennon, Peadar Ó Riada, and Liz Carroll.

This year’s awards were presented at the Gradam Ceoil 2012 Concert at University Concert Hall, Limerick on Saturday 24th March. Recipients were joined by a host of special guests in a concert hosted by Aoife Ní Thuairisg and Páidí Ó Lionáird that was also broadcast on TG4 on Easter Sunday, 8th April 2012.

The broadcast kicked off with a bang: several of Paddy’s compositions, SARAH’S DELIGHT, THE WOODEN CITY POLKAS, and THE SMALL HILLS OF OFFALY, as performed by the ensemble from the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance! After a short interview, Paddy also performs a couple of his compositions, TINY THE TROOPER and THE TURF CUTTER, with accompaniment from guitarist Tommy O’Sullivan

This year’s Gradam Ceoil recipients range over a wide spectrum of talents. Those honored in the various categories include a legendary Donegal fiddler who also spent most of his life in London, a US-based world-renowned composer and scholar originally from Offaly, an Armagh couple whose life has been spend teaching traditional music in that city and county and two young Gaeltacht musicians from Ring and Muskerry who, while still in their early twenties, have already achieved much in their chosen musical disciplines. The full list of TG4 Gradam Ceoil 2012 recipients is:

  • Gradam Ceoil (Musician) – Brian Rooney, fiddle
  • Ceoltóir Óg (Young Musician) – Caoimhín Ó Fearghail, uilleann pipes
  • Gradam Saoil (Hall of Fame) – Danny Meehan, fiddle
  • Cumadóir (Composer) – Paddy O’Brien, button accordion
  • Amhránaí (Singer) – Nell Ní Chróinín
  • Gradam Aitheantais (Contributions) – Eithne agus Brian Vallely, fiddle and pipes

Past Winners of the TG4 Traditional Composer of the Year Award

Gradam Ceoil TG4 recognizes the importance of constantly adding to Ireland’s vibrant dance music repertoire by presenting Gradam an Chumadóra each year. Much of the work of these composers has already become a part of the tradition, regularly played at sessions and recorded by other artists.

2001 – Paddy Fahy, Co. Galway  •  2002 – Brendan Tonra, Co. Mayo  •  2003 – Vincent Broderick, Co. Galway   •  2004 – Richie Dwyer, Co. Cork  •  2005 – Josephine Keegan, Co. Armagh  •  2006 – Charlie Lennon, Co. Leitrim  •  2007 – Jim McGrath, Co. Fermanagh  •  2008 – Peadar Ó Riada, Dublin  •  2009 – Con Fada Ó Drisceoil, Co. Cork  •  2010 – John & Finbarr Dwyer, Co. Cork  •  2010 – Liz Carroll, Chicago, IL  USA  •  2012  – Paddy O’Brien, Saint Paul MN  USA


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For more information about the Gradam Ceoil TG4 2012, visit: Gradam Ceoil TG4