Rita Gallagher, Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh and Friends
Category - Music Date - 05/10/2017 8:00 pm
A special night of traditional music and song celebrating Donegal’s fabulous double win at this years Gradam Ceoil TG4 Traditional Music Awards.
There were double Donegal celebrations at this years TG4 Traditional Music Awards with longtime Crossroads resident and Frosses native Rita Gallagher receiving the Amhránaí na Bliana/Traditional Singer of the Year award and Gaoth Dobhair singer, musician and Altan founder-member, Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, who won the overall Gradam Ceoil/Traditional Musician of the Year award.
Rita Gallagher first started traditional singing in English in the late ’70;s where her performances at Fleadhanna over several years won her much acclaim.Tours of Britain and the USA with Comhaltas followed in the early ‘80’s along with a steady flow of appearances at sessions and festivals throughout Ireland England and the US. She cites the late, great Paddy Tunney as one of her main influences and is a huge fan of Delores Keane.
As you’d expect Rita has amassed a huge store of traditional songs in English over the years – some of which can be found on her 3 recorded albums to date – Easter Snow (1977), The May Morning Dew (2010) and, most recently, 2016’s The Heathery Hills.
In addition to Gradam TG4, Rita was awarded the Gradam na Fleidhe Nua in May, and most recently the honour of Ceannródaí (Bardic Award) from Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, in Ennis, in August.
Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh is hugely respected a traditional singer and musician from Gaoth Dobhair and a founder member of Ireland’s foremost traditional band, Altan with whom she travelled to Nashville to record their most recent CD The Windening Gyre, enlisting the help of many friends made over the course of a 30 year internationally successful career – among them Mary Chapin Carpenter, Jerry Douglas, Alison Brown, Eddi Reader and Tim O’Brien.
While her principal performance outlet remains Altan, Mairéad has also established a strong solo career in recent years, releasing a debut CD, Imeall, in 2009 – the same year in which she was accorded the honour of Donegal Person of the Year. She also performs regularly with the Irish/Scottish/Scandinavian fiddle ensemble, The String Sisters, and last year formed a very successful family band, Na Mooney’s, with her brother Gearóid, sister Anna, daughter Nia and nephew Ciarán.