Traditional Irish Music TV from TG4 this Christmas


Just a few months ago, the Irish language television channel TG4 celebrated its 25th anniversary, and the station which has established itself as the main outlet for informative and entertaining traditional Irish music throughout the year is the one who gives us gifts to savor this Christmas.

While we were used to reviewing the excellent production of TG4 in this vein of their archival treasure over the holidays of years past, they are showering us with four new shows this year, including two terrific documentaries that will stick us to the screen no matter what. platform we use. However, I suggest you go for the largest screen possible as production values ​​have increased dramatically at TG4 with programming over the past quarter century.

On St. Stephen’s Day, December 26 at 9:20 p.m. Irish time, new company Tain Media will feature its first documentary, a program many will talk about for years to come. Seán Ó Riada – Mo Sheanathair (Sean O Riada – My Grandfather) is a powerful and personal exploration led by young musician and TG4 host Doireann Ní Ghlacáin, who chose the 50th anniversary of O Riada’s death to immerse himself in in a seminal 20th century figure in Irish music history.

As traditional music flows through her veins on both sides of the family, her heartbreaking focus here begins and ends captivatingly with a journey to discover a grandfather she never knew and died in age 40 in 1971. O Riada struggled with alcoholism which led to cirrhosis of the liver and ultimately a heart attack in London while waiting for a transplant that would never come.

Ní Ghlacáin’s methodical and very honest expedition exposes the voices of his mother Sorcha, aunt Rachel and uncle Peadar O Riada in a conversation about O Riada and his widow, Ruth, through old video interviews to help to paint a picture of the controversial artist whose legacy has advantages and disadvantages that the informative documentary reveals along the way.

Ruth’s portrayal plays a huge role in the new documentary, revealing a strong, independent partner whose tragic death from breast cancer just six years after Sean inspires even more empathy for the family that has done so much. facing over the short but successful career that has been the legacy. from O Riada.

This is a deep and transparent presentation that will lead to further discussions about a very talented man stimulated by the views shared by so many of the contributors featured on the show.

The applause is due to the collaborators of Doireann at Tain Media. Felimi O’Connor co-wrote and directed the film and his brother Donal O’Connor produced it, demonstrating not only the professional video skills they have, but their serious contribution as generational musicians who want these stories be well told for posterity. Executive Producers Jim Sheridan and Neil Martin have added their expertise to the UCC and Northern Ireland Irish Language Fund funded project with TG4.

Last Sunday, December 19 saw the start of yet another extraordinary documentary showcasing the multiple skills of a Limerick lady, Louise Mulcahy, who, along with her father Mick and sister Michelle, is at the forefront of the traditional Irish music community for over a quarter of a century. defining the essence of “pure drop” sensibility in their music. Louise is also a prominent representative of the contemporary body of uilleann pipers women existing today in Ireland and abroad.

Louise Mulcahy.

And like her sister Dr Michelle Mulcahy, they are part of a dynamic young generation who not only play traditional music at a high level, but also have the academic skills to further enhance our knowledge and appreciation of its manifestation here. in the 21st century.

Louise intensely researched the phenomenon as to why we know very little about female pipers in the tradition of Irish music history and much more about male pipers. And the first fruit of her labor is Mná na bPiob (Women Pipers), in search of more details about a group of musicians neglected “airbrush” out of our musical history for various societal reasons during the 19th and 20th centuries surrounding the one of the native Irish instruments.

The new documentary sheds light on new details about some of these trailblazers who were recognized in their time and place, if not afterwards, such as Kitty Hanley, Nance the Piper, Anna Barry, May McCarthy, Margaret Murphy and Violet Johnston. Mulcahy demonstrates her research technique by visiting family members, academics and fellow musicians to shed light on women whose extraordinary roles should finally be recognized more.

The production is further enhanced with a number of pageants by musicians today for visual context as well as old photos or documentary evidence.

One of the aspects of the documentary that can grab the most attention is an extraordinary example of the plot that Louise presented to us. Last summer, in the Traditional Irish Music Archives in Dublin’s Merrion Square, two of Leo Rowsome’s early bagpipe students, Paddy Moloney and Betty Nevin, shared memories of their lessons and days with the uilleann’s godfather. pipes.

In their shared recollections, we learned that Rowsome showed no bias in preparing his students for the very first Fleadh Cheoil at Mullingar in 1951. Nonetheless, they offered proof of the diverge path of the bagpipers as Moloney was became famous and fortune as a leader. of the Chieftains until his death in October.

Nevin gave up the pipes after getting married and raising a family. It appears to be the last interview the declining Moloney gave in public. Mná na bPiob has been produced with assistance from the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and can be viewed on demand on the TG4 Player option.

On Christmas Eve on TG4 at 10:20 pm Irish time there will be a televised celebration called Joe Burke-Ceiliúradh.

Legendary Galway musician Burke died in February 2021 under the restrictive circumstances of the current pandemic. It just wasn’t possible to acclaim him properly back then, but the next production will attempt to do so now.

The TG4 release describes the program as “a special evening of celebration with family and friends in memory of Joe Burke, including the performances of his wife, herself an extraordinary accordion player, Ann Conroy.” We will celebrate the man who lifted many hearts with his mind and storytelling and influenced countless musicians around the world. Some of them will be heard in this program, with performances by Ann Conroy Burke, Mary Conroy, Frankie Gavin, Charlie Lennon, Eileen O’Brien, Máire Ní Chathasaigh, Liz and Yvonne Keane, Jackie Daly, Dermot Byrne, Máire Ní Chathasaigh agus Conchubhar Luasa.

Burke was not only an amazing musician, but also a teacher and archivist whose personal philosophy “you don’t just play music for life. Music becomes your life, ”explains why he was one of the most dominant musicians of his generation and will be further documented in this most worthy program produced by Aniar TV.

On Monday December 27 at 8:15 p.m., first airing on TG4 is a magnificent concert called Róisin Reimagined initially presented at St. Canice’s Cathedral in Kilkenny in August as part of the annual Kilkenny Arts Festival.

Starring one of Ireland’s finest voices in Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh with the Irish Chamber Orchestra produced by Donal O’Connor, he reflects the majesty of Gaelic Ireland through his music and songs like “Róisin Dubh “And” Mo Ghile Mear “in a beautiful and historic setting.

TG4 programming at Christmas and all year round is the giveaway that continues to be offered either via live broadcast or through its player option at The above shows can be viewed there but also the following: Cherish the Ladies Christmas in Ireland concert from 2020; Anuna on a cold winter night (24th); Mighty Ocean by Mairtin O’Connor (26th); 2021 TG4 Gradam Ceoil (31st); Us Banjo 3 (31); The Chieftains Live at the Montreux Festival (January 2).

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