The shortlist for the upcoming RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Awards on Thursday 26 November is announced today. RTÉ can also reveal that Irish folk legend, Steve Cooney, as this year’s recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Steve Cooney has been a towering presence in Irish Music since he arrived here from Australia in 1980. From his first gigs with Stockton’s Wing to his musical relationships with Séamus Begley, Martin Hayes, Iarla Ó Lionáird, Altan, Sharon Shannon, Mary Black and so many others his unique style of guitar playing is always instantly recognisable. Through his playing with Seamus Begley in the 1990s in West Kerry he developed a new style of guitar accompaniment for Irish dance music which, powerfully showcased the pulse and nuance of the music and influenced a future generation of guitar players.
He is equally skillful in the quieter moments, painting the colours in the songs or bringing the tunes of the ancient harpers to life as he has done beautifully on his recent album Ceol Ársa Cláirsí: Tunes of the Irish Harpers for Solo Guitar. In addition to being a player he is also much in demand as a composer, arranger and producer.
Away from the guitar, he is a passionate advocate for the rights of musicians and in 2018 he completed a PhD at NCAD on an intuitive musical notation system.
Commenting on this award Nuala O’Connor of the RTÉ Radio 1 Executive Steering Committee said: “To hear him play and be in his presence is always a profound experience for listener and player alike. This Lifetime Achievement Award is an acknowledgment of Steve’s deep abiding commitment to his art and the glories that this has produced for all our soul’s enrichment.”
John Creedon and Ruth Smith will once again present the awards ceremony as RTÉ celebrates the significant contribution folk musicians and bands have made to Irish culture. The awards will be broadcast live on RTÉ Radio 1 from 8pm to 10pm. On the night, listeners will be treated to specially recorded performances from many of those nominated.
Celebrating the third year of the dedicated folk awards to be held in Ireland, categories include Folk Singer of the Year, Best Folk Album of the Year, Best Original Folk Track of the Year, Best Traditional Folk of the Year, Best Folk Group of the Year, Folk Instrumentalist of the Year and the Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition, a performer will be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
RTÉ RADIO 1 FOLK AWARDS SHORTLIST 2020
Best Folk Instrumentalist
Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh
Best Folk Singer
Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh
Best Folk Album
Ceol Ársa Cláirsí: Tunes of the Irish Harpers for Solo Guitar – Steve Cooney
Hemet – Níamh Regan
So Ends This Day – Eilís Kennedy
The Livelong Day – Lankum
Best Folk Group
The Bonny Men
The Lost Brothers
Best Original Track of the Year
Baby Talk – Mick Flannery & SON
Dynamite – Saint Sister
Flow in the Year of Wu Wei – Brian Finnegan
The Beauty Of Everyday Things – Luka Bloom
The Young People – Lankum
Best Traditional Track of the Year
Eleanor Plunkett – Steve Cooney
O’Neill’s March – Martin Hayes & Brooklyn Ryder
Port na bPúcaí – Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh
Tabhair Dom do Lámh – Steve Cooney
The Broken Pledge – The Bonny Men
The Pride of Petravore – Lankum
The Old Maids of Galway – Liam Flanagan & Claire O’Loughlin
The Wild Rover – Lankum