Sean Butler joint winner last year with his mentor Paudie O'Connor. Photo Credit: Ciaran Kelly

Opening Calls for Young Musician Award at Pádraig Ó’Keefe Festival

The Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Music Festival is excited to announce it is opening calls for its ‘Young Musician Award’ for 2023. One of the largest traditional music festivals in the country, it takes place over 5 days, from the 26th  to the 30th October 2023. 

The award presents an opportunity for aspiring young musicians, who ascribe to the Sliabh Luachra style to perform at the festival’s prestigious Sliabh Luachra Concert.

Young Musician Award Criteria:

  1. The entrants must introduce themselves at the beginning of the video, cite their musical influences, teachers etc.
  2. Two sets of tunes, with at least one set to be associated with the music of Sliabh Luachra.
  3. Video must be submitted to by ‘We Transfer’
  4. All under 18 applicants must have their application sent in by their parent/guardian
  5. Closing Date for submission is Friday the 22nd of September at 11.59pm

The winners will receive a stipend, as well as accommodation on the night of the concert (October 28th) in The River Island Hotel.

In 2021, the inaugural winner Simon Crehan was tutored by the legendary Connie O’Connell before they performed in concert together. Last year there were two winners Seán Butler and Megan McGinley. Seán worked with Paudie O’Connor and Megan with Máire O’Keeffe before playing together at a sold out event in The River Island Hotel

The festival welcomes applications from around the country and indeed the world. We had over 100 entrants last year and the standard was exceptionally high. Applications are open to all young musicians over 16 years of age. This year, like last year, there will be a male winner and a female winner.

The winner will be chosen by an independent panel of musicians. They will then be invited to choose a musical hero of theirs, with help and guidance from the committee. They will meet the tutor 3 times before the festival. The winners will perform a solo piece and a duet with their tutor in the Sliabh Luachra Concert on Saturday the 28th of October.


Dedication to the Music of Sliabh Luachra Award

The committee has chosen PJ Teahan as this year’s recipient of the hugely prestigious ‘Dedication to the Music of Sliabh Luachra’ award. The award, first included in the noughties at the 1993-established Castleisland festival, is presented to honour the chosen recipients dedication to the music of the Sliabh Luachra area. Highly influential RTE Radio presenters, the late Dr Ciarán MacMathúna and festival founding member Peter Browne, were among the first to receive the award in 2000 and in 2002 respectively. Other notable winners include Paddy Cronin, Johnny O’Leary, Jackie Daly, Jimmy Doyle, Matt Cranitch, to name but a few.

“PJ Teahan is the founder of ‘Handed Down’ a series of lectures and performances which take place quarterly throughout the year.  The series shines a light on Sliabh Luachra music and musicians from the past, and puts a huge emphasis on promoting and preserving the local tradition. The ‘World Fiddle Day’ festival has become one of the highlights of the Sliabh Luachra calendar, and again this is all down to PJ and his small team of volunteers. Well done PJ, a most worthy winner,” the Committee said. 

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