The young traditional music group Finscéal from County Limerick realised their dream of becoming the Siansa Gael Linn 2019 winners! At the Grand Finale concert in the National Concert Hall on Sunday, 7 April 2019, they were chosen from among eight finalists of a high standard for this prestigious award. Siansa is a competition for young traditional Irish music and singing groups, organised annually by Gael Linn, with support from RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta and Irish Music Magazine.
Áine Hensey, popular presenter with RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, compered the show which was broadcast live by the station on both radio and Facebook on the night. Each participating group – ‘Cuisle’, Co. Clare, ‘Léargas’, Co. Tipperary and ‘Tigh Tara’, Coleraine, Co. Derry, along with ‘Aontacht’ from Sligo, ‘Finscéal’ from Co. Limerick and ‘Lonrach’ from Co. Laois, and two groups from Mayo, ‘Ildánach’ and ‘Siar’, delighted the capacity audience with their programmes of carefully selected and thoughtfully arranged traditional tunes and songs.
Such was the musicianship, that there was stiff competition for the prize fund of €4,500, and it fell to renowned traditional musicians Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, Bernadette Nic Gabhann and Seán McElwain to choose the prizewinners. There was great rejoicing among their supporters when ‘Finscéal’ were announced in first place! There are eight young musicians in the group – Séamus Dundúrtaigh, Karl Ó Raifeartaigh, Emily Ní Chondúin, Áine Ní Shíocháin, Eoin de Búrca, Breandán de Paor, Laoise Nic Ghiobúin and Micheál Mac Giobúin. Mentor Sheila Cagney was delighted with their success! They were awarded the Siansa Gael Linn trophy, along with €2,500. In second place was Léargas from Tipperary - Conchúr Ó Nualláin, Breandán Ó Conaill, Tara Fahey, Lauryn Bhreathnach, Ademar Ó Maolchluiche, Naoise Kettle, Cian Ó Conghaile and Keelan Mac Craith – and they took home a prize of €1,250. Third place and a prize of €750 went to Siar from Mayo – Pádraig Mac Eachmharcaigh, Deirdre Seoighe, Conor Mac Eachmharcaigh, Maitiú Ó Duilleáin, Caitríona Seoighe, Kyle Ó Hamhsaigh, Cillian Mac Conghaile and Caoilte Ó Cuanaigh.
Each young musician who took part in the final was also presented with a memento of the occasion. Congratulations to them all and to their mentors, teachers and parents who helped and encouraged them throughout the competition!
Thanking RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta and Irish Music Magazine for their ongoing support of the competition, Gael Linn CEO, Antoine Ó Coileáin said: Gael Linn, with the help of Raidió na Gaeltachta who broadcast a special programme to mark the event, recently celebrated another famous concert, ‘Ó Riada sa Gaiety’ which was organised by Gael Linn 50 years ago this month. Both the concert and the album recorded on that night are widely regarded as the launch pad for a huge resurgence in the popularity of traditional Irish music at the time and which has prospered ever since. Tonight in the National Concert Hall, perhaps we have witnessed the beginnings of another famous group like Ceoltóirí Chualainn who provided the music on that memorable night in the Gaiety!’
The performances of each group who took part in the Siansa final on the National Concert Hall stage may be viewed on TG4’s ‘Molscéal’ page and on YouTube shortly.
Siansa Gael Linn 2019 winners, "Finscéal" from Limerick, alongside (from the left on back row), Robert Heuston, Irish Music Magazine, Gearóid Mac Donncha, ceannaire, RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta and Antoine Ó Coileáin, Gael Linn CEO (on right).
Gearóid Mac Donncha, Ceannaire RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltacha, presents the second place prize at Siansa Gael Linn 2019 final to the group "Léargas", from Tipperary. In the photograph as well are (from the left on the back row) Robert Heuston, Irish Music Magazine and Antoine Ó Coileáin, Gael Linn CEO (back row, on right).
The group "Siar" from Mayo accepted the third place prize from Robert Heuston, Irish Music Magazine. Appearing in the photograph as well is Antoine Ó Coileáin (back row, on right)