A family affair as Limerick musicians take top traditional music award

Michelle, Mick and Louise Mulcahy at the TG4 Gradam Ceoil Awards.

MICK Mulcahy and his daughters Louise and Michelle gave a new meaning to the term family harmony when the West Limerick trio took one of the top accolades at this year’s TG4 Gradam Ceoil Awards.

Also known as ‘the Oscars of traditional music’, the awards honour musicians who have advanced, strengthened, and preserved traditional music in Ireland.

The category for best music group went to the Abbeyfeale father and daughters who are successful solo musicians in their own right as well as being highly regarded as a trio.

Mick Mulcahy plays accordion, melodeon and concertina. He was a member of the Brosna Céilí Band, winners of the All-Ireland title in 1972. An acclaimed composer and recording musician, he  released two solo albums, Mick Mulcahy (1976), and Mick Mulcahy and Friends (1990).

Louise began playing the tin whistle when she was five years old and later moved on to the flute, with Matt Molloy and Eamon Cotter as significant influences on her style. At age 13 she started to learn the uilleann pipes and is now a highly regarded musician in a largely male-dominated instrument. She is a performing musician, a tutor in the pipes and flute, and released solo album ‘Tuning the Road’ in 2014.

Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter

Michelle also learned the tin whistle from age five and went on to play the button accordion, concertina, harp, fiddle, piano and melodeon. In 2006, she was awarded the Gradam Ceoil Young Musician Award and, in 2007, she performed on the Bill Whelan album ‘The Connemara Suite’ alongside Zoë Conway and the Irish Chamber Orchestra. She is also an academic and her PhD research topic exploring the harp traditions of Burma and Ireland is the first of its kind.

The Mulcahys have recorded four albums together, representing the styles and repertoires of Sliabh Luachra, Clare and East Galway – The Mulcahy Family (1999), Notes From the Heart (2005), Reelin in Tradition (2009), and The Reel Note (2016).

The other Gradam Ceoil award recipients were Mick O’Brien  (musician); Síle Denvir (singer); Méabh Smyth (young musician); Maurice Lennon (composer) and Fintan Vallelly (lifetime achievement).

The awards ceremony and concert will be broadcast live by TG4 from University Concert Hall, Limerick on Sunday, April 23 at 9.30pm