Two Mayo harpists, Éadaoin Ní Mhaicín and Alannah Thornburgh, will be amongst the competitors taking to the stage in the final for the Seán Ó Riada Gold Medal in Cork on February 3, which will be broadcast live on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta music show Cuireadh chun Ceoil.
Éadaoin Ní Mhaicín, from Balla, is a final year student in teacher training at St Patrick’s College in Drumcondra. She has numerous All-Ireland titles for Harp, Fiddle, Piano and Lilting, and in May 2013 she was chosen to be a Music Ambassador for Ireland during Ireland’s Presidency of the European Union. She was also a member of the National Folk Orchestra of Ireland for the performance of a new suite, Macalla, composed by Michael Rooney to commemorate the 1916 Rising. The Orchestra toured major cities in Ireland and Britain throughout this past year. She was also involved in another unique 1916 commemoration, Caithréim, a celebration of the writings of P.H. Pearse in music, song and words produced and directed by Dr Síle Denvir.
Alannah Thornburgh is from Carracanada in Swinford, where she attended Scoil Mhuire agus Pádraig. She recently graduated from Maynooth University with a degree in Music and English, winning the Music Class Prize for the best results in her class, and is currently studying for a Professional Masters in Education in Maynooth University. She has won numerous All-Ireland titles in solo competitions and was also a member of the All-Ireland winning céilí band Tiarna Mhaigh Eo in 2011. She teaches regularly at summer schools across the country, and also for CCÉ Michael Davitt in Swinford.
Éadaoin and Alannah will be joined by other harpists, and also pipers, for the final, a total of 14 musicians. A winner in each instrument category (harp and pipes) will receive the Seán Ó Riada Gold Medal and they will also share a cash prize of €2,500.
Flute player Tim McHugh from Newport was the last Mayo winner of the medal, in 2012. Tune to RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta on Friday, February 3 from 7pm for the final, broadcast live on Cuireadh chun Ceoil, presented by Peadar Ó Riada. You can also listen live online, or listen back, at www.rte.ie/rnag.