Gale force winds blowing across Scartaglin last Saturday night had little or no impact on the Gael force within the local heritage centre. There, the Sliabh Luachra Young Musician of the Year Award was being decided and competition among the five finalists was stiff. The evening provided a feast of musical riches demonstrating again that the unique Sliabh Luachra style is in safe hands.
The centre played host to the event, which saw five young musicians from Kerry and Cork shortlisted for the prestigious award. Competing were: Niamh Dalton and Bryan O’Leary, Gneeveguilla; Darragh Curtin, Brosna; Liam O’Shea, Currow and Cliona Halley, Castlemartyr and the highly respected box player, Bryan O’Leary emerged the winner.
The award is jointly funded by Cork County Arts Office and Kerry County Arts Office in support of the continued development of the Sliabh Luachra Music Trail.
The evening was attended by the Cathaoirleach of the Killarney Municipal District Cllr. John Joe Culloty, Deputy Mayor of Cork County, Cllr. Timmy Collins, Minister Jimmy Deenihan and Sean Kelly, MEP. Cllr Collins said he was happy to cross the border once again to support the work of the arts offices, music festivals, teachers and students and all those involved in the Sliabh Luachra music trail.
This joint project focuses on promoting awareness of the unique repertoire of Sliabh Luachra music as well as fostering the next generations of musicians.
Both Cllr Culloty and Cllr Collins commended the work by the Arts Officers in Kerry and Cork, Kate Kennelly and Ian McDonagh.
“They work extremely hard, as I know from experience, they promote arts across the county working with individuals, groups, festivals, venues, schools and organisations. They are dynamic and fight for the arts when so many other demands are made on council resources,” said Mayor Culloty on his native patch.
Minister Deenihan said that the reach of Sliabh Luachra music is global. There is great interest in the music style and music masters over the decades. He thanked the performers and audience for their continued support of the Sliabh Luachra Music Trail.
Bean a Ti at the centre, Bridie Garvey pointed out there were two people present on the night not to be envied: Adjudicators, Paudie O’Connor, box player and Connie O’Connell, fiddle player. Theirs was a difficult task, the finalists were outstanding. It was not an easy decision. Tthe standard on the night was inspiring,” said Ms. Garvey.
Kate Kennelly thanked the members of the media present stating that raising the profile of such events, the talent and skill of our young musicians is truly important.
A number of festivals, music masterclasses and sessions will take place in the Cork and Kerry Sliabh Luachra areas over the coming months. The Sliabh Luachra Young Musician of the Year, 2015, Bryan O’Leary will be performing as will the other finalists. Bryan won €500 and the organisers are looking into a possible link with a music trail in America.
Minister Deenihan said he would love to see the winner playing at prestigious traditional music festivals as part of a similar, music trail abroad.
“’This is world class music; it shows people across the world the value of our music and culture,” said Minister Deenihan. For more information on the area and its music see: www.sliabhluachra.ie