The 2019 Livies
LiveIreland announces the 2019 Livies Awards, and here they are! These are the seven best for 2019 in the field of Irish Traditional Music. They will all be featured in a special edition of the Bill & Imelda Show. We will feature them in the presentation show on Sunday, January 13, Tuesday, January 15thand Thursday, January 17th at 18:00 GMT all three days. We will also be featuring a write-up and a video here over the course of the next two weeks for each of the individual winners. Our whole motivation is to help publicize their magic on a worldwide basis. Our platform is well known for The Livies, and the massive, instantaneous international exposure of these Awards is specifically designed to help these artists expand their worldwide following. The envelopes, please!
Newcomer of the Year – Eimear Arkins
This incredibly gifted young woman is at the very beginning of what will be a stunning career. Immensely talented, she is a triple threat. Eimear is a wonderful vocalist, fiddle player, and step dancer. All of these are performed at a world-class level, and have most recently been showcased as a special guest star in the Paul Brock Band. This band, under different titles and personnel, has been THE major greenhouse for famous Irish Traditional musicians. So many of the “greats” have gone through here, including Kevin Crawford, Enda Scahill, Fergal Scahill, Niamh Ni Charra, (and others!) to become formative artists in the music. Eimear will join their ranks. All of this is demonstrated in her album “What’s Next?” We can tell you what’s next, a massive career for a major new talent on the scene. From her native Clare to her current residence in St.Louis, she is a wonder. Did we mention she also plays some harp? Take a look at her picture; this is what talent looks like!
Concert of the Year – Maire Ni Chathasaigh & Chris Newman
It was 92*f last summer in Chicago when Maire Ni Chathasaighand Chris Newman appeared at Chief O’Neill’s in Chicago. They had been in to teach a week-long series of tutorials in the tradition to a large number of local music students. The week was completed with a concert at Chief O’Neill’s. The concert was upstairs, where it was approximately 148 degrees. The air conditioner had to be turned off because it was too loud and interfered with this miraculous music. In spite of shirt-soaking humidity and jungle heat, the two were–as usual–brilliant. Flawless. This was not just a memorable concert from two masters of their instruments (harp and acoustic guitar), it was a lesson in total professionalism to the students who were there. It turned into an unforgettable night. We will long remember the heat and humidity. Longer still, we will remember their performance. Absolutely stunning.
Male Musician of the Year – Chris Newman
What we want to do here is simply direct your attention to the previous comments about Concert of the Year. As Chris and Maire have performed thousands of shows together, one stunning fact has emerged; they have both simply become better and better. Maire is unquestionably the greatest harpist in Irish music, and we don’t think you would get much argument about that. We also can tell you that Chris Newman is the best acoustic guitar player in Ireland. His performance is an absolute tour-de-force. He is a marvel. We could go on and on but we would be repeating ourselves. Chris Newman is a gift.
Female Musician of the Year – Ailie Robertson
Several cd’s with the group Outside Track, three solo albums and multiple published books mark this brilliant harpist as someone special. The brand new album, “Rise Up” by Outside Track simply solidifies what is well known within the music. This lovely lady’s music constantly reaffirms what it means to be simultaneously, deeply gifted in several creative areas. But, the harp is Ailie’s wheelhouse. She composes, arranges, teaches and inspires daily. In demand as a session artist as well, she herself constantly “rises up”. It is no accident that the very first notes you hear on Rise Up are Ailie’s harp laying down the rhythmic route for the entire project. It is hard to give these Awards and not repeat the same words a few times. For now, let’s repeat “beautiful” and “stunning”. Her music is both. And, so is she.
Male Vocalist of the Year – Daoiri Farrell
Daoiri Farrell is wonderful. With two albums already under his belt, his appearance at Irish Fest in Milwaukee cemented his position as the music’s next Luke Kelly. Hyperbole? Nope. Like Kelly, Daoiri is a Dubliner with an absolutely pure and distinct voice. Once you hear it, it is a part of you. He has also played in a group called Fourwinds, but by far, his solo work is the secret to his success and his future. Standing alone on a major stage at Irish Fest at Milwaukee, he treated several large audiences to the magic that is propelling his award-winning career. He spent 10years as an electrician in Dublin before following his dream. It has worked. It was not until the day that we were preparing this information on Daoiri that we found out that back in the early days of LiveIreland, he was a regular presenter!! There is even a video of him on YouTube in our studio! But, we are not playing any hometown favorites. Daoiri Farrell is unique. No one else sounds like him, and no one has a way with a traditional tune like he does. Luke’s legacy is in very capable hands, and will be for a long time.
Female Singer of the Year – Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh
No debate. No talk. She is the best female singer in Irish Traditional Music. This was amply demonstrated again in her 2018 album, “Foxglove & Fuschia.” Formerly the lead singer for Danu, Muireann is also a lovely flute player — an aspect of her talent that is easily overlooked because of her singing. This is the third time that she has won Female Vocalist of the Year on LiveIreland. We play her constantly on the Bill&ImeldaShow. She left Danu a few years ago and continues to produce brilliant music with that voice. Oh, that voice! Sensational music. Beyond her unmatched vocal and arrangement skills is her impeccable musical taste. In her early years, Muireann lived on a succession of Ireland’s islands off the west coast and absorbed her haunting and pure voice from those mystical places. Front to back, she is the deal. There is simply no one better.
Album of the Year – The Next Chapter
Connla wins again with their 2018 outing, “The Next Chapter”. This uber-talented quintet from Northern Ireland has successfully launched themselves into the upper strata of the tradition. Most of their tunes are originals. Their vocals fit their music perfectly. Connla’s star turn at Irish Fest in Milwaukee last summer shot them into major international prominence. As with so many of these artists that we discover for you and present for the first time on a worldwide stage here on LiveIreland, they seem be following the same trajectory as We Banjo 3. That group went from “Who is We Banjo 3?” to “We have to have We Banjo 3 for our festival!!” In the “I wish we had thought of that” department, one reviewer referred to Connla as being Lunasa 2.0. That is perfect, and we don’t think it puts them in a niche. It is simply an apt description for something that is brand new, yet totally traditional at the same time. This is no easy trick, which is why so few succeed at it. Check them out at their website and you’ll hear what we are talking about–the highest of enjoyable musical artistry.