Friday, 15 February 2013

Competition for young Irish musicians: An Ré Nua - The New Era

Donal Lunny
Cover of Donal Lunny

In search of the best new talent on the trad/folk scene

Young emerging acts with their own unique brand of Irish traditional music are encouraged to take part in an exciting new project in association with Comhaltas Dhoire and Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin.

‘An Ré Nua ~ the New Era’ is a competition designed to encourage young and innovative musicians to compete against each other for a chance to kick start a career in folk and traditional music.

Bands, duos and singers will have the opportunity to perform at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, sharing a bill with popular acts such as Flook, Beoga, Cara Dillon, Tim Edey & Brendan Power, and Dervish.

Eibhlín Ní Dhochartaigh, chairperson of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann and Arts Development Officer at Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin said: ‘I’m really excited about this new project. It’s the perfect way to gear the city up for the overload of great music we will have in August, but it also gives young musicians a fantastic platform for furthering a career in music.’

The winners from each of the three categories will record their music for a new compilation album called An Ré Nua 2013, showcasing the high standard of contemporary trad/folk music from young musicians. They will will also receive a mastercopy of their music as an EP.

Odhrán Ó Maoláin, the project co-ordinator, says the opportunity is too good to refuse: ‘The eyes of the cultural sector are on Derry this year, making it the ideal location for the An Ré Nua project. Acts that take part should expect maximum exposure to the folk music industry and loads of media interest.’

The winners will have their music professionally recorded and the album will be launched at the first ever Fleadh Cheoil in Derry City. They will also be booked for a prestigious gig as part of the Fleadh’s illustrious live music line-up. In addition, all finalists will get a showcase spot at Music City, another major music event in the City of Culture programme.

The preliminary heats will coincide with Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin’s monthly arts programme for 2013, giving all competitors the opportunity to share a stage with the hottest acts on the traditional music scene. This will include visits from the likes of Lau, who are several times winner of ‘Best Group’ at the BBC Radio 2 Folk  Awards and whose recent album Race The Loser was received to widespread critical acclaim, earning a five star review from the Guardian and a spot on Later… with Jools Holland.

Goitse, Rura, Donal Lunny, Pádraig Rynne and Sylvian Barou are also names involved in the project, with the first heat taking place on 8th March, followed by an energetic live set from the ever popular PJ McDonald, Bríd Harper, Gerdy Thompson and bodhrán maestro John Joe Kelly.

There will be three categories in the competition: bands, duos and singers. The competition is open to participants in the UK and Ireland and there is no age limit. New emerging musical acts are advised not to miss out on this exciting new project which could be the perfect launch pad for a career in Irish folk music.

Entries must be submitted by 1st March 2013 and anyone interested can register online at or call the fleadh office on +44(0)28 71 373 573.

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