MÓRglór Award Winner Mary MacNamara to be celebrated in a memorable concert featuring the best musicians in the county & country on Saturday 16th November
glór is delighted to announce that this year’s annual MÓRglór Award 2019 has been awarded to legendary concertina player, Mary MacNamara.
An inspiration to many musicians, both in Clare, nationally and internationally, and an outstanding ambassador for the traditional arts in Clare, Mary returned to live in her home place of Tulla, Co. Clare in 1995 and set herself the task of restoring traditional music to its rightful place as an integral part of the fabric of life in East Clare. In that, she has been successful as attested by the swathe of wonderful young musicians who are now enjoying the heritage of music in East Clare.
It was almost inevitable that Mary Mac Namara would become a musician, having been reared in a house full of music. Her mother Ita, came from a long line of musicians and had an innate knowledge of music. Mary’s father Andy brought the children to sessions in Lena’s of Feakle where they listened to the wonderful rhythmic music of icons of tradition such as Bill Malley, Joe Bane, P Joe Hayes, John Naughton and Martin Rochford.
In 1979 Mary teamed up with Martin Hayes and they won All Ireland honours, and in that same year Mary was the All Ireland senior concertina champion. Working in Dublin at the time, Mary had the honour of playing with John Kelly of Kilbaha and Joe Ryan of Inagh in The Four Seasons bar and this opened the door to a whole new world of musicians. She soon became a member of Ireland’s first all-female band Macalla led by Seosaimhín Ní Bheaglaoich. She later played music regularly with Breanndán Ó Beaglaoich and became a member of the band Seana Choirce.
While in Dublin Mary taught concertina in The Pipers Club, (Na Piobairí Uilleann), but her full-time job and passion was teaching music to the boys of St Joseph’s School for the visually impaired in Drumcondra.
In 1994 Mary released her first album Traditional Music from East Clare with guests P Joe Hayes and Martin Hayes. It has received wide acclaim over the 25 years since its release and was voted by The Irish Times as traditional music album of that year.
Since 1982 she has toured extensively, notably to Germany, France, England, Scotland, USA, Japan, Australia and New Zealand and has released numerous recordings are including The Lady’s Cup of Tea; Note for Note; Mary MacNamara – Traditional Music from East Clare and The Blackberry Blossom.
On Saturday 16 November, the people of Clare will come together to acknowledge a depth of gratitude to Mary for her enormous contribution to Traditional Irish Music with a concert in glór featuring Mary’s friends and family, and some of the most renowned traditional musicians and singers in the country and the county. For information and booking, please click here.
‘glór is thrilled to recognise and celebrate Mary MacNamara’s significant contribution to the development and promotion of traditional music in Clare as well as nationally and internationally. We look forward to a concert which will celebrate Mary’s lifelong commitment to sharing her considerable expertise along with her enduring passion for the music of East Clare.’ Patricia Callaly, Interim Director,
County Clare is renowned and celebrated globally for its rich musical heritage with music, song and dance all playing a central role in the cultural life of the county.
MÓRglór is an acknowledgement and celebration by glór of the wealth of professional & semi-professional artists, alongside the talented individuals, groups and communities within the county, all of whom provide a vital stimulus for the growth and development of Clare’s unique culture. This prestigious annual award, named after Clare’s cultural ambassador and visionary, Muiris Ó Rocháin, is curated by glór in partnership with Dr. Tim Collins as producer of the event, and who coordinated the original concert in 2013.
An anonymous panel of traditional arts practitioners and experts, assembled by glór, invites an Awardee, fitting with the objectives and spirit of MÓRglór. The previous MÓRglór recipients were Corofin Traditional Music Festival (2014); Eoin O’Neill (2015); Frank Custy (2016); Geraldine Cotter (2017) and Chris Droney, (2018).