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MÓRglór Award Winners The Shannon Family Announced

Photo © Eamon Ward

glór is delighted to announce that this year’s annual MÓRglór Award 2021 has been awarded to Garry Shannon, Majella Shannon, Sharon Shannon, and Mary Shannon.

An inspiration to many musicians, both in Clare, nationally and internationally, and outstanding ambassadors for the traditional arts in Clare, the Shannons are from Bealacana in the parish of Ruan.  They were all involved on the farm as they grew up and consequently still have a love of the outdoors life.  Their early exposure to music was mainly through the singing of their parents Mary and IJ and later through records and tapes of Trad, Country, and Pop music.  They started in the late 70s on tin whistles at the Teach Ceoil in Corofin under the tutelage of musicians such as Tom Barrett, John Byrt, Tony Linnane and Gus Tierney.  As time went on, they soaked up the music of bands such as The Mellow Men, The Prodigal Sons and The Grogans in the local lounge bars in the company of their parents.

They spent years competing at the Fleadhanna Ceoil, but the music was truly embedded only when it became their social outlet through attending Friday night sessions driven by Frank Custy in Toonagh Hall.  Playing for dance became second nature with Frank’s Toonagh Céilí Band and soon, they were also recording and touring abroad with Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráin’s Dísirt Tóla.

Since then, they have all travelled independent avenues at home and abroad as performers and as teachers, with Sharon in particular achieving exceptional international recognition as a collaborator and crossover performer.

Over a 35-year career, Sharon has become one of Ireland’s most highly respected musicians.  She has toured the world and won countless awards.  She has appeared on dozens of albums as a soloist and in collaboration with other artists.  Though a Clarewoman to the bone, she is forever associated with the immensely popular song Galway Girl.

A banjo player, Mary is well-known for her work with her band ‘The Bumblebees’ and was also a member of ‘The Woodchoppers’ with the Kane sisters, Sharon, Jim Murray, and Tony Molloy. A multi-instrumentalist and composer, she played in Glastonbury, Japan, Australia, US, and Canada and featured in various combinations of Sharon’s bands. She is a regular at many sessions around North Clare.

On fiddle, Majella toured with Dísirt Tóla in the 80s and featured on numerous recordings.  She is a respected fiddle teacher and is a successful coach of bands and groups for fleádh competitions with Garry.  Her daughter Caoilinn recently presented the Heartlands series for TG4 with Sharon.

The eldest of the family, Garry is an innovative fluteplayer.  Over the years, he has travelled and featured on several albums with groups and as a soloist.  He is especially associated with the Kilfenora Band.  Garry also teaches flute and runs Meitheal, a residential summer school for high-performance young musicians.

On Saturday November 6th, the people of Clare will come together to acknowledge a depth of gratitude to The Shannon family for their enormous contribution to traditional Irish music with a concert in glór featuring the family, friends, and extended family, along with some of the most renowned traditional musicians and singers in the county and the country.

Orla Flanagan, glór’s Director, says we are thrilled to share the wonderful news about Garry, Majella, Sharon and Mary as Awardees of this year’s MÓRglór. I am delighted that all four of their unique contributions to the traditional music landscape in Clare and beyond will be celebrated in a memorable concert produced by Dr Tim Collins that will be even more special now that audiences can return to glór.

For further information and booking click HERE

The Shannon Family MÓRglór 2021 tickets are now on sale at www.glor.ie and on 065 6843103. This event will adhere to current government guidelines and tickets are strictly limited.

The Concert will also be recorded and available to view as a ticketed event online from 10th – 24th November to enable people far and wide to access it (Tickets €10 plus €1 booking fee).

The Shannons say ‘they feel hugely honoured to be the recipients of the 2021 MÓRglór award in a county where there are so many equally deserving musical families whose long-suffering parents also traipsed over the years with them to sessions, competitions, rehearsals and disasters through thick and thin with patience and tolerance.  They dedicate the award to Mary (RIP) and IJ and to those many other parents who foster music in their kids – unsung heroes all!’

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, selects 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); Chris Droney, (2018); Mary MacNamara (2019).

Tickets on Sale now

€25/€22 Conc. plus €1 booking fee