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Author: Press Officer

Four Illustrious Names Join the IMRO Radio Awards Hall Of Fame 2023

The IMRO Radio Awards Hall of Fame, since its initiation, stands as a beacon of excellence in the realm of Irish radio. Past inductees have been luminaries of the industry, with names such as Joe Duffy, Marian Finucane, Pat Kenny, Ian Dempsey, Aine Lawlor, and Gay Byrne gracing the honour roll.

This Wednesday, September 13, the annual Hall of Fame ceremony will take place at the IMRO office in Dublin. The IMRO Radio Awards Committee proudly announce the induction of four new members into its Hall of Fame. These inductees, chosen by an esteemed group of their contemporaries in the Irish radio community, span from national to local broadcasting. They have been selected not just for their longevity in the industry but for the unparalleled skill, unwavering passion, and deep love for radio they’ve showcased throughout their careers.

The 2023 inductees are:

  • John Bennett MBE from BBC Radio Ulster, whose contributions have left an indelible mark on the broadcasting landscape.
  • Joe Finnegan from Shannonside Northern Sound is celebrated for his captivating voice and compelling storytelling.
  • Paddy Halpenny, formerly of Communicorp, whose leadership and vision have been instrumental in shaping the direction of Irish radio.
  • And Mary Wilson from RTÉ Radio 1, renowned for her incisive journalism and unwavering dedication to truth in broadcasting.

The legacy these figures are creating is a testament to the power and influence of radio in Ireland. As the IMRO Radio Awards Hall of Fame continues its tradition of honouring the best in the industry, the class of 2023 is a reminder of the enduring impact of these icons in the world of broadcasting.

John Bennett, MBE, is one of Northern Ireland’s best-loved and most versatile personalities. Since joining the BBC in 1956, he has presented music, entertainment, sports, and current affairs programmes with equal prowess. His distinctive voice, warmth and breadth of knowledge have forged special bonds with listeners worldwide for close to 7 decades, sharing in their highs and lows and always giving them a voice.

John launched BBC Radio Ulster, with Gloria Hunniford, on New Year’s Eve in 1973. He is the head of the Station’s family. He is also well-known as “The President” of The Sunday Club – a 2-hour programme of beautifully curated music, mystery voices, yarns and listener requests – closing our weekend out: one which he has presented for the last 44 years. Such is its popularity that in 2015 the Station introduced The Saturday Club to its schedules. Again, John’s charisma and deep understanding of the audience made this a run-away success.

His appreciation of pace and tone and his ability to put even the biggest star at ease make him a master of the long-form interview. His celebrity interview series “With Bennett” has taken him into scores of starry living rooms and hotel foyers – from Spike Milligan to Janet Street-Porter and Jasper Carrot – and his special Christmas morning programme, “Calling Home”, has connected families at home and abroad for several decades.

John presented BBC Radio Ulster’s morning show (9000-1030) for 10 years, from 1993 to 2003. Spanning current affairs, entertainment and music, his understanding of “good radio” made it a superb listen. His irrepressible passion for football also made him a go-to commentator for hundreds of live matches – not least at Wembley Arena.

In January this year, John was awarded an MBE by King Charles III in his inaugural New Year Honours list for services to Television and Radio Broadcasting. This was widely celebrated by listeners, colleagues and industry professionals, coming in his 80th birthday year.

In a news article about The Sunday Club, John recently spoke of his special bond with listeners:

“I get emails, texts and letters from quite literally all over the world. People tune in from Japan, Australia, and the States, and they’re not all ex-pats, just people who picked it up on the internet and like the music. It’s like a family, a communion with a small-c. They write and tell you their problems. It’s nice.

“I’ve had correspondence that has reduced me to tears. People ask me for details of the signature tune that we use because their mother, or their grandmother, wanted it played at their funeral. A fortnight ago someone asked for a dedication for a lady because she was very ill, and apparently, she heard the programme, was delighted to hear her name mentioned and died that night, just afterwards. They just got in touch to say thanks for playing it, to say she so enjoyed it, and that she was happy in the end.”

Joe Finnegan
 is a household name in Irish radio broadcasting, having worked for over 34 years as a highly successful current affairs presenter, journalist, director, and station manager at Shannonside Northern Sound. He started his career in radio in the mid-1980s, and in 1989, he was instrumental in the setup of the station that was Shannonside and was one of its shareholders. Joe was the first voice heard on Shannonside Radio, covering counties Longford, Roscommon, and South Leitrim. In 1995, Shannonside and Northern Sound’s licences were combined to create the first regional station in Ireland, which broadcasts to 5 counties in 3 provinces.

As station manager, he and his fellow directors developed and implemented a successful programme policy which not only made Shannonside Northern Sound the most listened-to station in the region but it also involved the recruitment and training of staff who went on to achieve great recognition within the two main National Broadcasters.

In The RTE Family, Damien O’Reilly, Sinead Hussey, Fran McNulty, Justin Treacy, and Declan Mc Bennett, among others, started out in the Shannonside Northern Sound School of Broadcasting, as did Paul Quinn, Mairead Cleary (Virgin Media) and Grainne McElwain (TG4/GAA GO)

The station consistently remains in the top 5 local radio stations in the country. He was a contributor to the formation of IRS and Learning Waves and would have been the point of contact for the IRTC and the BCI from 1989 until 2007.

The JF Show debuted in 1989 and quickly gained a reputation for its insightful and engaging coverage of local, national, and international news and current affairs. The show features a mix of interviews, debates, and analysis and has become a must-listen for anyone interested in politics, business, or social issues in the region. Joe’s interviewing style is one of the reasons why the JF Show is so popular. He will ask tough questions while still maintaining a respectful and engaging tone with his guests. His ability to put his guests at ease and encourage them to share their thoughts and opinions has made him a favourite among listeners and guests alike. Joe has interviewed everyone from local politicians and community leaders to national and international figures. The JF Show has won numerous awards for his broadcasting, including several PPI/IMRO National Radio Awards.

Following Radio Kerry’s acquisition of Shannonside Northern Sound in 2006, Joe oversaw the transition before stepping down from his role as Programme Controller in 2008. Joe continued to present the JF Show and work with the new management to help continue the success story that is Shannonside Northern Sound.

Joe’s achievements in broadcasting are a testament to his talent and dedication. He has played a pivotal role in the development of Shannonside Northern Sound and has helped to make it one of the most successful radio stations in the country. His work on the JF Show has helped to shape public opinion and has provided a platform for people to engage with important issues in a meaningful way.

In conclusion, Joe Finnegan is a highly accomplished broadcaster who has made an indelible mark on Irish radio for more than 34 years. He is a true icon of Irish broadcasting and a shining example of what can be achieved with hard work, talent, and passion.

Patrick (Paddy) Halpenny, AKA ‘the General,’ was Chief Executive of Communicorp from 1997 to 2013. When he joined Communicorp, it consisted of 98FM in Dublin and Kiss in Prague. During the next fifteen years, Communicorp grew to a portfolio of 42 stations in 9 countries.

Communicorp owned and operated two Irish national stations, two local stations in Dublin and one regional youth station. It became an international radio operator with stations from Dublin to Tallinn, Budapest to Helsinki and Sofia to Kyiv.

Paddy Halpenny thought deeply about the Irish Radio Market and how it should develop into a strong and independent sector that could withstand any number of unforeseen challenges.

As important as the regulator, the shareholders, and the on-air talent are, Paddy believed most in the professional development of the executives who ultimately operate the radio stations on a day-to-day basis. He poured a huge amount of his time into mentoring his people. What Paddy liked to call the “reading and writing” what consultants call the “brilliant at the basics.”

Paddy was a stickler for accuracy in numbers and language, underpinned by his ability for thinking about what was not around the next corner but the fifth next corner!  Paddy steered Newstalk from a Dublin station to a successful National station. He valued creativity and risk, which resulted in the hiring of new talent who were to become our brightest and best.

With the collapse of INN in 2010, he oversaw the replacement of a cost-effective and accurate National hourly news service for local radio.

Paddy is a major contributor to the success of the Irish Radio Sector, and much of what he achieved went unnoticed by those outside the industry.

Deeply private and highly intelligent, Paddy kept a low profile, happy for others to stand in the limelight as he continued to drive the business to the highest standards.

Mary Wilson hails from Drangan in South Tipperary and joined RTÉ’s local radio service in Cork in 1989 after a career in provincial journalism and PR.

Mary later moved to the RTÉ Dublin Newsroom in 1990 to work as a reporter on Morning Ireland and later worked in all areas of radio and TV news as a correspondent, editor and presenter.

Mary was the station’s legal affairs correspondent and editor for ten years, 1996-2006, winning the National Journalist of the Year Award 2000 and multiple awards in the Justice Media Awards for her news and documentary coverage on radio TV and Primetime.

In 2006, Mary was asked to anchor the newly launched Drivetime radio show and stayed with the show for 14 years bringing listenership to a high of 265,000 listeners.

In 2020 she returned to Morning Ireland to join the presenting team on the most listened-to programme in the Irish radio Market.


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IMRO Radio Awards Hall of Fame inductees to date:

Micheál O’Muircheartaigh – RTÉ Radio 1
Jimmy Magee – RTÉ Radio1
Des Whelan – WLR FM
Marian Finucane – RTÉ Radio 1
Gay Byrne – RTÉ Radio1
Larry Gogan – RTÉ 2fm
Mario Rosenstock – Today FM
Gerry Ryan – 2fm
Ronan O’Rahilly – Radio Caroline
Candy Devine – Downtown
Seán Bán Breathnach – RTÉ Raidio Na Gaeltachta
Joe Duffy – RTÉ Radio 1
Bill Goulding – RTÉ
Liam O’Shea – clare fm
Tony Fenton RIP – Today FM
Paul Claffey – Midwest Radio
Áine Lawlor – RTÉ Radio 1
Walter Love – BBC Radio Ulster
Gerry Anderson – BBC Radio Ulster
Pat Balfe – Communicorp
Des Cahill – RTÉ Radio 1
Henry Owens RIP – Red FM
Seamus McKee – BBC Radio Ulster
Eamon Buttle – South East Radio
Trevor Campbell – Downtown Radio
Ian Dempsey – Today FM
Dave Fanning – RTÉ 2fm
Linda McAuley – BBC Radio Ulster
Séamus Mac Géidigh RIP – RTÉ Raidió Na Gaeltachta
Billy McCarthy RIP – WLR FM
Joe King – Broadcast Technical Services Limited
Pat Kenny – Newstalk
Margaret Nelson – FM104/Q102
Willie O’Reilly
Ian Wilson – RTÉ Radio 1 & 2fm
Sean Moncrieff – Newstalk
Ronan Collins – RTÉ Radio 1
Paul Byrne – Radio Kerry
Declan Meehan – East Coast FM
George Hamilton – RTÉ Lyric FM
Patricia Messinger – C103
Stephen Clements RIP – BBC Radio Ulster/Go Q Radio
Rachael English – RTÉ Radio 1
Keith Finnegan – Galway Bay FM
Albert Fitzgerald RIP – Midlands 103

Melodic Magic at City Hall: Tony Floyd Kenna and Downtown Detroit Jon

Prepare yourselves for an unforgettable musical journey as we step into the enchanting world of Culture Night 2023 in Dublin. On this magical evening, two extraordinary songwriters, Tony Floyd Kenna and the enigmatic Downtown Detroit Jon, will grace us with their soul-stirring melodies at the illustrious City Hall Dublin.

Get ready to be transported into a realm of musical wonder as Tony and Jon take the stage, promising to deliver a performance filled with their original compositions that have captured the hearts of audiences far and wide. Among the treasures they’ll be sharing with us are beloved classics like “This Alien Has Landed,” the evocative “July,” the introspective “I Dreamed I Was A Good Man,” and the emotionally charged “Give Me A Reason.”

What makes this evening truly exceptional is the majestic ambiance of City Hall itself. With its renowned acoustics, City Hall is a hallowed venue that will lend an ethereal quality to the already captivating tunes of Tony and Jon.

So, mark your calendars and set your alarms for 4:45 PM on Friday, September 22nd, as the first strum of their guitars.

GIPSY KINGS Turn to IMRO Member for New Single

The legendary Gipsy Kings have turned to IMRO Member, Brendan Graham, for lyrics to their new single ABANDONADO, released this Friday to promote the band’s 2023/2024 world tour. ABANDONADO is taken from the band’s Renaissance album.

The Mayo-based songwriter is best known as the lyricist of You Raise Me Up, and for writing/composing Ireland’s last two winning Eurovision songs, Rock ‘n’ Roll Kids (1994) and The Voice (1996).

Gipsy Kings founder, Tonino Baliardo announcing the news, said: ‘Our new single Abandonado will be out on September 8th. The lyrics will be in English and have been written by Brendan Graham, who wrote the worldwide hit You Raise Me Up by Josh Groban. We are very excited about this release’.

Abandonado (Abandoned) is a typical Gipsy Kings, guitar driven melody, with the passionate emotion of loss and abandonment captured by Baliardo’s extraordinary vocal expression of Graham’s lyric.

‘It was an honour to be asked’ Graham said…’as well as a challenge, to write an English lyric for this legendary band and the unique voice of Tonino Baliardo. It’s one of the joys of being a songwriter when the song works, and it gets embraced by artistes of such stature as the Gipsy Kings’.

Songwriter by Default

Graham, who became a full-time ‘songwriter by default’, in his late 40’s, has had songs recorded and performed by artistes across a wide spectrum of music: Josh Groban w Aretha Franklin, Westlife, The Chieftains w Liam Neeson, Johnny Mathis, opera’s Sumi Jo, Trad & Folk artistes, Dervish, Karen Matheson, Seán & Dolores Keane, etc. Three of the 78-year old’s songs feature on Breath Upon the Flame, the current album from the Dublin Brass Ensemble, featuring Eimear Quinn.

In the Pipeline

Meanwhile, Cathy Jordan, pianist Feargal Murray and guests, have completed STORYBOOK – The Songs of Brendan Graham, set for release in the coming months.

The songwriter will host a gala concert of his songs with the National Symphony Orchestra and a wide range of artistes at the NCH in January 2024.

The Gipsy Kings play Dublin’s Olympia Theatre in March, 2024.

Breaking the Dial: Record entries for IMRO Radio Awards 2023

The biggest moment in the world of Irish radio has arrived! The IMRO Radio Awards proudly presents the shortlist for 2023. Showcasing the best of radio from across the whole island, this year’s awards promise to be an unforgettable celebration. #IMRO23 Gala Awards night will be held at the Lyrath Estate Hotel on Friday 6th October 2023.

This year, the airwaves echoed with an unmatched number of entries, setting a new benchmark for the competition. Regional, Local and national stations from every corner of Ireland brought their A-game, resulting in a challenging yet rewarding judging process.

Over 110 judges dedicated their time and expertise to choose a list that represents the pinnacle of Irish broadcasting. The nominations highlight a diverse range of talent, proving that Irish radio continues to thrive and inspire.

The IMRO Radio Awards committee and headline Sponsors IMRO extends its heartiest congratulations to all the nominees. Their dedication, innovation, and flair truly define the spirit of outstanding broadcasting. Everyone is eagerly awaiting the awards ceremony, where the best will be honoured.

Celene Craig, Broadcasting Commissioner at Coimisiún na Meán, one of the Awards sponsors, commented: “Continuing the support of its predecessor, the BAI, Coimisiún na Meán is delighted to sponsor the IMRO Awards this year. Radio remains a key source of information for people and brings high-quality and diverse programming to listeners across the country. The IMRO Awards showcases the creativity, talent and dedication of those working in radio to deliver such content. I’d like to congratulate all the nominees and wish them luck on the Awards night.”

See for the full list of nominations.

€75 Discount For IMRO Members on the October 22-28, 2023 Inisheer, Ireland Listening Room Songwriting Retreat

IMRO members qualify for €75 off the €1,075 list price (meals/housing/local transport included) for a week of ‘Community Through Co-Writing’ Inisheer, Ireland Listening Room Songwriting Retreat – October 22-28, 2023.

These annual retreats, now in their twentieth year, are led in several countries by award winning, veteran songwriter/founder Brett Perkins, with participation open to writers at all levels, and interest free monthly payment plans available.

Further info and registration via

Attention IMRO Members: Has your music been used in a Sony Playstation game being downloaded in Europe?

In December 2023, our affiliated society PRS for Music will distribute to IMRO royalties from Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe for music used in all games downloaded from the Sony PlayStation Store in 2022.

If you know that your music was used in this way during 2022 in the following countries: UK, Republic of Ireland, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland, we ask that you contact IMRO immediately at or 353 1 6614844.  Deadline for submissions Saturday 30th September 2023.


Shine – New Release from Mike Hanrahan with Gavin Glass and Rachel Grace

S H I N E is dedicated to all those who shine a light into the darkness.”

 “It’s always a joy to work with the wonderful Gavin Glass at his Orphan studios down in Wexford. Thanks to Rachel Grace for the beautiful backing vocals”

Release date July 27th

Written by Mike Hanrahan

 Produced, and arranged by Mike Hanrahan and Gavin Glass

 The album “Songs from the box room” out in October

Mike currently performing with a reunited Stockton’s Wing who signed with Universal records and released a back-catalogue collection in Jan of 2020. The album, Stockton’s Wing Beautiful Affair A Retrospective, reached number one in January 2020 album charts.

A live album Hometown was released in 2022. He is back writing and releasing new songs from his project ‘Songs from the box room.’

His short film on the Irish cultural revolution was premiered at Dublin’s Tradfest in 2022 and is now available on YouTube. He also writes and performs Eleanor Shanley and Irish rock legend Leslie Dowdall.

His song, ‘A River Rolls On’, inspired by his mums’ journey though dementia was recorded and released by Dublin’s dementia friendly choir The Forget-me-nots and supported by Alzheimer’s society of Ireland.

He is currently on a Fellowship with The Global Brain Health Institute at Trinity College Dublin.

Global Creators and Performers Demand Creative Rights in AI Proliferation

With the proliferation of Artificial Intelligence (AI), artists, creators and performers must be respected, human creativity protected, copyright principles remain robust and fair licensing practices developed and implemented. At the same time, global solutions should be adopted to ensure AI companies remunerate artists, performers and human creators whose works are exploited.

The advancement of AI has been rapid and unprecedented. Globally, governments recognize the scale and potential impacts of the use of AI on our daily lives, and as such have prioritised measures to safeguard the interests of the public at large, while also seeking to preserve innovation and technological progress.

The cultural sector and international creative community will be among those most impacted by unbridled development and open use of generative AI models. Policymakers around the world have heard from creators and performers whose works and performances are being used to train AI without their authorisation, remuneration, or even recognition, often under the guise of “research”. There is furthermore a general, societal sense of unease around AI-generated works and the deception of passing off AI works as works of human creativity.

The cultural sector and international creative community acknowledge there are a number of useful and important purposes to which AI more generally is currently being applied. However, in the case of generative AI there is a clear and urgent need for policymakers around the world to take action, adapt and improve current regulatory regimes. It is imperative that the cultural sector and international creative community are at the table in those policy discussions, to ensure their interests are incorporated and, in turn, that AI systems are transparent, ethical, fair and lawful.

The undersigned organisations and entities, which represent over 6 million artists, creators, performers and publishers globally, call upon governments and decision-makers to commit to developing and adopting policies and legislation that are consistent with the following seven principles:

1. Creators’ and performers’ rights must be upheld and protected when exploited by AI systems

AI systems analyse, scrape and exploit vast amounts of data, typically without authorisation. These datasets consist of musical, literary, visual and audiovisual works and performances protected by copyright. Those copyright works and datasets have a value, and creators and performers should be in a position to authorise or prohibit the exploitation of their works and performances and be compensated for such uses.

2. Licensing should be enabled and supported

Licensing solutions should be available for all potential exploitation of copyright works, performances and data by AI systems. This would encourage open exchanges between innovators who require the data, and creators and performers who wish to understand how and to what extent their works will be used.

3. Exceptions for Text and Data Mining which do not provide for effective opt-out by rightsholders should be avoided  

The introduction of exceptions, including for text and data mining (TDM), that permit AI systems to exploit copyright works and performances without authorisation or remuneration must be avoided. Some existing exceptions should be clarified, in order to provide legal certainty for creators of the underlying data and performers, as well as for AI systems wishing to benefit from such data.

4. Credit should be given

Creators and performers must be entitled to obtain recognition and credit when their works and performances have been exploited by AI systems.

5. Transparency obligations should apply to ensure fairer AI practices

Legal obligations relating to disclosure of information should apply. These should cover (i) disclosure of information on the use of creative works and performances by AI systems, in a sufficient manner to allow traceability and licensing (ii) identification of works and performances generated by AI systems, as such. This will ensure a fair approach towards creators, performers and consumers of creative content.

6. Legal responsibility for AI operators

There should be legal requirements for AI companies to keep relevant records. There should also be effective accountability for AI operators for activities and outputs that infringe the rights of creators, performers and rightsholders.

7. AI is only an instrument in the service of human creativity, and international legal understandings should reinforce this

AI models should be considered as simply an instrument at the service of human creativity. While there is a spectrum of possible levels of interactions between humans and AI to consider when defining the protectability of works and performances, policymakers should make clear that fully autonomous AIgenerated works cannot benefit from the same level of protection as human-created works. This topic should be an urgent priority and global discussions should be initiated rapidly.

Signatory Organisations:

AEPO-ARTIS is a non-profitmaking organisation and the paramount voice of performers’ collective management organisations in Europe. Our 38 members represent over 650,000 actors, musicians, dancers, and singers active in the audio and audiovisual sectors.

ALCAM, the Latin American Composer and Songwriter Alliance, is an organisation formed only by authors and composers of Latin America. It works daily to promote and create awareness about the legitimate moral and economic rights of every artist and to promote fair remuneration for their creative work. It is also a platform to unite the interests of creators in Latin America and lobby for their rights and interests.

AMA, the African Music Academy is dedicated to celebrating the achievements of African music creators.

APMA, the Asia-Pacific Music Creators Alliance, was launched at the World Creators Forum in Beijing in November 2016. It brings together songwriters from across the region and its charter of principles and intentions was signed by creators from 15 countries and territories including Australia, Mongolia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Thailand, South Korea, Japan and Vietnam. APMA helps local artists to unite their voices, understand their rights, develop awareness, and guide organisations to protect creators and their works.

CIAGP, the International Council of Creators of Graphic, Plastic and Photographic Arts, brings together creators in the field of visual and plastic arts from around the world. The organisation serves as a forum for the exchange of information, ideas, best practices, experiences, and practical advice on the administration of visual authors’ rights. It includes tools and activities aimed at promoting the moral, professional, economic, and legal interests of visual authors.

CIAM, the International Council of Music Creators, advocates for the cultural and professional aspirations of music creators. CIAM’s mission is to serve as the unified global voice of music creators of all repertoires, and from all regions of the world. CIAM works to support its partner organisations in different regions of the world.

CISAC, the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers, is the world’s leading network of authors’ societies. With 225 member societies in 116 countries, CISAC represents over five million creators from all regions and artistic repertoires, including music, audiovisual, drama, literature, and visual arts. CISAC’s President is singer-songwriter Björn Ulvaeus, co-founder of ABBA. CISAC protects the rights and interests of creators worldwide.

ECSA, the European Composer & Songwriter Alliance, is a European network whose main objective is to defend and promote the rights of music authors on a national, European, and international level. The Alliance advocates for equitable commercial conditions for composers and songwriters and strives to improve the social and economic development of music creation in Europe. ECSA collaborates with its members located all across Europe and strives to improve the social and economic development of music creation in Europe and beyond.

IMPF represents independent music publishers internationally. It is the global trade and advocacy body that helps stimulate a more favourable business and entrepreneurial environment for artistic, cultural, and commercial diversity for independent music publishers everywhere and the songwriters and composers they represent.

MCNA, Music Creators North America, is an alliance of independent songwriter and composer organizations who advocate for,and educate on behalf of North America’s music creator community. In addition, as a member organisation of CIAM, the MCNA works with sister alliances in Europe, Latin and South America, Asia, and Africa to further the interests of music creators throughout the world.

SCAPR is the international federation representing Performers’ Collective Management Organisations (CMOs). SCAPR’s main mission is to support, promote, and maintain a worldwide, cross-border system of collecting and distributing performer royalties that is fair, efficient, accurate, transparent, and continually improving. As of today, SCAPR represents 58 CMOs from 42 countries, that collect on behalf of more than 1 million performers.

Tony Floyd Kenna Live at HMV Dublin

Long time IMRO member and veteran of the local Dublin music scene Tony Floyd Kenna will be playing in the recently reopened HMV store on Henry Street this Saturday July 22nd.

Tony will be playing original songs drawn from his greatest hits collection ‘Footsteps Of The Alien’ and current E.P. ‘Six Strings And A Story’ as well as a few from his forthcoming album ‘Postcards From An Alien’. CDs will be available at the gig.

Showtime 12 noon to 1pm.

Cathy and Brendan Go Down to the Sea…in the Bay of Biscay

Down to the Sea – the latest collaboration from Cathy Jordan and Brendan Graham, takes them down to the Bay of Biscay, where Basque singer and harpist, Olatz Zugasti, has taken the Irish duo’s song and made it into one of the lead tracks on her new album.

Sweet Orio Bay, with your mist-rolling blue
Bayonne and Biscay, I’ll sail home to you
Like the homecoming wing of a caged bird set free…
A song I will sing…and go down to the sea

The album, HITZÑO BAT ERRAN ETA, BANUA BERHALA [Say a little word and, I´m leaving right away] features Muga Gabeko Hondartzara (To the Boundless Sea), a Basque language adaptation by Zugasti of Jordan’s & Graham’s lively sea shanty.

The track is already picking up interest on both Basque Radio and TV and in Argentina, where there is a large Basque diaspora.

This is the seventh album from the singer and harpist from Hernani, in the Basque Country.  On this album Zugasti continues to follow a very personal path traced by her music – with melodies, rhythms and sounds of different styles and inspiration – and lyrics through which she tries to look beyond the shadows, illusions or lies of our society.

Zugasti’s previous albums have included a number of Graham’s works and co-writes, most notably Bizirik Gaudelako – an adaptation by Zugasti of Graham’s Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears. Bizirik Gaudelako is a call to the Basque people to remember and keep alive their distinctive culture and has become an anthem within the Ikastolas (the Basque Country’s cultural schools).

Bizirik Gaudelako – along with another Zugasti/Graham co-write, Mezularia (Messenger) – features as the closing piece in the recent acclaimed documentary, ELBIRA, based on the life of iconic Basque educationist, Elbira Zipitria.

Jordan, meanwhile received a 4 star review from The Guardian for her Freight Train album with leading UK jazz musicians, pianist Liam Noble and percussionist Paul Clarvis, with the paper referring to ‘Jordan’s remarkable voice’ working ‘her magic’.

The singer continues her long-running collaboration with songwriter Graham.  Together with Feargal Murray on piano, and a stellar line up of guests, she has just put the finishing touches to her album, STORYBOOK – The Songs of Brendan Graham, due for a November release.


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