Fleadh fiddler scoops ‘trad Oscar’

Repro Free.Attending the TG4 Gradam Ceoil 2023 Awards in the irish World Academy of Music & Dance, UL Photograph Liam Burke/Press 22

Fleadh fiddler Méabh Smyth has scooped the Young Musician 2023 award in the so-called ‘Oscars of traditional music’.

The Armagh musician will be part of the line-up of top trad talent for Gradam Ceoil TG4 2023. The live awards show will take place at University Concert Hall, Limerick, on 23rd April – to be broadcast live on TG4 at 9.30pm on Sunday next.

Méabh and brother Tiarnán won over the hearts of a Newry audience when they performed as support act for Sharon Shannon at Iúr Cinn Fleadh 2018. Tiarnán will join her again for the Limerick event.


Méabh has been playing traditional music since she was seven. A former student of Armagh Pipers Club, her playing is inspired by the rhythmic style of fiddle from South Ulster and Donegal. Méabh will tell you she enjoys giving the old tunes a new twist, to keep it all fresh.

From a musical family – parents Rosie and Thomas are both fiddle players – Méabh performs regularly as a duo with Tiarnán. The pair released a self-titled EP in 2017. In the same year, they were semi-finalists in the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Musician of the Year award.

Earlier this year, she competed in the final of the Seán Ó Riada Gold Medal Competition alongside sister Annie. Méabh won the Ed Reavy Fiddle Player of the Year award in 2016, and, in 2021, snatched first prize at the Fiddler of London competition.

Méabh also featured in Sruth – the TG4 series on young musicians – and last month was announced as one of six recipients of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s Young Musicians’ Platform Award for 2023.

Full list of this year’s Gradam Ceoil TG4 2023 recipients include: Musician – Mick O’Brien; Young Musician – Méabh Smyth; Singer – Síle Denvir, Lifetime Achievement – Fintan Vallely; Composer – Maurice Lennon; Music Group – Mick, Louise & Michelle Mulcahy; Outstanding Contribution- Frank McArdle.


The awards show, which will be hosted by TG4 presenter Páidí Ó Lionáird, will feature live performances from all seven Gradam Ceoil 2023 recipients, who will be recognised for their talent and contribution to traditional Irish music.

A range of VIP guest presenters will give the recipients their awards. Presenters include – Ireland’s Chief Medical Officer Breda Smyth, Liam Ó Maonlaí, Peter Browne, Bríd Harper, Antóin Mac Gabhann and Anna Ní Ghallachóir. For more information, visit www.gradam.ie.

Clive Price