The Seán Ó Riada Bonn Óir competition is one of the most prestigious traditional Irish music competitions. Each year, it focuses on a different instrument and the 2020 final is based around flutes and whistles.
Top class flute and whistle players from across the country will compete in the final for the Seán Ó Riada Gold Medal in the Rochestown Park Hotel in Cork on Friday 7 February, and the event will be broadcast live on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta.
There will be a total of fifteen finalists on stage with competitors from Co. Clare, Mayo, Limerick, Cavan, Laois, Louth, Wicklow, Kerry and Tyrone.
Spink Comhaltas and Laois will be represented by David Vesey. David is a student in CIT (Cork School of Music) where he studies music. He is a former All-Ireland winner with medals on flute, whistle and piano. He was a member of the Macalla na hÉireann Comhaltas Tour of Ireland and Britain in 2017/2018, and is currently a member of the National Folk Orchestra. David was the founder and leader of Fiúntas – one of the most exciting young music groups in the Siansa Gael Linn competition in recent years, and subsequently founded and lead The Glenbarrow Céilí Band – the first Laois senior céilí band in a number of years.
Peadar Ó Riada will present the event live from the Rochestown Park Hotel from 7 pm – 10 pm on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta. Esteemed musicians Michael Tubridy, Mary Bergin and Gary Hastings will have the difficult job of choosing the winner, and the criteria will include not only technical proficiency, but playing that demonstrates musicality and soul as well. The winner will take home the prestigious Seán Ó Riada Gold Medal, as well as €2500.
As part of the weekend events, there will be a musicians’ conference on Saturday morning in the hotel, and the Coirm Órdha concert with past winners will take place on Saturday night.
Full list of competitors:
Cillian Boyd, Ennis, Co. Clare
Mairéad Carey, Skibbereen, Co. Cork
Séamus Harnett, Lisnagry, Co. Limerick
Eimhear Flannery, Rockchapel, Co. Cork
Joanne Quirke, Cork
Michael Walsh, Sheffield , England
Barry Conaty, Ballyhaise. Co. Cavan
David Vesey, Abbeyleix, Co. Laois
Donnchadh Mac Aodha, Blackroc k, Co. Louth
Jillian O’Malley, Newmarket on Fergus, Co. Clare / Louisburgh, Co. Mayo
David Nesbitt, Bray, Co. Wicklow
Pádraig Enright, Listowel, Co. Kerry
Shauna Bolger, Castlebar, Co. Mayo
Michael Coney, Coalisland, Co. Tyrone
Stephen Kennedy, Bodyke, Co. Clare