Congratulations to Clióna McDonald who is the 2019 winner of the Beo Song Contest, run by Foras na Gaeilge in conjunction with TG4.
Spink Comhaltas has had a strong tradition of musicians and performers representing Laois in national competitions, and Clióna McDonald continued that in 2019 with her winning entry – Shiúl Tú As Mo Shaol – in the Beo Song Contest 2019.
The Beo song contest took place on 31st October in the Citywest Hotel, and the 8 finalists were the cream of the crop of a large number of entrants from all over the country. The format of the competition was a live performance with backing musicians, and Clióna was joined on stage by her sister Éabha playing fiddle, Katie Groarke on piano, and Kate Byrne on drums. Éabha and Katie are also members of Spink Comhaltas along with Clióna. The competition was broadcast live by TG4 on YouTube and you can view the full competition on the TG4 channel on YouTube or Facebook.
This is not Clióna’s first song – she has built up a fine collection of songs over the last number of years and was previously a finalist in the Young Eurovision competition where she reached the finals. When asked about what inspired her to write her current song, Clióna said that she “wrote this love song ‘Shiúl Tú As Mo Shaol’ for all the broken hearts around the world.” Since she posted the video for her song on YouTube in mid October it has had over 4,000 views and we are sure that that will increase following her competition win. Co-incidentally, a separate song which Clióna recorded during the summer while she was in the Gaeltacht in Coláiste Lurgan was released – this was a cover of the Lady Gaga song “Shallow” which has also had a very strong reception since it was released.
Cliòna McDonald is the current Irish Officer in Spink Comhaltas and is a student at Saint Fergal’s College in Rathdowney where she is in 6th year. Aged 17 now, she started singing and playing music at the age of 4 year and enjoys performing on the piano, harp, tin whistle, flute and banjo. Clióna has represented Laois at All Ireland level a number of times and is a former All Ireland champion on tin whistle.
Spink Comhaltas provides traditional Irish music lessons to members from Laois and bordering areas in Kilkenny, Carlow, and Kildare. With a comprehensive instrument bank to support members learning music in a cost-effective way, Spink prepares musicians for Fleadh Cheoil competitions as well as traditional Irish music examinations. Spink Comhaltas also is a strong supporter of local community events. Most importantly, the tradition of playing and enjoying Irish music is being handed on to a new generation. More information is available on Spink Comhaltas on www.spinkcomhaltas.ie