Wednesday 16 October 2019

Top award for John


John Dwyer has been named as this year's TG4 Traditional Composer of the Year.
John Dwyer has been named as this year's TG4 Traditional Composer of the Year.


AN EXCEPTIONALLY gifted New Ross musician is to be fittingly awarded with a TG4 traditional music award.

Former Garda John Dwyer has been named as this year's TG4 Traditional Composer of the Year, along with his brother Finbarr.

From an incredible musical dynasty, both John and Finbarr are remarkably talented musicians whose creativity has extended into composing tunes that are melodically rich, widely played and highly regarded among musicians.

His father played the fiddle similar in style to the east Galway fiddler Paddy Kelly, and both parents played the accordion.

John started the fiddle at the tender age of 11. When he joined An Garda Síochána in 1955, he moved to Dublin and got involved in the Church Street and Pipers' Clubs where he met and was influenced by George Rawley, John Kelly, Tommy Potts, Sonny Brogan, Bill Harte, John Clarke and Jack Derwin. He was a member of the Shannonside Céilí Band from the late 1950s and in the early 1970s until 1974 in the renowned Castle Céilí Band.

A beautiful and soulful musician, John has composed a number of distinctive and enduring tunes, including 'The Fall of Dunloy', 'John Dwyer's Reel' and 'The Catha Mountains', which are an important addition to the traditional repertoire.

In many cases John's compositions have been absorbed so seamlessly into the traditional repertoire that musicians are often unaware that they are his compositions and have been composed relatively recently – the ultimate seal of approval for any composer in the traditional music idiom.

Also being awarded this accolade is John's brother Finbarr, who is a multiinstrumentalist an accordion player of outstanding ability. His flair for melodic variation has led to interesting settings of existing tunes and more than 30 compositions.

John and Finbarr, along with the other recipients, will receive their awards at a gala concert in the Wexford Opera House on March 27.

This year's Gradam recipients range over a wide spectrum of talents. Others to be honoured include current and former members of world-renowned traditional groups The Chieftains and The Boys of the Lough, the co-founder of the famed Willie Clancy Summer School, an acclaimed young fiddler from Donegal, and Connemara-based piper Seán McKiernan.

This year's awards will be presented at a televised Gala Awards Ceremony and Concert that will take place in the Wexford Opera House on Saturday, March 27. It will be hosted by Dáithí Ó Sé and the winners will be joined by a host of special guests in a concert that will be recorded and broadcast on TG4 on Easter Sunday, April 4.

Tickets for the Gradam Ceoil concert can be obtained by telephone from 053 9122144 or on