09 Aug 2022

Longford couple presented
with Jig of Life Award

Joyce and Aidan O'Hara, Martin Donohoe and Len Graham, at the NYAH Jig of Life Awards, Cavan

Longford couple Aidan and Joyce O’Hara were completely taken by surprise when they were among the award winners at the recent four-day NYAH (‘Not Your Average Hooley’) Co Cavan Traditional Music Festival.
Aidan and Joyce were presented with their Jig of Life Award by renowned Ulster singer, song collector and lecturer, Len Graham. They received the award in recognition of their lifelong dedication to the music and song and for their support of the NYAH festivals over the years.
‘Not Your Average Hooley’ is how the 2022 four-day NYAH Co Cavan Traditional Music Festival is described by the organisers.
Aidan said, “I suspect the wording is the work of the indomitable Martin Donohoe, Shannonside Radio broadcaster and Mr Music in Cavan, who is at the centre of all things Trad in the county. He brings musicians, singers and dancers from far and wide for a purpose.”
Martin said, “The NYAH is basically about sharing the music and letting people hear ‘the pure drop’ the real thing.”
The Jig of Life Award winners were saluted for a number of things, including the love and respect they have shown our traditional music heritage, for their performance of the music, their singing, music researches and writing, and more besides.

“And they have that essential ingredient,” Martin said emphatically, “they have the Nyah!”
Along with Aidan and Joyce, this year’s Jig of Life Award winners were Connemara man, Seáinín McDonagh, who has “a very individual style on the accordion” said Martin, who added, “We gave an award to four ladies who have long shared the tradition and are great friends. They are Eileen O’Brien, fiddle, Anne Conroy Burke, button accordion, her sister, Mary, guitar, and Deirdre McSherry, flute.”
There was also a joint award for fiddle player, Frank Kelly and his partner, Rita Gallagher, singer, from Donegal. Fermanagh singer and concertina player, Gabriel McArdle, whom Martin described as ‘the voice of Ulster’.

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