Now in its 26th year, TG4 Gradam Ceoil will be broadcast live on Sunday 23 April at 9:30pm on our Irish language television channel.

The Oscars of Trad pay homage to musicians who have advanced and preserved the art of traditional music in Ireland, as well as those who entertain many through the year.

Here we look at the categories and recipients.

Ceoltóir /Musician – Mick O’Brien

Dubliner Mick O’Brien will be awarded the highest accolade in Traditional Irish music. Piper and tin-whistle player, he began learning the pipes at nine years of age. His father, influential accordion player, Dinny O’Brien, was influential for a young Mick growing up. Over the years, Mick has led masterclasses on the pipes around Ireland, Europe agus an domhan [and the world]. He has performed both solo and alongside other musicians, including The Dubliners, Altan and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra.

Amhránaí /Singer – Síle Denvir

Sean-nós singer from Conamara and lecturer at Dublin City University, Síle Denvir has published two books on Conamara songwriters and cites the influences of the region's sean-nós style in her own work. As an accomplished harpist, she has performed as a solo artist and as a collaborator with many musicians, such as The Chieftains, Liam Ó Maonlaí and Martin Hayes. In 2018, she took part in the world premiere of Mícheál Ó Suilleabháin’s song 'Fill Arís', performing with Iarla Ó Lionáird, Lillis Ó Laoire and the National Symphony Orchestra.

Ceoltóir Óg/Young Musician – Méabh Smyth

From Armagh, Smyth is a fiddle-player who has been playing traditional music since she was seven. From a musical family (her parents Rosie and Thomas are both fiddle players), Smyth performs regularly as a duo with her brother Tiarnán; the pair have already released an EP. She has competed in the final of the Seán Ó Riada Gold Medal Competition and has featured in Sruth – the TG4 series for young musicians.

Gradam Saoil/Lifetime Achievement – Fintan Vallely

Fintan Vallely, a flute player, author, songwriter and educator from Armagh, was The Irish Times’ and Sunday Tribune’s traditional music correspondent and reviewer in the 90s. He has published numerous writings on traditional music in Ireland. He edited The Companion to Irish Traditional Music — an A-Z encyclopaedia of traditional music in Ireland, which involved more than 200 writers and is now heading for its third edition this year.

His latest book is a major history of the bodhrán. He has organised conferences on traditional music and has lectured in the arts at third level across Ireland and England.

Cumadóir/Composer – Maurice Lennon

Fiddle-player and composer, Maurice from Leitrim is from a well-known family of traditional musicians. His father, Ben, previously took home the Gradam Ceoil Lifetime Achievement award in 2011. Maurice began playing at 13 and, at 17 years of age, won the Senior Fiddle Championship at the all-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil in 1977. Also that year, he founded folk-rock band, Stockton’s Wing. After leaving the band, as a solo artist he has collaborated with Seán Keane, Ronnie Drew, Finbar Furey and Johnny McEvoy, and has performed a central role in the music of Irish dance producer Ragús.

Grúpa Ceoil/Music Group – Mick, Louise & Michelle Mulcahy

A family of musicians from Abbeyfeale, Co Limerick. All three are successful solo musicians as well as being highly regarded as a trio. They have recorded four albums together, representing the styles and repertoires of Sliabh Luachra, Clare and East Galway.

The Oscars of Trad take place on Sunday 23 April, live from University Concert Hall, Limerick at 9:30pm.