The Arts Council and the National Concert Hall are delighted to announce that the recipient of the Liam O’Flynn Award 2020 is multi-instrumentalist, singer, composer and visual artist Barry Kerr.
Barry is the second recipient of the award, following on from inaugural winner, musician and composer Una Monaghan.
Barry has been a professional musician and visual artist over a career spanning twenty years. He is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist playing the uilleann pipes, flute, guitar and bouzouki and is also a singer-songwriter.
Barry has toured extensively with various ensembles, highlights include the RTÉ Symphony Orchestra tour of USA under conductor David Brophy and the Cara Dillon Band tour of China. He also collaborated with famed guitarist Steve Cooney as part of the NCH and Arts Council Tradition Now 2019 Series.
Barry’s own compositions, songs and tunes, have been recorded by many high-profile musicians and singers, including Beoga, Aoife Scott, Karan Casey, Brian Finnegan and Kate Rusby. He is in demand internationally as a musician and contributes regularly to TV and radio. Most recently Barry was featured on BBC Álba Port, collaborating with singers Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh and Julie Fowlis and also with Scottish, Asturian and Gallician musicians.
Accepting the award, Barry said:
“I am delighted and honoured to receive this award. As an uilleann piper and flute player, Liam O’Flynn has had a huge influence on my musical development since I started playing traditional music at the age of 12. Not only am I interested in O’Flynn’s musical output, his outlook on life has always intrigued me, as have his collaborations with the likes of Seamus Heaney. This opportunity will enable me to interrogate my music and work on a new body of work. I look forward to working with the National Concert Hall, being within its hallowed space and collaborating with other artists, creating new music.”
Martin O’Sullivan, Acting Director of the Arts Council said: “The Arts Council is delighted to continue to honour the music and legacy of Liam O’ Flynn – a pioneer of traditional music who influenced a generation of musicians. Liam O’Flynn brought Irish traditional music in an exciting new direction and to new audiences world-wide. Barry Kerr, himself a multi-instrumentalist and an accomplished singer and visual artist, is also exploring the reaches of his artistry and he is undoubtedly a worthy recipient of the Liam O’Flynn Award.”
Simon Taylor, CEO of the National Concert Hall added: “Liam’s position in Irish music was very special in that he was both the custodian of a great tradition and an imaginative innovator. We are delighted to present this award to such an accomplished musician as Barry Kerr, a most deserving candidate who will no doubt continue the legacy of innovation while staying true to traditional roots as Liam himself did.”
In memory of Liam O’Flynn, the Liam O’Flynn Award celebrates the role of the individual creative traditional artist in the creation of new works, the inception of unique artistic collaborations and innovations, and in the transmission of traditional arts for future generations to enjoy and practice.
The purpose of the Liam O’Flynn Award is to provide a traditional artist with a period of artistic reflection, inspiration and creation in residence at the National Concert Hall and to enhance appreciation, knowledge and enjoyment of the traditional arts.
For the Liam O’Flynn Award recipients, it will provide career-changing artistic opportunities, including the chance to work with a wide range of artistic collaborators in a supportive and professional environment where they will be positioned alongside high-performing artists from other genres and where there is high expectation of creative outputs.
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