Tony Mac Mahon’s contribution to Irish folk music, both as broadcaster and as one of Ireland’s most remarkable musicians, has been singular and unmatched. His music has been variously described as both transporting and transforming; the raw emotion and profound character of his performance leaves his audience deeply moved. His extraordinary interpretation of the old Song Airs of Ireland, in particular, stand alone – inhabiting spaces where mystery and magic find full expression, opening pathways of feeling for the old Gaelic past in all its nobility, tenderness and sadness.
As radio & televion producer with RTÉ, Ireland’s public service broadcaster, Mac Mahon has championed the cause of native Irish Arts for 25 years. Uncompromising in his damning of superficiality and commercialism in traditional music, he defends the cultural milieu which claimed him as a child in the south-west of Ireland 66 years ago. Possibly the best-known figure in traditional Irish music, this man is its least visible icon. Most interviewed & quoted, he is often dismissed & criticised – yet he remains its most articulate, most respected and even most feared ideologue.
He has played & worked with most of the great Irish traditional musicians of the past half-century, his tv productions have won international awards & his recordings have travelled in the wider world of Irish music. In 2004 he was given awarded the ‘Hall of Fame’ award for his broadcasing service by TG4 – the Irish language public service television station. Also in 2004, the President of Sinn Féin, Gerry Adams, presented him with a commissioned piece of sculpture in bog-oak, in recognition of his many performances in British-occupied Ireland during the war which ended 10 years ago.
You can listen to short samples from some of the tracks from this artist using the player below.
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