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The 64th Ivor Novello Awards Opens For Entries

BASCA calls for the submission of works across six nominated categories for The Ivors 2019

The British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA) has opened the call for entries across six nominated categories for the 64th Ivor Novello Awards. The Ivors 2019 will take place on Thursday 23rd May 2019 at London’s Grosvenor House.

The Ivors celebrate, honour and reward excellence in British and Irish songwriting and composing. BASCA invites eligible submissions in the following categories, across song and album releases, film, television and video games scores:

Best Song Musically and Lyrically
Best Contemporary Song
Best Album
Best Original Film Score
Best Television Soundtrack Best Original Video Game Score

Anyone can enter a work, including the songwriter or composer. To be eligible works must have a British or Irish writing contribution of at least 33.3% and have been commercially released in the UK during the calendar year ending 31st December 2018. This year all works will be judged anonymously and entrants must remove any reference to the songwriters or composers who created the work on submitted materials. The Ivors represents peer recognition with all categories judged by members of the music writing community.

The Ivors Rules and Guidelines should be viewed on its dedicated award entry site prior to entering eligible works. Deadline for entries is Thursday 7th February 2019

IMRO Partners With Keychange


The Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO) is delighted to announce its sponsorship of Keychange, a pioneering international initiative which aims to see music festival line-ups achieve a 50:50 gender balance by 2022 whilst investing in the next generation of female talent in music.

Since 2017, Keychange has been empowering  women from across Europe to transform the future of music with the help of European festivals and conferences who have signed up to a 50:50 gender balance by 2022. 60 emerging artists and music business innovators from across Europe have performed and collaborated at international festivals and taken part in workshops and creative labs which make up the Keychange extensive support programme.

As Keychange grows and develops with over 140 festivals signing the pledge and a Keychange manifesto launched recently in the EU Parliament, IMRO is proud to join in as a supporter of the next phase of Keychange which is currently being prepared by PRS Foundation and partners. IMRO’s support will enable female artists and innovators from Ireland to take part in this unique initiative and collaborate with their peers from an extended network of 12 countries.

Speaking at the announcement of the partnership, Eleanor McEvoy, IMRO Chairperson said “International collaboration is essential to the creative and business development of all talented artists and the music industry’s future success. Enabling more women access to international networks and new markets at critical stages in their career will help them realise their potential as future leaders of an industry that is ready for and will benefit from change.  Right now we have an opportunity to respond and commit to tangible change within the music industry.  Our hope is that this will be the start of a more balanced industry which will result in benefits for everyone.”

Amongst the 140 international music festivals and conferences which have pledged to achieve a 50:50 gender balance across their line-ups by 2022, are Ireland’s Hard Working Class Heroes, and international festivals such as BBC Proms, Bestival, Canadian Music Week, Eurosonic Noorderslag, Iceland Airwaves, Midem, Kendal Calling, Reeperbahn Festival and many more.

Hard Working Class Heroes director Angela Dorgan said “Ireland has been supporting the Keychange initiative through the work of Hard Working Class Heroes who have joined as the Irish participating festival to grow the initiative further around the world. As part of the offcial sign up HWCH achieved 50:50 gender balance in 2017 and 55 :45 in 2018. We look forward to the artists and professionals from Ireland benefitting from this scheme and look forward to widening network and showcase opportunities to other artists and professional who will visit us in Ireland.”

Vanessa Reed, CEO of PRS Foundation and Keychange Founder said, “We’re delighted that IMRO has confirmed support of this international talent development programme and movement towards change.  Women from six European countries benefitted from collaboration, performance and training opportunities in the first phase of Keychange. IMRO’s support means that Irish artists and innovators will be able to join this network in 2019 when we’ll be launching a wider reaching programme with many more partners including First Music Contact in Dublin who will host international performances and visits at Working Class Heroes”.

Last month Keychange presented a manifesto for change at the European Parliament in Brussels, with the aim of encouraging a gender balanced music industry worldwide.

Some of the recommendations in the manifesto include: addressing the gender pay gap by establishing pay grades; anonymising recruitment processes; adopting health & safety and ethics policies which tackle sexual harassment; investing in mentoring and leadership training for women; and implementing paid shared parental leave for freelancers.

Keychange is led by PRS Foundation, supported by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union, in partnership with Musikcentrum Öst, Reeperbahn Festival, Iceland Airwaves, BIME, Tallinn Music Week, Way Out West, Liverpool Sound City and Mutek.

It is sponsored by Spotify, IMRO, GEMA, STEF, SGAE Foundation, Ableton, Trackd, Gorwelion Horizons, OMDC, Roskilde Foundation, British Council, Songtrust, Soundcloud and STIM.



Screen Composers Guild of Ireland Announce Collaboration with RTÉ Concert Orchestra & Composer Ray Harman

The Screen Composers Guild of Ireland has just announced a very special collaboration with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra and IFTA award winning composer for screen Ray Harman on the recording of the soundtrack for a Christmas Special of the critically acclaimed TV series The Young Offenders.

The Screen Composers Guild of Ireland was established in July 2018 to promote and celebrate the work of Irish composers for film, TV, video games and advertising and to highlight the creation and performance of music which forms the soundtracks to our visual culture. Founding members of the guild include many of Ireland’s foremost composers for screen, providing original score for Irish and International productions. Music for film and TV forms an integral part of the storytelling process in visual content, guiding audiences through emotional narratives, time and eras, informing on geographic locations and helping to create humour, tension, fear, love and resolution.

Recording for the Christmas Special took place at  Studio 1, Radio Centre, RTÉ, during November and December 2018 with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra conducted by Gavin Maloney. The original score is composed by Ray Harman who’s credits for Irish film and TV include RTÉ drama’s Taken Down, Love/Hate, and feature documentary The Farthest as well as Young Offenders Film and series.

Being able to record their compositions with one of our national orchestras the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, in the wonderful recording facility Studio 1, in RTÉ Radio Centre, is what most composers dream about, allowing the music to come alive and create a depth and resonance which goes far beyond the reach of the screen. The RTÉ CO’s own impressive film and TV credits include Stephen Rennicks’ score for the Oscar® and BAFTA-winning Room, Brian Byrne’s Golden Globe-nominated score to Albert Nobbs and his new theme to Nationwide.

The Young Offenders Christmas Special, filmed in Cork in October, is a Vico Films’ standalone special made for the BBC, in association with RTÉ. Peter Foott is the writer, director, and executive producer on the show and Martina Niland (Once, Sing Street) produced. The Christmas Special screens in December and follows on from hugely successful BBC series and smash hit feature film of the same name.

Creator of The Young Offenders Peter Foott commented, “We wanted something really memorable for the score in The Young Offenders Christmas Special. We’ve been so lucky to have Ray Harman on board to score the film and series in The Young Offenders, giving it his cinematic quality. But to have the RTÉ Concert Orchestra involved for this one off special, teaming up with Ray, is a dream come true. It will add so many extra layers and richness. The whole team is over the moon that the RTÉ Concert Orchestra was able to collaborate with us on this.  We can’t wait for people to see and hear it, we’re very proud of this episode.”

beatvyne’s Music x Tech Experience Returns May 1-2, 2019 | Dublin

#MxT2019 is a gathering of the world’s leading experts, from the established to the radical, highlighting new technologies in a changing global music industry, with a focus on the fan experience.

The Two-Day Festival will deliver a hands-on, immersive experience for 3,000 attendees with access to talks by top innovators – from the world’s leading companies to startups -, live performances, the latest groundbreaking product and technology showcases in the Experience Hub as well as networking opportunities at intimate roundtable sessions, workshops and stellar side events across Dublin.

#MxT2019 explores how the dynamic between evolving consumer needs and the incorporation of the latest technological disruptions are continuously shaping the music industry of the future, encouraging interdisciplinary and cross-cultural collaborations to jointly enhance the entertainment industry for the better.

This is an opportunity for the music industry to keep on top of current developments that are redefining and influencing all sectors working with music and to find the next big breakthroughs by getting together with the leading technologists, entrepreneurs and creative professionals.

Artists can find inspiration and opportunities to expand their career and get a close up experience of cutting-edge tech to bring their music and performance to the next level.

Continuing with tracks that defined the inaugural year, beatvyne’s Music x Tech Experience dives deeper into Artificial Intelligence, Extended Reality (Augmented, Mixed and Virtual Reality), Voice Control, Live Music Experiences, Blockchain as well as adding new tracks covering 5G, Vinyl Resurgence, Circular Economies & Smart Production and more!

With the central theme, ‘Music is in everything’, #MxT2019 highlights how music permeates through many facets of our lives, it’s influence on our behaviour and its use across multiple disciplines, from video games, to sports, advertising, design, film and more!

Now in its second year, beatvyne’s Music x Tech Experience has been acknowledged by involved speakers from companies such as Amazon, Live Nation, Abbey Road Studios and Deezer as well as contributing high-profile artists such as Gorillaz and Bjork Digital etc. as the missing link to today’s technology and progressive step towards positive change.




Job Opportunity | Music Generation Development Officer (Roscommon)

Galway and Roscommon Education and Training Board (GRETB) is now inviting applications for the position of Music Generation Development Officer

Reference number: R18-02

A Music Generation Development Officer will be appointed by GRETB and will be responsible for managing an extensive performance music education programme on behalf of the Roscommon Music Education Partnership.

County Roscommon has been selected for participation in Music Generation – Ireland’s National Music Education Programme, which is co-funded by U2, The Ireland Funds, the Department of Education and Skills and Local Music Education Partnerships.

Three-year, fixed-term contract.

Application form, job description and person specification available online:

Closing date for receipt of completed application forms: 12 noon, Monday 17 December, 2018

Late applications will not be accepted.

Based on the volume of applications received short-listing may apply. Short-listing will take place on the basis of the information provided in the application form. Depending on the qualifications and experience of applicants, short-listing thresholds may be significantly higher than the minimum standards set out.

GRETB is an equal opportunities employer.


Music Minds | A One – Day Festival Bringing Musical Minds Together in the West of Ireland This January

Music Minds 2019 is a one day multi-genre music festival made up of workshops, debates, films  and live performances for those interested in the advancing music industry, its lineage and its rapidly changing vista through technology.

Perhaps, most exciting of all is that we are taking this celebration of all things contemporary Irish music with a focus on the emerging technologies and advances in the industry and bringing it back to where it all began, the mecca of traditional Irish music, Doolin Co.Clare.

Set in the heart of the village, Music Minds takes place on January 19th in Hotel Doolin. A dream setting to stave off the winter chill and surround yourself with like minded music fanatics with a thirst for knowledge on the ever evolving technology and platforms associated with the industry, with workshops, demos, panel discussion and live performances from the best of contemporary alternative artists and professionals.

Brought to you by Musician & Producer Simon O’Reilly and Happenings, the folks behind IMRO’s Best Small Festival Another Love Story, this is a unique festival for musical minds to gather, network, learn and be entertained in the wild and inspirational setting in the West of Ireland.


David Kitt | Donal Dineen | Katie Kim | RSAG | Solkatt | The Mud Bubble | Anna Mullarkey | Emmet Condon | Tiny Dancers For Kids


Music Documentary Making | Live Visuals | Electronic Percussion | Pedal Board | IMRO

Music Minds Debate Panel:

Donal Dineen | Una Molloy | Eamonn Doyle | Emmet Condon | Sharon Phelan | More TBA


Man of Aran with Live Score
Arbutus Yarns Films


Available here:

The Full Sh’bang (access to workshops, demonstrations and live performances)  €35
The Evening Party (access to venue from 6:30pm)  €20
Family Beat (2 adults + 2 kids all day access) €75
Kids Under 12 (entry until 9pm)  €10



Sponsored by IMRO

RTÉ Radio 1 music presenter Sandy Harsch Has Passed Away Following a Short Illness

The death has occurred of RTÉ Radio 1 music presenter Sandy Harsch (76). Sandy died unexpectedly after a short illness. She is survived by her two daughters and a sister. Born in Rhode Island, U.S.A. Sandy spent more half a century living in Ireland. Since 1996 she has presented ‘Country Time’ on RTÉ Radio 1.

As well as ‘Country Time’, Sandy co-presented along with Lilian Smith ‘Sisters Doing It For Themselves, and had been a contributor to both ‘Arena’ and ‘Lest we Forget’.

Following the news of her death, Head of RTÉ Radio 1 Tom McGuire expressed his sympathies saying “Sandy Harsch had an encyclopedic knowledge and a tremendous love of American Country music.  This knowledge and love permeated ‘Country Time’ on RTÉ Radio 1 and Sandy’s unique broadcasting style created a wonderful welcome mat for a most appreciative audience on a Saturday night.  She had met and played with many of the stars of country music and her anecdotes and stories gave new life to the playlists she chose for every show.  As a colleague Sandy was much loved in the radio centre and staff here are heartbroken at her sudden passing.”

After moving to Ireland from the US in 1960 Harsch worked as a freelance photo-journalist in music retail and wholesale and then as chief photographer, record reviewer, and interviewer for Hot Press magazine. She got her start in radio at RTÉ as a guest critic with Pat Kenny on“Outside Track” and worked regularly as a panelist, critic, and producing feature items. She moved onto the independent nationwide station Century Radio presenting ‘The Country Store’ in  1989 and then presented a syndicated show on nine local stations. In 1996 she rejoined RTÉ and started presenting ‘Country Time’.  In her lifetime, Sandy interviewed many of the top country artists including Dierks Bentley, Merle Haggard, Martina McBride, and Sugarland.

Sandy Harsch was a recipient of the CMA International Broadcaster Award which recognizes outstanding achievement by radio broadcasters outside the United States who have made important contributions toward the development of Country Music in their country.

On receiving that award she said, “Country Music has been a huge part of my life since I was a kid. I have been sharing this passion on air for 22 years and I am totally honoured that the CMA thinks I am doing a good job. Country is a wonderful part of my life and it is a knockout to be given an award. Thank you so, so much.”

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dilís.

RTÉ Choice Music Prize Is Back | In Association with IMRO and IRMA

RTÉ Choice Music Prize is back and continues to champion Irish music with key dates for 2019’s event announced today on 2FM’s Tracy Clifford Show with Chasing Abbey (Song of the Year 2017 winners) performing live.

The RTÉ Choice Music Prize Live Event will take place on Thursday 7th March 2019 in Vicar Street, Dublin. Tickets go on sale this Friday 23rd November from Ticketmaster outlets and priced €28.00 including booking fee.

Other key dates include:

Irish Album of the Year 2018 Shortlist Announcement – Wednesday 9th January 2019
Irish Song of the Year 2018 Shortlist Announcement – Wednesday 30th January 2019

The Irish Album of the Year 2018 will be announced at the Live Event and will be broadcast live on RTÉ 2FM in a special four hour extended programme from 7-11pm, with a special RTÉ Choice Music Prize highlights programme going out on RTÉ2 television the following week.

2018 has witnessed another incredible year for Irish music.  A wealth of emerging artists have made serious inroads in various international territories, clearly demonstrating the creative force of Irish music creators right now. Choice Music Prize recognises and champions some of our finest songwriters and IMRO is delighted to continue its longstanding association with this prestigious music prizeVictor Finn, Chief Executive of IMRO.

According to Alan Swan, Director of Music, 2FM,Giving airplay to emerging and established Irish talent is at the very core of what we do at 2FM and our RTÉ Choice Music Prize All-Irish music days, which celebrate Irish music and artists, have become one of the most popular features on the station. This has been such an exciting year for Irish music and we can’t wait to celebrate it with the RTÉ Choice Music Prize on 2FM.”

RTÉ Choice Music Prize “Conversations” will return and take place on the day of the RTÉ Choice Music Prize Live Event. Making its debut last year, this imaginative and provocative international music forum is designed to encourage frank exchanges amongst panellists and with the audiences to challenge and elucidate the biggest prevailing issues confronting artists and industry professionals.

The 14th annual RTÉ Choice Music Prize will once again celebrate the best in Irish recorded music.   The Prize has become one of the music industry highlights of the year since its inception in 2005. The Irish Album of the Year award is chosen from a shortlist of ten albums by a panel of twelve Irish music media professionals and industry experts.

The winning act will receive €10,000, a prize fund which has been provided by The Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO) and The Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA).

This year RTÉ Choice Music Prize have also partnered with Yangaroo Music Ireland who will provide all eligible artists a simple, free route for instant delivery of a digital copy of their eligible album directly to the Irish Album of the Year judging panel.  Yangaroo Music Ireland ( offer a professional digital delivery service for Labels and Artists to deliver their new music releases instantly to media, venues, festivals and promoters in Ireland.

The Choice Music Prize website has published a list of Irish albums released to date in 2018. This list can be viewed and updated by logging onto


The Songwriting Collective re-visits SchottenFest in Vienna

SchottenFest is a celebration of the strong historical musical and cultural links which exist between Ireland, Scotland and the City of Vienna. It is the brainchild of Irish Singer/Songwriter Shane O’Fearghail, who is now a resident of Vienna, and the Vienna Songwriting Circle.

Now in its third year, it provides Irish Artists an excellent opportunity to showcase their talents in the Austrian City. Shane is a co-founder of The Songwriting Collective and this year four of its members, Danai Kelleher, Jon Ryan, Mandy Bate and Tony Bardon are travelling to Vienna at the end of November to support him. They will be performing at an informal curtain raiser on the eve of the Festival and Danai will be joining Mundy, David Keenan, Emma Langford and Ray Heffernan on the formal programme.

The Songwriting Collective holds monthly songwriting workshops at IMRO HQ. See

For further information see

Premiere Release for Eithne | The First Full Scale Irish Language Opera

This double CD from the RTÉ lyric fm label with extensive sleeves note is based on the first concert performance of Eithne in over one hundred years by Irish National Opera and the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra. Conducted by Fergus Sheil, Eithne features a stellar cast of Irish singers including Orla Boylan, Robin Tritschler, Imelda Drumm and Gavan Ring.

The dramatic plot of Eithne is drawn from the magical legend Éan an Cheoil Bhinn (The Bird of Sweet Music). Composed by the English/Irish composer Robert O’Dwyer, the libretto was written by renowned academic and playwright Tomás Ó Ceallaigh. The story follows the adventures of Ceart, chosen heir to the High King of Ireland, and his ne’er-do-well brothers Art and Neart. Together they travel to the Land of Eternal Youth (Tír na nÓg) in pursuit of a mysterious bird. Unbeknown to the brothers the bird is Eithne, daughter of the King of Tír na nÓg. Cursed by her father, she must remain in birdlike form until a worthy warrior defeats the gigantic Guardian Spirit of their land, thus winning Eithne’s hand and releasing her from the spell.

The music of Eithne is immediately appealing, sitting firmly within the sphere of the late-nineteenth European operatic tradition, while also incorporating elements of Irish musical motifs. If the influence of Wagner occasionally looms large, the soft consonants, long vowels and in-line rhyming of the vocal score reveal the Irish language as completely apt for the operatic stage.

The Irish Times in 1909 reported that the premiere of  Eithne, conducted by the composer (grasping a length of penny-cane in lieu of his forgotten baton) was ‘…enthusiastically received…’ Its revival more than a century later was greeted by a full house in the National Concert Hall, Dublin and was described by critics as a ‘…remarkable revival of an intriguing opera.’

This double CD recording of Eithne from the RTÉ lyric fm label with 68 page booklet containing the full libretto and English translation along with Gavan Ring’s essay about the composition of the opera by Robert O’Dwyer is a must for all music collectors!

★★★★★ A superb production … a triumph of musicality, performance and dedication.

Irish Mail on Sunday

Order here  >>>


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