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As we speed toward that metamorphic holiday in March where the whole world turns green and becomes Irish, St Patrick’s Day, the Irish Music Association has released a new list of the Best in Irish Music, creating new international icons in the genre.
On Saturday, January 28, 2012, during the 4th Annual Irish Music Award Presentation ceremony, the IMA recognized outstanding Irish artists in 18 different categories. The event took place in the 60-foot-underground historic brewery cellars of the 1842 Royal Brewing Company at O’Malley’s Pub in Weston, Missouri.
More than six weeks of voting and electioneering occurred in two online forums: “Members of the Irish Music Association” and “Free Public Voting.” The two forums for voting are used as checks and balances to insure fair and balanced reporting. Close races were in the following categories: Top Button Accordion, Top Fiddle, and Best Female Vocalist.
“There is magnificent talent among the ranks of Irish performers and musicians today. The Irish Music Association is proud to highlight these extraordinary artists, celebrating not only that which is traditionally Irish, but also appreciating more eclectic sounds,” IMA Executive Director R. T. Reeder said. “This year’s nominations include some of the Irish music industry’s most famous artists and performing groups.”
Reeder, who founded the organization in 2003, said the mission of the IMA is to “promote, produce and perpetuate Irish music worldwide.” This is accomplished by producing shows, sponsoring festivals, and producing the annual Irish Music Association Awards Ceremony, he said.
The IMA Awards event helps “recognize, promote and support Irish music and musicians from the U.S.,Ireland, the European Union, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom.” The awards program can be seen in its entirety at http://www.irishmusicawards.com
This year’s “Lifetime Achievement Award” went to Paddy Keenan for his dedication to Irish music.
Irish Music Award Recipients for 2011
Reeder said the IMA has received an overwhelming response to this year’s awards process, from the number of performing artists and groups nominated — to the number of votes already cast. “This outpouring of support reflects a growing appreciation and love for the music of Ireland,” he said.
Reeder was pleased the awards ceremony took place at O’Malley’s Pub, host of the annual O’Malley’s Weston Irish Festival. The pub is also home to the Weston Brewing Company and the American Bowman Restaurant. Promoted as the “oldest brewery West of the Hudson,” the brewery sponsored the first Kansas City Royals baseball team in the early 1900′s.
“The grand response we received from fans of Irish music and talent was so inspiring, as we gain momentum and build from year to year,” said Reeder. “I want to thank not only the winners, but those nominated in all of our categories, for their outstanding contributions in every aspect of Irish music.”