Galway group scoop top prize at the Irish Youth Music Awards

JANAJ members John Martin Tierney, Jack Sinnott, Alice O’Donnell, and Niamh Tierney, who represented Galway at the Irish Youth Music Awards, celebrating their win at the weekend. Photo: Ruth Medjber, Ruthless Imagery Photography.

JANAJ members John Martin Tierney, Jack Sinnott, Alice O’Donnell, and Niamh Tierney, who represented Galway at the Irish Youth Music Awards, celebrating their win at the weekend. Photo: Ruth Medjber, Ruthless Imagery Photography.

Galway was announced as the overall winner at the Irish Youth Music Awards on Saturday. The group of young people from Youth Work Ireland Galway was represented by local band JANAJ, who gave an energetic performance in the Aviva Stadium at the national final of the competition.

The winners will receive five days’ recording time in a studio and a full backline provided by Music Maker Dublin. They will also produce an album of their own released on physical CD with professional design, and the album will be digitally distributed worldwide on iTunes, Spotify, and other platforms.

This is the ninth year of the programme, which gives young musicians the opportunity to learn about the industry through their participation in the competition as well as directly from some of Ireland’s top music industry personnel.

All performers on the day were chosen to represent their region at local live selection nights in January, and were supported by teams comprising all other contestants from their region, who took on individual music industry roles.

In addition to performing at the Aviva Stadium, young musicians had the opportunity to attend workshops and masterclasses in vocals, drums, songwriting, and bass, and to attend panels led by music industry professionals including BIMM lecturers.

“This year’s Irish Youth Music Awards was our biggest yet with young people travelling from all over Ireland to attend and participate in the event,” said Irish Youth Music Awards director Barry Lennon. “We had 36 acts play across two stages throughout the day and industry workshops full with young people looking to learn new skills to progress to further education and employment opportunities with the creative and music communities in Ireland and overseas. It’s been great seeing the teamwork carried out by so many young people within their communities on the lead up to the National Day through the IYMAs programme. Next year is our 10-year anniversary and we hope that we can fill the pitch in the Aviva Stadium for that.”

The Irish Youth Music Awards is an educational programme for bands and musicians aged 12 to 19 and is an official Challenge Partner of Gaisce. Aimed at creating teamwork and friendship at local level, the project also provides first hand work experience in all areas associated with the music business such as PR, stage management, graphic design, and photography. The programme honours the most effective music projects run by groups of young people based on the entire project from the band, to the crew, to the promotion and approach to the competition.

The journey of Team Galway started at the end of January with a live selection heat, and the national day at the Aviva was the culmination of months of hard work. Team Galway comprises members from schools in Tuam, Athenry, Galway, Oranmore, and An Cheathru Rua who met regularly at the Galway 2020 Hub in the city.

The programme was supported by Youth Work Ireland Galway youth workers Rachel Maher and Susan Egan. Youth Work Ireland Galway is a voluntary organisation which works with young people aged 10 to 21 in Galway city and county.

Team Galway and JANAJ will play at the Samaritans’ 40th anniversary event in Eyre Square on April 30, the first of many local, national and international gigs taking place for the group in the coming months.

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