Galway-based independent radio producer Mary Owens has won a silver prize at the prestigious New York International Awards for her innovative series celebrating Ireland’s maritime song tradition. The Sea in Song was broadcast by RTÉ Lyric FM and funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.
Mary Owens of Well Said Productions commented: “Irish songs of the sea have travelled back and forth to America, Canada, Australia, and many other places around the world. They tell aspects of our social history better than any textbook can. I think that is why the series appealed to an international jury.”
The series is a potent mix of song and story with fresh new perspectives on Ireland’s maritime history and sea faring traditions. It explores Irish narratives in sea shanties and sailor ballads and taps into some hair-raising accounts of life at sea in the 19th century.
For the programmes, Mary sifted through the huge collection of Irish coastal songs, including some classics from the Gaelic repertoire, to retrieve vivid tales of smugglers, shipwrecks and heroic rescues. The Sea in Song also features some of our most powerful laments and romantic ballads.
Contributors included Jimmy Crowley, John Faulkner, Lillis O Laoire, Aine Uí Cheallaigh, Seán Corcoran, Altan, and many more great singers and storytellers. The series was broadcast on The Lyric Feature slot from December 29 to 31, 2010. Listeners can still enjoy the series on-line in the Lyric Feature’s 2010 programme archive