Gradam Mobhí, the prizes given in Scoil Mobhi, introduced me to the idea of a ‘gradam’. Over the years, I found out that there are all sorts of grandmas. At least in primary school, I think there are gradams for everybody. Because everybody should be encouraged. In Germany, even in primary school, you have regular exams, you get graded, and if you don’t pass you repeat the year. A different kind of ‘encouragement’.
Today, Pádraig made it to the platform of Tonndorf Bahnhof, our local train station. What a first! We all went out for a stroll and to bring his two friends from Dublin who had been here visiting him over the weekend to the train. Life is getting more ‘normal’ every day.
Tonight, at 21h30, there will be a brilliant concert in Cork Opera House. The line up is the best you could get in Irish music and it’ll be broadcast live on TG4. And there will be a Gradam – a prize for the “Young Musician of the Year”. This year, this prestigious Gradam has been awarded to Maitiú Ó Casaide, “a young uilleann piper with an impeccable musical pedigree and a very bright future“. It was Maitiú who had the idea and organised the recording of “Amhrán do Phádraig“, a Song for Pádraig, last summer.
The Gradam web page says about him, among other things:
He has toured internationally with Rian, a contemporary dance show featuring Liam Ó Maonlaí, Eithne Ni Chatháin, Peter O’Toole and Cormac Begley and eight dancers from around the world. The musicians from this show have since released an album December 2014 called Ré. He also oversaw the production of Amhrán do Phádraig a fundraising album, also released in December 2014, for his friend Pádraig Schaler who acquired severe brain injury in a bicycle accident while working on summer student visa in the USA in 2013. The album which includes Dreamboat, a bilingual song Maitiú composed especially for him.
Here’s a Dreamboat sailing down the River Lee to the Opera House tonight. Maitiú, you have been a great friend. You brought your pipes down to Hamburg, to the hospital, a couple of times and played the most beautiful tunes for Pádraig. Dreamboat and Amhrán do Phádraig have inspired so many people, music and songs that transcend your friendship with Pádraig and go to the essence of what of what life is all about.