RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta will mark 50 years of broadcasting this weekend with a gala concert featuring the RTÉ Concert Orchestra and some of the country's top traditional musicians.
The concert, broadcast from Conamara on Saturday evening, and titled RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta 50, will include performances from leading traditional musicians including Altan, Iarla Ó Lionáird, Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, Cór Chúil Aodha and Steve Cooney.
The commemorative concert will reflect the station’s origins within the civil rights movement and its history as a regional and national radio service.
"The story of RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta is the story of how communities came together as one and how their identity and sense of self-worth was strengthened by that. New spaces opened up for creativity, the arts, local news and stories, and employment was created," said RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta station head Gearóid Mac Donncha.
When it opened on April 2nd, 1972, the first voice heard was RnaG station head Pádraig Ó Raghallaigh who said “Raidió na Gaeltachta anseo agaibh!”
Since then, it has played a key role in sustaining and promoting the Irish language, music and culture, and also provided an important link between geographically diverse Gaeltacht communities.
“Its establishment meant that, for the first time, the Gaeltacht communities could speak directly to and hear each other in their own native language. They got to understand each other’s dialects, to share their stories, life experiences, songs, and music,” said Mac Donncha.
“Our gala concert ... will be based on the themes of courage, identity, and pride of place.
“We are delighted to welcome the RTÉ Concert Orchestra into the heart of the Gaeltacht for this incredibly special event, where they will join some of the very best of our traditional and folk musicians on stage to celebrate the vibrancy, confidence, and pride of the Gaeltacht and Irish-language community from which Raidió na Gaeltachta sprung, and wherein it is rooted.”
The concert will be presented by Neansaí Ní Choisdealbha, Michelle Nic Grianna and Sláine Ní Chathalláin and David Brophy will conduct the orchestra.
The gala concert will be broadcast live on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta at 7pm on Saturday 2 April, and it will be streamed at rte.ie/gaeilge.