Joanie Madden wins USA Fellowship grant - first Irish traditional musical artist to ever win

Joanie Madden
Anyone who has spent any amount of time around Joanie Madden knows she is a force of nature, and a very creative one at that.  Her creativity in the Irish music business and artistic success has long been recognized in the Irish American community over her more than three decades as a professional performing artist. 

Accolades like inductions in both the American Irish Musicians and Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann halls of fame as one of their younger honorees, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and even a street named after her in her native Bronx near Yankee Stadium were all deserving awards to come her way.

As the second oldest child of Irish immigrants (father Joe was from Portumna, Co. Galway and mother Helen hails from Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare), she followed the traditional music path her accordion-playing father led her on with early lessons on the tin whistle and silver flute, instruments on which she has become world famous. 

As a founding member of Cherish the Ladies performance ensemble she had led them on the road for 28 years around the world and recorded over 12 albums. As a solo artist, she has sold over 500,000 albums and appeared on 180 recordings.

Last week it was announced that Madden won a 2012 USA Artists Fellowship Grant for her “innovative and influential work in her chosen field,” and in doing so she become the first Irish traditional musician to ever garner one of these distinguished awards.

She was one of 54 artists to receive a grant of $50,000 each to continue their artistic excellence and craft.

Madden, who was busy out in the Midwest on her Christmas tour, wouldn’t have a problem keeping going.  You can welcome her when she and Cherish the Ladies return east in the next few days, and in the New Year, she will be busy organizing her Folk N’ Irish Cruise on the Norwegian Epic from February 2-9. Like everything with Joanie Madden it will surely be epic.

Visit www.cherishtheladies.com for information on the cruise and end of year tour dates.

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