The European Bluegrass Music Association (EBMA) board along with a special Selecting Committee formed by Lilly Pavlak, Richard Hawkins, Christian Seguret, Paolo Dettwiler, Bruno Steffen and Eberhard Finke happily announced that Niall Toner has been appointed as the recipient of the first EBMA European Bluegrass Personality of the Year award. The announcement was made by EBMA Board Member Martino Coppo Wednesday, March 6, 2013.
With the EBMA Bluegrass Pioneers & Sersonalities Project (EBPPP), the EBMA intends to recognize and acknowledge the past and present most influential European bluegrass musicians, promoters, journalists, DJ's, luthiers, experts and others who have contributed, and still contribute, in a relevant and significant way to establish or popularize the Bluegrass music genre in Europe, and to create a European Bluegrass scene and community.
The award ceremony will take place during the concert on Saturday, March 16th as part of the 5th European Bluegrass Summit to be held at the Hotel Pyramida Auditorium in Prague, Czech Republic ( www.orea.cz/en/orea-hotel-pyramide/ ).
The bluegrass community is invited to join the EBMA for this celebration. To register, visit www.ebma.org/ebs/5th-european-bluegrass-summit/ where you can access the EBMA web page including the registration form and to confirm your attendance. Two seats will be reserved for registrants at the Pyramida Auditorium.
Niall was born in Dublin, Ireland and nurtured an early interest in music by tuning in to Radio Luxemburg and the AFN radio service from Germany. The Saturday night re-broadcast of the Grand Ole Opry from Nashville was his first exposure to Country music, and when a local school-friend showed up with a collection that included the music of Hank Williams, Bill Monroe, The Carter Family and Jimmy Rodgers, Niall's musical fate was sealed.
Niall Toner is widely regarded as one of Ireland's leading experts on bluegrass and American country music, and he brings this knowledge of music to a wide audience, both through his live performances and various workshops, as well as through his radio show, Roots Freeway, which is broadcast on Ireland's national radio station, RTE Radio One.
Niall's release of Onwards & Upwards in October of 2012 was a musical milestone. This was Toner's first release on the internationally famous Pinecastle Record label and features the great talents of artists like Keith Sewell (who also serves as the producer, Ashby Frank, Rob Ickes, Viktor Krauss, and of course Niall.