* Nail biting finale as Wicklow group takes top prize in The Anglo-Celt Street Seisiún talent competition
Reels, jigs, polkas... accordians, tin whistles, fiddles, banjos, flutes, uilleann pipes, guitars, concertinas... Irish dancing, sean nós dancing, figure dancing, the broom dance... singing, whistling, lilting, miming, an gaeilge... a husband and wife on a 'traditional' honeymoon... hundreds of musicians, young and not so young... and a man playing six instruments all at once! It was The Anglo-Celt Street Seisiún talent competition 2012 and the talent and variety was the best yet!
From Tuesday until Saturday evening, they played on the streets, they played on the pavements, they sat on boxes and in doorways, they played their hearts out and they entertained the masses. The best of the talent in three age categories was plucked from the streets with twelve acts winning a slot on the Peace III Gig Rig at the Egg Market for the grand finale on Sunday afternoon and what a finale it was.
But it was County Wicklow-based group 'Perfect Friction' that stole the show and walked away with the top prize of €1,000, courtesy of The Anglo-Celt and the Fleadh Executive Committee (FEC).
The group also received a day's recording time in studio with Fintan McManus Studios in Belturbet, one of the competition's main sponsors.
The group of seven trad musicians came together through playing at WicklowTrad sessions and also features vocalist Rebecca Winckworth who captivated the Cavan audience with her version of 'Caledonia' following up by a very 'trad' version of the late Amy Winehouse's 'Valerie' involving a host of traditional instruments.
Popular winners, the group played a 20-minute 'encore' after claiming the top prize, while seven other acts walked away with cash prizes between €200 and €500 each.
Tim Scanlon from Melbourne took second place for his lively selection of reels - with a bit of a reggae twist. Tim took the concept of a 'one-man-band' to new heights by managing to play five instruments all at once - guitar, harmonica, cajon drum, symbols and shaker - all the while giving us a few sean nós steps. A rare talent!
Judges on the day, Eurovision winner and broadcaster, Charlie McGettigan and the editor of The Anglo-Celt, Linda O'Reilly, said that they were "blown away" by the standard of musicianship, talent and variety on the gig rig.
"This was the third year of the Street Seisiún competition and every year the talent just seems to get better and better and what is incredible to see is the young musicians who had performed in 2010 had come back year on year and just keep getting better and better," said Ms O'Reilly.
"It was a very difficult decision on the day to pick winners in each of the categories as there was little to separate many of the acts."
Thanking all of the competitors and participants in the competition across the entire week of the Fleadh, Ms O'Reilly also expressed her gratitude to Philip Clarke, chairman of the youth sub committee of the FEC; the street judges; sponsor, Fintan McManus; guest judge, Charlie McGettigan and Emmet Flood, MC on the gig rig.
• For video highlights from the final go to:
1st - Perfect Friction, Wicklow, €1,000
2nd - Tim Scanlon, Melbourne, €500
3rd - Michael Stribling and Sarah Buteuz, US, €300
1st - Le Chairde, Co Longford, €300
2nd - Group from Cork and St Louis, €200
1st - Pomplas family, US, €300
2nd - McKenna family, Clogher, €200
Most Entertaining group
Grupa na Rianta, Kerry, €200