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York Graduates ‘Nish As Rish’ bring the ‘Trophée’ home from Europe’s biggest Celtic festival

Posted on 1 September 2011

York graduates Nish As Rish made a winning debut at this year’s Festival Interceltique de Lorient. The group won the prestigious ‘Trophée Loïc Raison’ for the best new folk group. At the semi-finals, judges reported that this year’s competition was the fiercest for 20 years.

Nish As Rish formed at the University of York Music Department in 2009, pioneering folk music in the faculty. They perform both traditional and original music, the sound very much coloured by their patchwork musical training and backgrounds.

With two Manx members, the group were selected to be the Isle of Man’s official representatives at the festival. Official Manx delegate to the festival, Aalish Maddrell, said ‘I’m delighted that Nish As Rish did so well this year – the crowds and committee of the festival totally fell in love with them, they quickly sold out of CDs and they developed a strong following. At a festival which attracts over 800,000 visitors over ten days, this is no mean feat!’

Described as ‘fearless, joyous and original’ and known for bold but sensitive arrangements and an infectious rapport on stage, the group invariably charmed their audiences throughout their 10 day stay in Lorient. Earlier in the festival, the group performed alongside established artists including Aodan and the Rachel Hair Trio, but quickly built a considerable reputation of their own.

As first prize winners, the band were awarded a cast bronze trophy - a hand-sculpted statuette of three folk musicians - and gave a winners’ performance to an enthusiastic crowd who, despite driving rain, stayed for a full 75 minute performance.

As well as giving numerous performances at major festival venues, Nish As Rish attracted considerable media attention, being picked out to give interviews and perform live for local and national radio.

Nish As Rish will give a concert in York on Friday 8th June as part of the University of York Concerts Series.

Their debut album is available for purchase at