Each year the Manx Heritage Foundation awards a prestigious cultural award, known as the Reih Bleeaney Vanannan, to a worthy recipient, which this year has been awarded to Dr Fenella Bazin of Ballaugh.
Presented by Quintin Gill MHK and Vice Chairman of the Manx Heritage foundation at a ceremony held at the International Business School on the outskirts of Douglas, it was a worthy recognition of Fenella’s lifetime contribution to Manx culture.
Well known for some years as a member and a diligent worker for the Manx Heritage Foundation, her specialisation within the areas of music and education remain at the forefront of her achievements.
As Director of Postgraduate Studies at the Centre for Manx Studies Fenella pioneered academic research into Manx music, with her doctoral thesis on Manx music up to 1896 paving the way for other students to carry on putting Manx music on the map. Her invaluable work has ensured that we know much more about the development of traditional music, West Gallery and the Island’s National Anthem.
Fenella is an internationally recognised figure in her chosen sphere, representing the Island at conferences and workshops and contributing to leading publications on matters of music. She has consistently promoted the Isle of Man and its culture: cultivating important links between the Island and Norway and representing the Isle of Man at festivals throughout Europe.
Her innate enthusiasm for Manx music, however, has not been constricted by the bounds of academia. Known to be an excellent musician (pianist, fiddle player, singer, arranger and composer) Fenella worked hard to promote Manx culture through the Manx Music Festival and Yn Chruinnaght Inter-Celtic Festival, at a time when it was deemed of less importance.
Tantamount to this success has been a number of publications bringing Fenella’s efforts to a wider audience, ensuring continuity and awareness of her work.
Fenella also works hard within her local village community, leading the church choir, previously acting as a governor for Ballaugh School and is a valued member of Ballaugh Heritage Trust.
© March 2011
NB Photo courtesy of MANX HERITAGE FOUNDATION