Following the critical success of ‘Journeyman’ which is now regarded as a seminal recording of traditional Irish fiddling, legendary Dundalk fiddler Gerry O’Connor releases his much anticipated 2nd solo CD.
Gerry O’Connor grew up in the town of Dundalk, County Louth in a family of musicians, dancers and singers. His mother Rose (née O’Brien) taught Gerry and his siblings at home and she continued to teach from there for the next 40 years. Students travelling from Armagh and Dublin as well as closer to home to learn from the doyenne of fiddle teachers. His father Peter was a singer whose seven uncles all played music.
From an early age Gerry was involved Irish music and dance, winning numerous All Ireland titles between 1967 and 1973 in a range of formations including duet, trio and four Céili Band titles.
Playing with Michael Coleman’s contemporary John Joe Gardiner in the 1970’s formed Gerry's style of music, focussing on the fluid and ornamented lyrical fiddle playing of the great Sligo masters. His own background in step dancing translates into a vibrant pulsating dance music for which he is noted; today he is regarded as one of the great fiddle players of his generation.
He has played and recorded with such highly-regarded groups as Lá Lúgh (Eithne Ní Uallacháin, Sony Music) and Skylark (Len Graham, Gary O’Briain & Mairtin O’Connor), recording four CDs on the Claddagh label. Gerry has toured and recorded with members of all the legendary groups including Planxty, Bothy Band, De Dannan, Boys of the Lough and Chieftains. Lá Lugh's album “Brighid’s Kiss” was voted Album of the Year 1996 by readers of the Irish Music Magazine. His solo album “Journeyman” was counted in the top five Albums of the year 2004 by the Irish Times. This critically acclaimed solo album, co-produced with his son Dónal (At First Light), was heralded as a significant milestone in recording the music of the “Oriel” region of South Ulster.
His 2006 live album “In Concert” recorded with Gilles le Bigot (Barzaz, Skolvan) was a celebration of the cultural links between Ireland and Brittany. This duo has toured continually for the last 14 years. During 2006-7 Gerry recorded and toured with TheIrish Baroque Orchestra under the direction of Elizabeth Wallfish, recording Ardee Dances, a piece commissioned for Irish Fiddle and Baroque Orchestra and written by Rachel Holstead. Gerry continued to perform with Wallfisch in the Wandering Fiddlersproject performing at the Wigmore Hall and the Brighton Early music Festival.
“Jig Away the Donkey”, an album focusing on the Music and Song of South Ulster with Martin Quinn and Gabriel McArdle was released in 2010 and in 2010 also Gerry produced an album of Fermanagh musician Séan Nugent’s compositions. “The High Hills of Larghy”. Featuring many of Seans students , music friends and family. From 2005 -2010 he taught Traditional Music Performance at Dundalk Institute of Technology, during which time he completed a Masters by Research on Luke Donnellan’s Dance Music of Oriel. (2008) In 2011 he produced “I Have Travelled this Country” documenting 123 mostly unrecorded songs of Boys of the Lough musician Cathal McConnell.
With Nuala Kennedy, Martin Quinn and Gilles le Bigot, Gerry released the album Oirialla in Nov. 2012 at the Celtic Colours Festival in Cape Breton, Canada. This band is currently touring and in demand for festivals.
Recent re-releases of his music can be heard with Desi Wilkinson and Eithne Ní Uallacháin of the album Cosa Gan Bhróga (Gael Linn) and Senex Puer on IML. With the vocal accapella trio White Raven led by Kathleen Dineen, Gerry has recorded and performed throughout Europe at International Choral Festivals including RheinVocal and Merano. He is currently touing and has recorded with much celebrated Irish-Canadian-based group The Irish Rovers.
A four times winner of The Fiddler of Oriel competition, Gerry has recently adjudicated the same competition and also the Gael Linn sponsored Siansa and RAAP /RTE sponsored Breakthrough competitions. He was co-founder and first Artistic Director of Ceol Chairlinn, an annual teaching festival in Carlingford , Co Louth. He is also the Traditional Arts coordinator at the newly established Creative-Connexions Irish/ Catalan Arts festival in Sitges. He teaches fiddle at the Willie Clancy Summer school and at master-classes throughout Europe. When at home Gerry works as a violin maker/restorer.
Book & CD launch - Ceol Sídroma - Original music & Stories from the Sheetrim area of Armagh with Sorcha Meehan and friends.
Love of place was certainly the inspiration for Sorcha Meehan’s excellent literary and musical meditation on Sheetrim called Ceol Sídroma. Sídroim as the name suggests is a magical place in South Armagh & this magic comes through in the fine words & music contained in this artistic response to a homeplace.
Thursday 3rd August 4pm - 6.30pm
The Belfast Traditional Music Trail is a unique way to experience Irish music. With two professional musicians as your guides, walk through cobbled alleyways, past famous landmarks and on to private bars in some of the city’s oldest buildings. At each of the three stops you will be treated to a performance of traditional tunes, songs and stories, all of which make up your own personal ‘session’. Enjoy a local beer, cider, whiskey or Guinness while learning about the instruments, language, customs and history that make up Ireland’s vibrant musical tradition. Join us on this interactive experience and discover why Belfast is considered one of Ireland’s best cities for Traditional Irish Music.
During the 2017 The Belfast Summer School of Traditional Music, an exhibition of photographs of traditional musicians will be on show in the foyer at the Ulster University, York St., Belfast
The photographs are by Belfast based photographer Jim Maginn. The work is from his personal archive and feature portraits made since the mid 1980s.
The exhibition, 'The Light of Other Days' was last shown in Belfast in 2012. It has been shown at the Void Gallery Derry, The Gallery of Photography Dublin and Oulu Finland. The show will include new work.