TONY O’CONNELL – NEW to Blas 2018!
Tony O’Connell hailes from Glin in West Limerick, an area rich in tradition situated just north of the Sliabh Luachra region of Ireland. He began playing music at the age of ten and won the All-Ireland concertina under-18 titles for three consecutive years and then went on to win the prestigious senior all-Ireland titles aged 18. His distinctive yet traditional style can be described as a steady pulsating rhythm – characteristic for the west of Ireland – while he sets himself apart from other players due to his melodic and harmonic variations, polyphonic playing and his strong dynamic expression.
Being a professional musician for over 20 years, Tony has toured Europe, Asia and America, and has collaborated with some of the most acknowledged players from within the Irish music tradition.
He recorded his first album in 2005 with Leitrim fiddle player Andy Morrow accompanied by guitar player Arty McGlynn. This album was voted number two in the Irish Echo ‘Ceol’ column’s albums of the year and is surely one of the best traditional duo-albums ever recorded.
Three years later he went on to record his second album with legendary fiddle player Ben Lennon, who again hails from Co. Leitrim. This album is called Rossinver Braes after one of his brother Charlie Lennon’s original tunes featured on the recording. Both albums have had great reviews and acknowledgements throughout the Irish traditional music world over the last few years.
In 2015 Tony released another cracking duet album – Rooska Hill.
This record got voted best traditional album of the year by Trad Connect. It features music from the West Limerick stronghold of the tradition played by Éamonn O’Riordan (flute) and Tony O’Connell (concertina). They are joined by Arty McGlynn (guitar), Brian Mooney (bouzouki) and Gearóid Ó Duinnín (guitar).
Luckily Tony hasn’t been sitting idle since and in September 2017 he released his first solo album: “Tony O’Connell – ‘live and well” which features Bríd Harper on fiddle, Arty McGlynn (guitar), Cyril O´Donoghue (bouzouki) and Trevor Hutchinson (double bass).
Available for download at https://tonyconcertina.wixsite.com/mymusic
Multi-instrumentalist Tommy Fitzharris, hails from Stradbally, Co Laois, and has been playing traditional Irish Music since the age of seven. He comes from a musical family and is self-taught on the flute, concertina and whistle.
Tommy made a first ever for his county in 2009 when he won the Senior Concertina Title in the All-Ireland Fleadh. In 2012, he then triumphed in the All Ireland Senior Flute Competition winning it also at Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann in Cavan.
Tommy has been a tutor on the BA in Irish Music and Dance and on the MA in Traditional Irish Music Performance in the University of Limerick from 2009 to present. In addition, he is in constant demand as a tutor and performer on the traditional Irish music festival scene and continues to give workshops and concerts at various traditional music festivals nationally and internationally. Tommy has toured Europe, the United States and Asia extensively with the band Ciorras who were formed as part of the Lorg Lunny programme on TG4. He has featured on the Fleadh programmes, BBC Alba and its annual coverage of the famous Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow, Beijing TV, Geantraí, Ceilí House and The Tubridy Show. He has performed in some the worlds most prestigious music venues including The Forbidden City Concert Hall Beijing, The National Concert Hall in Dublin and the Munich Philharmonic Concert Hall to name but a few. Tommy holds an MA in Irish Traditional Music Performance and a Grad Dip in Music Education, attained from The Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick.
**Please note all teachers are subject to change.