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Gerry O’Connor: Fiddle

Gerry O’Connor  grew up in the town of Dundalk, County Louth in a family of musicians, dancers and singers. His mother Rose  (nee 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, Monaghan and Dublin as well as closer to home to learn from the doyen of fiddle teachers. His father Peter was a good singer whose seven uncles who all played music in varoius bands.


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 Duets, Trio and four  Céili Band titles..

Playing with Michael Coleman’s contemporary John Joe Gardiner in the 1970’s formed Gerrys style of music, focusing on the fluid and oranmented lyrical fiddle playing of the great Sligo masters. His own background in step dancing translated into a vibrant pulsating  dance music for which he is noted; today he is regarded as one of the great fiddle players of this generation. He has played and recorded  with such highly-regarded groups as Lá Lúgh (Eithne Ní Uallacháin, Sony Music) and Skylark  (Len Graham, Garry O’Briain & Mairtin O’Connor, with 4 cds on the Claddagh label) and has toured and recorded with members of all the legendary groups including Planxty, Bothy Band, Boys of the Lough, De Dannan and Chieftains. “Brighid’s Kiss” (Lá Lugh) was voted Album of the Year 1996 by readers of the Irish Music Magazine.   His solo album “Journeyman” was counted in the top 5 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.  During 2006-7 Gerry recorded and toured with The Irish Baroque Orchestra under the direction of Elizabeth Wallfish, recording Ardee Dances, a piece comisissioned for Irish Fiddle and Baroque Orchestra and written by Rachel Holstead. Gerry continues to perform with Wallfisch in the Wandering Fiddlers project performing at the Wigmore Hall and the Brighton Early music Festival

 “Jig Away the Donkey”  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 Sean’s family members , students and musical colleagues.


From 2005 -10 he taught Traditional Music Performance  at Dundalk Institute of Technology during which time he completed a Masters by research on the Luke Donnellan’s Dance Music of Oriel. 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 thoughout Europe at InternationalChoral Festivals including RheinVocal and Merano. He occasionally performs and has recorded with veteran Canadian based group The Irish Rovers.


A four times winner of The Fiddler of Oriel competition  Gerry has recentlty adjudcated the same competition and in addition to  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 masterclasses throughout Europe. When at home works as a violin maker/restorer, fiddle teacher and music researcher.