TG4 Ceoltóir Óg na Bliana (Young Musician of the Year) for 2019, Conor Connolly is a button accordion, piano player and singer from Clarinbridge, Co. Galway. Coming from an area steeped in Irish music, he was destined to play the accordion with players like Joe Cooley who came from the locality and Joe Burke from whom he took lessons. He started playing tin whistle at age 8 and with encouragement from his parents moved onto the accordion at age 12 going to lessons with teacher Mary Murray in Athenry. He then attended the Anne Conroy Burke and Joe Burke school of music in Kilnadeema near Loughrea for a few years while playing with the local Kilnadeema branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann and local musicians. In his late teens, he heard the music of Joe Cooley for the first time as well as other players Tony MacMahon, Fiachna Ó Mongáin and Eoin O’Neill which spurred him to change from the conventional B/C style of playing to the C#/D system. Charlie Harris, who lives locally, was also a great source of inspiration and encouragement introducing him to the music of the 78rpm era and such players as P.J Conlon of Milltown, Co. Galway, Sligo fiddlers Morrison, Killoran and Lad O’Beirne and others such as Joe Derrane and groups like the Lough Gill Quartet. The influence of Uilleann piping is also discernible in his music particularly that of Willie Clancy, Séamus Ennis and Seán McKiernan to mention a few. Conor has toured and performed and gave workshops at many of the Traditional Music festivals at home and abroad such as Scoil Samhradh Willie Clancy, Rencontres Musicales Irlandaises De Tocane in France, Feakle International Music Festival, Cooley-Collins Traditional Music Festival in Gort amongst others. He was also the musician in residence during the summer of 2016 for the ‘Tunes in the Church’ concert series which runs in Galway city. He has featured on broadcasts on RTÉ, TG4, RTÉ Radió na Gaeltachta and Clare FM to date. Conor also represented Ireland at the World Expo in Dubai in 2021.
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