Máirtín O’Connor Trio History & Bios


History

Virtuoso accordion player Máirtín O’Connor, named Ireland's 2015 Traditional Musician of the Year, (TG4 Gradam Ceoil Awards), brings his remarkable trio to the U.S. in April, 2017.

"Galway virtuoso Máirtín O’Connor's accordion playing and range of compositions have been dazzling audiences for over 30 years," proclaimed the Irish Examiner upon Máirtín's award in February, 2015.

He is joined by Séamie O’Dowd, a defining member of Dervish for over a decade and a brilliant guitarist and singer, and the astonishing fiddler and multi All-Ireland champion Cathal Hayden (Four Men and a Dog).

Individually recognized figureheads of the Irish tradition, the trio has built a reputation for their astounding virtuosity and vitality.  The trio will appear at the Diana Wortham Theatre in Asheville, North Carolina and the Savannah Music Festival as well as other venues.

"Irish traditional music's own 'power trio'," wrote Earle Hitchner in The Irish Echo. "These three mean business and achieve art. Bravo."

Máirtín O’Connor is one of the most respected and best-loved musicians ever to emerge from Ireland. One of the main musical forces behind the now legendary Riverdance phenomenon, through his work with De Dannan, Midnight Well and Skylark and also as a solo artist he has quite simply gone where no Irish accordion player had gone before. Born and raised in County Galway, Máirtín began playing the accordion at the age of nine, inspired by his paternal grandparents who both played the instrument.  His music reflects traditional Irish music as well as the wonderful swing of the 1920s Flanagan Brothers, Parisian musettes, Cajun music and Eastern European tunes. His career has included recordings with Rod Stewart, Elvis Costello, Mark Knopfler, the Waterboys (Fisherman's Blues CD), Tanita Tikaram, Townes Van Zandt, and The Chieftains.

With Cathal and Seamie, Máirtín’s trio redefines concepts of Irish music. They play with a rare vitality and virtuosity, using sophisticated arrangements and elements of swing, bluegrass, and more. Their formidable musical relationship has lasted over a decade, with two albums released: ‘Crossroads' in 2009, and 2012's 'Going Places', which features Australian guitar whiz Tommy Emmanuel—with whom the O'Connor Trio toured—on one tune.

“The versatile trio have managed to bottle the essence of their dynamic live shows, on their eclectic new album Crossroads,” raved Siobhan Long in The Irish Times.

The Máirtín O’Connor Trio has recently been touring as the band for the great Irish singer Christy Moore. The trio also toured the U.S. for three seasons (2011-2014) as members of Martin Hayes's Masters of Tradition, drawing standing ovations for their dazzling sets in venues from Symphony Space to UCLA's Royce Hall. The trio has toured extensively through Ireland, Great Britain, Europe, and more recently in Australia and New Zealand.


Bios

Máirtín O’Connor

Máirtín O’Connor is one of the most respected and best loved musicians ever to emerge from Ireland. As a solo artist he has quite simply gone where no Irish accordion player had gone before. The Galway native began playing at age nine, inspired by his paternal grandparents who both played accordion. He was a main musical force with Riverdance, De Dannan, Boys of The Lough, Midnight Well, Skylark, and his trio has recently been accompanying the great Irish singer Christy Moore. Máirtín has graced projects by such artists as Mark Knopfler, Elvis Costello, Rod Stewart, and The Waterboys' "Fisherman's Blues" album. His playing can be heard on the soundtracks of "Dancing at Lughnasa," "Some Mother’s Son," and "Twelfth Night." A prolific writer of new material, his tunes can be heard on the recordings of many artists and at sessions throughout the world. In February 2015, Máirtín was named Musician of the Year in Ireland's prestigious TG4 Gradam Ceoil (Traditional Music Awards). The annual awards honor the extraordinary talent and commitment to traditional music that exists among Irish musicians.

Cathal Hayden

Cathal Hayden is an All-Ireland Champion on both fiddle and banjo. A native of County Tyrone, from an area immersed in traditional music, Cathal was born into a deep musical background. His father played the banjo and fiddle, and his mother was a pianist, while both grandfathers were fiddle players. Cathal is a member of the group Four Men and a Dog whose first album, Barking Mad, won the Folk Roots best new album award in 1991 (the first Irish band to do so). He was also a member of Arcady and worked with many musicians including Arty McGlynn and Paddy Keenan, with many albums and session credits to his name. Cathal's groundbreaking individual style incorporates swing, rock, and bluegrass.

Seamie O'Dowd

Seamie O’Dowd is one of the most sought-after musicians in Ireland today, known for his exquisite guitar playing and compelling, rough-hewn voice. A longtime member of Dervish, Seamie comes from a musical family steeped in the traditions of South County Sligo. His mother was a highly-respected musician and teacher and his father was a renowned fiddle player. Seamie himself began playing fiddle at about eight, and by the age of eighteen he was playing guitar, mandolin, bouzouki, banjo, fiddle, and bodhran, as well as gaining a reputation as a singer. Seamie’s musical abilities have become increasingly familiar at the international level in recent years. He has traveled worldwide and shared stages with many great musicians including Tommy Emmanuel, Cathy Jordan (Dervish), Steve Wickham (Waterboys), Matt Molloy (Chieftains), Liam O'Flynn (Planxty), and Dick Gaughan.