Colm Gannon was born, in Dorchester, Boston, MA. of Connemara parents. His father John, from Droim and his mother Gerry from Tuirin, both moved to America in the 1950’s. He learned to play music from his father and brother Sean. From a young age he was exposed to a variety of great musicians. Around Boston, in his younger years, Colm was lucky enough to play regularly with Seamus Connolly, Tina Lech and Jesse Smith; it was around that time that Colm went on to win the all Ireland, in 1994, on the button accordion. Shortly after, he moved to Ennis, Co. Clare along with fiddler Jesse Smith, where he got to live and play with many great musicians there.
After a couple of years there, Colm was asked to join “Riverdance the show” with whom he toured for five years. He has toured the states with worldrenowned Sligo based band “Dervish,”, The legendary DeDannan and also performed with Dolly Parton, in “Dollywood” with the show Ragus.
Colm then moved to Inverin, Connemara, with his wife, Concertina dynamo Kelly Gannon. Along side his wife, they ran a hugely successful music School/Shop called “Gannon’s Traditional Irish Music Shop in the heart of Spiddal village, which is still running. As well as regular classes, they organize and promote a weeklong summer school, “Seachtain Ceoil Chois Fharraige-A Week of Music by the Sea”, which takes place annually in August and boasts some of the finest Master tutors that the tradition has to offer.
Colm is also heavily involved with Manfrini accordions, In conjunction with Robert Rolston they have designed an accordion of the highest quality, boasting top quality hand made reeds and a wooden soundboard, amongst other features that separate these accordions from the pack.
Some recordings include: “The Ewe with The Crooked Horn”, recorded with Jesse Smith and John Blake; His first solo record, “Return to Droim”, which featured guest artists such as; John Carty, Jesse Smith and John Blake. A duet album, with his father John Gannon titled “Trasna Na dTonnta”, traditional music and songs from Connemara (On this recording, Colm’s aunt, Maureen Creighan is featured singing two beautiful Gaelic songs), Colm sourced these songs, with the help of Mick Maloney, from archival material stored deep in the Bobst Library @ NYU, the duet is accompanied by John Blake. He has also appeared as a guest musician on many albums and worked with artists like:
singer, John Beag O’Flaharta, Harry Bradley, Mick Conneely, Seomsamh O’Neachtain, Martin Meehan as well as many others.
He appeared in the critically acclaimed movie, “The Guard“, starring award winning actor Brendan Gleeson and recorded and co-produced the soundtrack with Gay McKeon, CEO of Na Píobairí Uilleann, Johnny McDonagh of DeDannan and Mary Corcoran. Colm has also featured in the daunting film by Ken Loach “Jimmy’s Hall” and his music appears throughout the sound track.
In 2012 Colm was awarded with a 1st class Masters degree in Traditional Music Performance at the University of Limerick. Since then he has released his album titled “The Rights of Man”, with some very special guests featuring, including: Alec Finn, Johnny “Ringo” McDonagh with special guests, Kelly Gannon and John Blake. Colm has also been involved in many archival projects and lectures. Including the works of PJ Conlon, which culminated in a double cd, commercially released recording of the material, published by old time records. He’s studied the effect of America on Irish music and culture in America and in Ireland and has given many lectures and talks on the subject. He also did a wonderful project, funded by the arts council studying the history or music in the Connemara region on Galway, mainly focusing on accordion players from the past 125 years as well as various other projects. Colm has currently moved back to his home place of Boston after a 20 year musical journey around Ireland and various parts of the world and is looking forward to this next exciting phase of his life
Instructor – Button Accordion