Tony O’Connell began to play music at the age of eight. He hails from Glin in West Limerick and has strong family ties to Brosna in County Kerry, where he now lives. Tony is a self-taught concertina player and won his first All-Ireland title at age 13. He went on to win the under-18 titles for three consecutive years and then brought home the prestigious senior all-Ireland title at the age of 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.
As a professional musician, 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 debut album in 2005 with Leitrim fiddle player Andy Morrow accompanied on guitar by 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. During this time, Tony was based in Limerick City and also taught concertina at the University of Limerick. Three years after his debut he went on to record a second album with legendary fiddle player Ben Lennon, who 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 since their release.
Tony’s recent project “Rooska Hill” with the West Limerick flute player Eamonn O´Riordan brings his music back home to the southwest of Ireland. It was released in 2015 and it holds an interesting blend of concertina and flute, accompanied by Arty McGlynn as well as Gearóid Ó Duinnín on guitar and Brian Mooney on bouzouki. It has been named the “TradConnect Album of the Year 2015” and it has been described by Antoine Ó Coilean of Gael Linn as “The holy grail of traditional music.”
Instructor – Anglo Concertina