CT Muse Art Cooperative

Damien Connolly 

All-Ireland accordion and melodeon champion from Co. Clare


Damien Connolly hails from Killaloe, Co. Clare.  
Born into one of the liveliest houses for Irish music in the County, Damien learned the accordion from his father, Martin – a leading box player and renowned accordion maker – and, later, the fiddle from his step mother, Maureen Glynn.  

In 1997, Damien took first place in both the Under-18 All Ireland accordion and melodeon competitions held in Ballina, Co. Mayo. A year later, he recorded three melodeon tracks on his father’s CD entitled Back to Brooklyn and followed that, in 2000, with his own accordion and melodeon CD, Tippin Away, featuring New York guitarist Pete Mancuso.  Damien moved to the US in 2003 and now resides in Fairfield, CT with his wife and sons. 

Being far from home, Damien particularly enjoys any opportunity to share the company and musicianship of his uncle Seamus. Damien is currently working on an Irish Accordion Tutor book, which will be ready for release this summer. 


"The musical gatherings in Connolly's front room in the late 50's in Killaloe live on in my memory. My friendship with Seamus Connolly (surely one of the great fiddlers of the 20th century) had developed rapidly. Our desire to play, learn - and learn about other musicians - brought us together on a regular basis. The musical nights in the Connolly household were unforgettable. The enthusiasm and encouragement from Mick and Lena Connolly will remain with me forever. It is with great delight that I listen to this first recording by Damien Connolly. He is the third generation of a musical family that I've admired all my life. Here is a young man showing great musicianship, great taste, and great respect. Pointed in the right direction by his father Martin, (himself a major figure in Irish traditional music) it couldn't be any other way. Tradition goes on - it's a lovely album. You can't beat breeding. Enjoy the music."
--Joe Burke on "Tippin' Away"

"A recent visit to accordion maker Martin Connolly afforded me the opportunity of hearing his son Damien's new recording. This excellent CD demonstrates a deep knowledge of both melodeon and the accordion. It also ecokes memories of the old 78 rpm recordings of melodeon players from the 1920's era. Damien's rhythmic, spirited, and imaginative style is like a breath of fresh air."
--Bobby Gardiner on "Tippin' Away"

"Tippin' Away is an impressive debut album from young button accordionist, Damien Connolly. His striking technique and control of the different instruments he uses are evident, as he tastefully weaves his way through a well-crafted and delightfully eclectic mixture of tunes. His playing, always crisp and lucid, reveals his understanding of contemporary traditional Irish styling, as well as the French and French-Canadian idoms. Pete Mancuso's guitar accompaniment, while solid, is never over done. No gimmicks here...just great playing."
--Joe Derrane on "Tippin' Away"


Damian Connolly as published in Hallmarks, Summer 2008.
(The Magazine for the Academy of Our Lady of Mercy | Lauralton Hall.)








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Last modified: December 22, 2008