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One for the Road: Cliodhna Costello & Johnny Óg Connolly
Cliodhna Costello hails from North Tipperary, an area rich in traditional music. She was exposed to music at a young age, both at home among her siblings, and with local musicians, the likes of Paddy O’Brien, his daughter Eileen, the Larkins, O’Connors, and Slatterys. She started learning piano and whistle, and quickly progressed to the banjo. She learned much early on from listening to the likes of Jody Moran, John Carty, John Morrow and Brian McGrath, but also has been heavily influenced by the fiddle and accordion music of both Sligo and east Galway. Cliodhna’s rhythmic style is widely admired, and she has won numerous awards for her playing. She has appeared on Irish TV and radio and has travelled across the world, performing and teaching throughout Europe, the US and as far afield as New Zealand. Cliodhna lives in Galway, where she plays and teaches regularly.
Johnny Óg Connolly is an internationally renowned traditional Irish musician and composer, who has been playing the accordion at the age of nine. At 14, he joined Na h-Ancairí, fronted by the legendary Conamara singer, John Beag Ó Flatharta. In the ’90s, he travelled throughout Europe and North America with the Sean Keane Band, before touring with Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance. His first solo recording Aisling Yoshua (Joshua’s Dream) featured five new compositions, along with traditional tunes, and won Best Trad Album in the 2011 Irish Times Ticket Awards. He composed a suite, Sruth, with Mary Bergin in 2012, and in 2016 released the album Siar. He has worked on a song-cycle based on 12 poems by Máirtín Ó Direáin, and composed for multimedia show Aisling?. He is currently working on a new song-cycle based on the poetry of Joe Steve Ó Neachtain. He lives in Conamara.