Aidan Connolly – Fiddle
Aidan Connolly is a fiddle player from Rathfarnham in Dublin and was introduced to traditional music by his mother, Eileen Moynihan, a native of Gneeveguilla in the heart of Sliabh Luachra. He attended classes at the Craobh Naithí branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann from the age of eight.
At Craobh Naithí he had a number of teachers including Brendan Needham, Claire Walsh and Mary O’Halloran. Regular pub and house sessions were organised for the younger players and these occasions were important for meeting and playing with other musicians. Aidan took one-to-one lessons with local fiddler Tomás MacUileagóid between the ages of 13 and 17, which had a significant impact on his development. Aidan participated at Fleadhanna Cheoil as a teenager in the individual, duet and trio categories as well as with the Craobh Naithí Grupaí Cheoil and Céilí bands, with lots of success.
Sliabh Luachra music has had an important influence on Aidan’s playing, having been introduced to it through his mother and uncle, Con Moynihan, a fiddle player based in Castleisland. The Star Above the Garter was the first album Aidan heard and since then he has been taken with the music of Denis Murphy, Julia Clifford and Pádraig O’Keefe amongst others. Con gave Aidan a copy of Paddy Cronin’s two albums from the 1970’s – Kerry’s Own and The Rakish Paddy – and this was an important intervention, as Aidan been enamoured with Paddy’s playing, an influence to be heard in his music today.
Aidan has listened widely to fiddle music from all over Ireland and further afield from the 78rpm-era onwards, which has resulted in diverse influences on his style of playing. He cites James Morrison, Michael Coleman, Paddy Canny and Máirtín Byrnes as key figures but the list could fill the page!
Aidan has his own unique style of playing and is a highly sought after performer both in Ireland and abroad. He has performed at concerts in Britain, Europe and Australia, and regularly tours in the USA. He is also a regular performer in Dublin and a respected teacher of the fiddle in the locality and also at festival workshops. Aidan released his debut album, Be Off, in October 2016 to critical acclaim.