Aidan Connolly is a fiddle player from Rathfarnham who has been heavily influenced both by the musicians of his locality and the great fiddlers of times past: Paddy Cronin, Paddy Canny and Denis Murphy to name but a few. He has studied traditional music in-depth and is a highly respected authority on traditional instrumental music from the 1920s onwards. Aidan has a tremendous interest in archive materials (books, manuscripts, recorded sound, etc.) and has a vast repertoire of tunes of traditional and more contemporary origin, as well as from other folk music genres.
Aidan was originally introduced to traditional music by his mother Eileen, a tin whistle player and Kerry native. Aidan’s parents bought him his first fiddle for his 8th birthday and he was enrolled at the Craobh Naithí branch of Comhaltas which was then based in Ballinteer (now in Knocklyon).
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. Mayo fiddler Mick Glynn was a central figure at these events and was (and still is) always supportive of developing musicians.
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. The bonds and friendships created while engaging with other local musicians in these formative years were an invaluable source of encouragement.
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. Tomás went into great detail on bowing in particular and encouraged Aidan to think more deeply about the style and expression within the music.
Aidan has his own unique style of playing and is a highly sought-after performer both in Ireland and abroad. He released his debut album, Be Off, in October 2016 to critical acclaim. Aidan relocated to the Spanish city of Valencia in 2018 and is now a regular performer in Spain, Ireland, and further afield in the USA, Australia and Japan. In 2019, Aidan collaborated with fiddle player John Daly on Away On Up The Road, a must-have album for fiddle fans.