New musical suite in memory of melodeon player

An Cosán Draíochta, a new musical suite in memory of the renowned and much-loved Connemara melodeon player Johnny Connolly, will be performed at Amharchlann Ghaoth Dobhair, 12 November.

The suite was composed by his son, Johnny Óg Connolly who is also a highly regarded force in the world of traditional music, both as a performer and composer.

Referred to as the “King of the Melodeon”, Johnny Connolly, who died in December 2019, was a musical genius whose rhythmic and flawless style of playing was legendary.


His love of his native Connemara and its music coloured every tune he played, and this deep-rooted connection to its culture and traditions is reflected and honoured in Johnny Óg’s beautiful composition.

The work features an ensemble of acclaimed artists who seamlessly weave the music and the oral art forms of song and poetry in this profoundly moving and uplifting musical tribute.

Performers include Johnny Óg Connolly (accordion and melodeon) Ciara Ní Bhriain (fiddle/viola), Clíodhna Ní Choisdealbha (banjo, tenor guitar and Greek bouzouki), Jim Higgins (piano and percussion), Pádraig Ó Dubhgaill (guitar), Seosamh Ó Neachtain (dancer) and Áine Ní Dhroighneáin (singer and actor).

An Cosán Draíochta, translated as the magic path, was the name given by the islanders of Inis Bearacháin, off the Conamara coast (where the late Johnny Connolly was born), to the path that emerged to the mainland during low tide.

An Cosán Draíochta was an artery in the life and psyche of the islanders, as was their music.

Creating this musical suite was a labour of love for Johnny Óg as it not alone remembers and celebrates the music of his much-loved dad, but also acknowledges and reflects the culture and traditions of Connemaara and Inis Bearacháin.

An Cosán Draíochta,was commissioned by Stiúideo Cuan, the new and much welcomed Creative Arts and Music Centre in An Spidéal, and was directed and produced by Darach Mac An Iomaire.


Johnny Óg Connolly is an internationally renowned traditional musician and composer who began playing the accordion at the age of nine.

He has played and travelled widely with some of Ireland’s foremost musicians and singers, and also toured with Lord of the Dance.

He has recorded five albums and his compositions are included in the repertoire of many traditional Irish musicians.

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