Flanagan Brothers Award Concert


Friday 18 August





The Flanagan Brothers Award Concert celebrates the legacy of the of the Golden Era of Irish music in America. The 2nd Annual Flanagan Brothers Award will this year be presented to banjo legend Gerry O'Connor. Gerry will be joined on the night by many of his musical friends and family. Expect a unique night of music from one of the main trend-setters in banjo playing for the past 30 years.

Gerry O'Connor

Gerry O'Connor was born in Tipperary in 1960 into a family steeped in Irish Traditional music. Learning music from his parents and grandparents, he started playing banjo and fiddle in his early teens.

In 1977, while attending University College Dublin, he joined popular folk band Tipsy Sailor and made numerous TV appearances with them. He joined The Wild Geese in 1981 and toured Europe extensively, recording two albums with the group.

In 1984 he joined Dublin ballad group, Moonshine, and also Jury's Irish Cabaret which became the world’s longest running cabaret show. During this period he also recorded tutor books and DVDs on tenor banjo which were highly successful and distributed worldwide.

1990 saw the release of his first solo album Time To Time on the Mulligan label. This album received rave reviews and is considered a classic benchmark for banjo in Irish music with many of the tracks used for TV programmes. The track, Funk the Cajun Blues became a popular radio single and also featured on the big selling Trad at Heart Irish music compilation album in 1994.

Gerry joined the band Four Men and a Dog in 1992, the first Irish band to win UK Folk Roots album of the year. Over 12 years they did four albums and became one of the most popular Irish Trad groups on the touring circuit worldwide. Highlights were performing at the Olympic Games in Atlanta 1996, recording and touring with rock and roll legends, The Band.

Between tours Gerry did countless recording sessions in Dublin for many artists, including Christy Moore, Bonnie Tyler, and the Lord of the Dance soundtrack.

He joined The Sharon Shannon big band in 2008 recording two CDs and two DVDs. The song The Galway Girl became the most downloaded song in Irish music.

He also recorded and toured with Sharon Corr and has also played on The Corrs album White Light.

In 2011 he joined rock guitar superstar Joe Bonamassa's Acoustic Band recording two U.S. Billboard No.1 albums and DVDs Live in Vienna Opera House and Live at the Albert Hall. Multiple tours followed including a world tour in 2013.

Following the death of friend and banjo legend, Barney McKenna, Gerry guested with The Dubliners on their 50 years anniversary tour. That year The Dublin Legends were born and continue to carry on the legacy and spirit of The Dubliners.

Mike Flanagan Award

The concert will conclude with the presentation of the Mike Flanagan Award for Outstanding Achievement in Banjo.

The Flanagan Brothers

Mike and Joe Flanagan were two of the most talented Irish born musicians ever to perform in America. Their song and tune material was vast and novel. They played everything from Irish dance tune medleys to songs and comic routines from vaudeville. Their recording output was prodigious and set a level for exuberance and instrumental virtuosity that stands to this day. Mick Moloney met Mike Flanagan in Albany in 1978 when Mike was in his early 80's and interviewed him extensively about the halcyon Flanagan Brothers days in New York City in the 1920's. His presentation on the life and times of this amazing duo is richly illustrated by recordings and visual images of the day.