Conal O’Kane grew up in South Philadelphia, where he was an active member of the Irish music community. When he was on a trip to his father’s hometown of Buncrana, Co. Donegal, he was taught his first tune on fiddle by the legendary teacher Dinny McLaughlin, Whelan’s jig. He was told that he should go home and practice, and if he hadn’t learned the tune properly by the next time he was in Buncrana, Dinny would strangle him! He has been practicing ever since.
When he was 17, he learned guitar from local musician John Brennan, in the unusual tuning DADEAE, before later switching to Drop D. His interest in guitar grew, and after completing high school, he enrolled in the BA in Irish Music and Dance at the University of Limerick. His guitar style draws from a wide variety of influences, particularly from jazz and classic rock, while still rooted firmly within the tradition.
Now a graduate, he is an active member of the Limerick music scene and teaches guitar in the area, as well as playing guitar with the Dave Stone Quartet.