Free Time

The Damien O’Kane Trio

Solid folk roots with a rock and pop sensibility, Damien O’Kane and his trio continue to make huge waves on the live music scene. They visit Stamford Arts Centre this August…

Stamford has become something of a beacon when it comes to attracting original music-making talent, and August’s offering at Stamford Arts Centre is no exception. One of the absolute highlights of the month is the Damien O’Kane Trio, fronted by the eponymous – not to mention hugely talented – Damien O’Kane himself. Born in Coleraine, Northern Ireland, Damien’s family were enthusiastic musicians and performers, affectionately nick-named the Von Trapps of Coleraine by friends and fans alike (the real name of the family’s music group was actually the O’Kane Family Band).

By the time he reached his late teens, Damien had become steeped in the rich musical traditions of Ireland and was already a highly proficient musician and performer – but nonetheless decided to come to Britain to undertake a Traditional Music degree course at Newcastle University. It was at this time he patnered with Shona Kipling, a gifted and award-winning Irish accordianist, and together they made two albums and were nominated for the BBC Folk Horizons award.

Work with the band Flook followed – and perhaps more significantly, with Kate Rusby. Despite an initial clash of schedules the two ended up recording and touring together – not to mention getting married and having two daughters! After more work with Kate and an acclaimed instrumental album with David Kosky, The Mystery Inch, Damien continues to use his music and his talent to uphold the folk roots tradition in many different and exciting ways.

He says he has no masterplan beyond playing the music he loves in an honest way to as many people as he can, researching newmaterial, working up fresh approaches to old songs and proudly flying the flag for folk song in whatever form he finds it. ‘Whether I’m playing with Kate or on my own I have a huge love and respect for the music and I love to sing and play it. I feel very lucky and privileged to have had the chance to play with some great musicians. Long may it last,’ he says.

Stamford Arts Centre Friday, 25 August 8pm
01780 763203

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