Rising star Damien has touch of Brady magic

Damien O'Kane
Damien O'Kane
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IMAGINE you can travel back in time.

And where better to visit than those early days when a young Paul Brady was taking the folk clubs by storm...

In fact you don’t need a time machine. Just a trip to a Damien O’Kane concert.

For he has all the hallmarks of a young Brady on the brink of stardom.

The same passion oozes from every phrase and the same inspired approach to songs is at play.

And that is why Damien O’Kane is earning a growing reputation as a creative and exciting musician and singer.

His banjo playing in particular has led him to being regarded as one of the finest Irish players on the scene today and he’s winning accolades as a singer, focusing on songs from his native Northern Ireland.

He his probably best known for his work with Shona Kipling and Flook but has recently been a full-time member of Kate Rusby’s band.

Damien’s debut solo album Summer Hill came out last May 3, produced by Joe Rusby and himself, and features acclaimed musicians Michael McGoldrick, Ian Carr, Dave Kosky, John-Joe Kelly and Aaron Jones, to name a few.

The title track features vocals from Kate Rusby.

Damien hails from Coleraine in Co Derry, Northern Ireland but moved to England in 2001 to complete a degree at Newcastle University, graduating in 2005. He has been performing ever since.

He is also an excellent teacher of folk and traditional music.

His work with accordion player Shona Kipling earned them both a Folk Award nomination in 2007 and their gigs expanded all over the world from Spain to Canada.

Having spent a year with Anglo-Irish super group Flook, he is now pursuing a solo career ahead and his work with Kate Rusby.

Damien will be at the Rock@Maltby, Wesley Centre, Blyth Road, Maltby, next Friday. Tonight’s guest is Allan Taylor.

n DAVE Swarbrick is at the Wortley Folk Club, the Venue, Stocksbridge tonight. He is one of the most influential musicians for British folk music. His style of violin playing and arrangement have been copied and developed worldwide.

Despite periods of ill health, Swarby has helped to create such important albums as Liege and Lief while a leading member of Fairport and has played with fellow leading musicians such as Martin Carthy, Ian Campbell Folk Group and Wippersnapper.

n AMERICANA fans are in for a treat next week when a trio of acts take to the stage at the Greystones, Greystones Road, Sheffield.

Chicago’s Dolly Varden, featuring husband and wife Steve Dawson and Diane Christiansen, top the bill which also includes St Louis-based Magnolia Summer and Scotland’s Wynntown Marshals.

The show is tomorrow at the Greystones.

n THE Folk Train sets out on the Hope Valley line at 7.14pm next Tuesday with entertainment from Strings and Reeds.

The band were formed in 1986 and are well known on the circuit of ceilidhs, weddings and family parties, playing English, Irish and Scottish music on button accordion, piano accordion and fiddle, interspersed with some fine vocals.

Music continues at Edale’s The Rambler Country House Hotel.

n THE Backyard Buskers, Lou Marriott and floor singers entertain at the Old Horns folk club, High Bradfield, tonight. Free admission.