Return to London Town Festival 2020 - Ashford Place - Piano Accordion Workshop - Colette O'Leary

Traditional Irish Piano Accordion Workshop 11am-1pm
Intermediate – Advanced Level
Tutor: Colette O’Leary

About this Event

Ashford Place is a Covid secure venue with capacity monitoring, social distancing, sanitising measures and a one way system in place.

Please arrive no earlier than 15 minutes before your workshop start time to register (wearing a face covering, unless exempt). Please sanitise your hands on arrival and adhere to all social distancing guidelines.

The on-site cafe will be open for drinks and snacks during your visit.

Please note that this workshop is aimed at Intermediate to Advanced level players (not beginners).

Colette O’Leary

Colette O’Leary, London based piano accordionist, was born in the highly musical area of Sliabh Luachra in Co. Kerry, southwest of Ireland and raised in Dublin. At the age of five, she took her first piano accordion lesson. At age 11, Seamus Meehan of music branch Comhaltas Cluain Tarbh Dublin, became her teacher. It was Seamus who first harvested her inspiration and passion for Irish music. By the age of eighteen, Colette had won two All-Ireland titles.

Colette was a founder member of highly acclaimed all girl Irish group Bumblebees. Between 1996-2002, they released two albums Bumblebees and Buzzin’, the latter produced by Trevor Hutchinson. Their infectious brew of tunes from Ireland, Canada, Cape-Breton, France and Italy won them many accolades. They were festival favourites at Celtic Connections Festival Glasgow and toured worldwide in US, Europe and UK. Buzzin’ was voted one of the top 10 albums by The Echo Newspaper, New York City.

“Acoustic music par excellence” (Hot Press)

Colette moved to London in 2001. Inspired by the great feast of world genres on her doorstep, she recorded her first solo album The Attic Room with guitarist Ed Boyd, bodhran player John Joe Kelly and jazz maestro Roger Beaujolais on vibraphone.

“she weaves an intriguing tapestry of music from Ireland, Scotland, Italy, France and Eastern Europe with zest, vitality and cosmopolitan taste (The Irish Times)

Between 2007 and 2012, Colette recorded and toured extensively with the “The Long Notes”. They released two albums The Long Notes and In the Shadow of Stromboli.

“Nothing short of sublime, the dance sets implausibly quick, yet immaculately detailed, brilliantly intense yet utterly supple, silkily dovetailed in a thrilling panapoly of colour, texture and taut-sprung rhythms” (The Scotsman *****)

Colette participated in Liverpool Philharmonic Hall’s first “Irish Sea Sessions” which also featured Dublin’s luminary singer songwriter Damien Dempsey. Festival appearances include Glastonbury, Celtic Colours Canada, Celtic Connections Glasgow, HebCelt, Wickham, Milwaukee USA, Lorient Interceltique Brittany, Orkney, Copenhagen, Tonder Denmark, Highlands and Islands, Lovebox, Tate Modern, Wychwood, Return to Camden, From the Heart Barbican, Wimborne, Blas, Moseley, Devizes, Towersey and Trowbridge Festivals. Over the years, Colette has shared festival billings with Jools Holland, The Chieftains, Maire Ni Bhraonain (Clannad), The Proclaimers, Luka Bloom, Brian Kennedy, Paul Brady, Mary Coughlan and many more.

Colette has featured on numerous TV programmes, BBC Alba’s Horo Geallaidh, UTV’s Kelly Show, RTE’s “The Late Late Show”, “Mary Kennedy Show” and “The High Reel”, TG4’s Ionad Cois Locha, Feilte and Sult, the latter a collaborative project with Donal Lunny. Her albums have aired on RTE Radio, BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 3, Lyric FM, as well as countless regional BBC and radio stations throughout the USA. She is also in demand as a studio musician having recorded on albums with Wolfstone, Maire Breatnach, Mark Nevin (Fairground Attraction) and Russian legend Boris Grebenshikov.

For more details regarding events taking place as part of ‘Return to London Town’ London’s 22nd Festival of traditional Irish music, song and dance (Fri 23 – Sat 25 Oct 2020) please see and