More Exciting News and Reviews

January 1, 2016

Well another couple of fine bits of news for Damien’s new album AREAS OF HIGH TRAFFIC. 

It was chosen as ALBUM OF THE MONTH, November 2015 by Tim Collins at FolkWords. Up against tough competition such as new and innovative Irish trio Ulaid (John McSherry, Donal O’Connor and Sean Og Graham), Damien pulled through as Tim’s choice of the month.

Areas Of High Traffic has also been chosen as BBC Merseyside Folk Show ‘FolkScene’ ALBUM OF THE YEAR 2015. Thanks to them for the support.

Theres’s lots more reviews for AOHT if you want to have a read.

Happy New Year from Damien and Band and see you on the road somewhere 2016 😉 Xxx

The Telegraph Best Folk Albums of 2015

December 16, 2015

Following a fantastic 4★ review in the Telegraph, Areas of High Traffic has now been added to their ‘Best Folk Albums of 2015’ 👍😀🎅

Sunday Express Recognition

November 2, 2015

Damien’s new album Areas Of High Traffic received the honour of CD of The Week in yesterday’s (November 1st) Sunday Express as well as an incredible 5* rating. See the reviews page to read what they had to say 😉

Folk Radio UK

November 2, 2015

Here’s some great news – on line magazine Folk Radio UK have posted an exclusive interview with Damien together with their brilliant review of Areas of High Traffic.  Just one more accolade from them – album of the month!

Folk Radio interview

Areas Of High Traffic Press Release

August 31, 2015

‘Areas Of High Traffic’ is an extraordinary album. But then, Damien O’Kane is an extraordinary musician.
An immense banjo player. An accomplished, versatile guitarist. A seriously good singer. A naturally inventive arranger. An inveterate musical explorer. A producer. A bandleader. A provocatively original interpreter of folk song.
And when all the pieces are fitted together with unconditional love, care and attention to detail, the results are spectacular.
Growing up in Coleraine, Northern Ireland, he was absorbed by traditional music from day one, becoming impossibly adept on banjo at an absurdly young age; and earning his spurs as a 13-year-old playing with his parents and siblings in the O’Kane Family Band – or, as they were known locally – “the Von Trapps of Coleraine”.
He’s come a long way since then, of course, initially making his mark in earnest in a successful duo with Shona Kipling and then teaming up with Flook before being joining Kate Rusby’s band, which has proved a joyously productive partnership in more ways than one for them both.
The songs on ‘Area Of High Traffic’ are largely rooted in his home land in the north of Ireland and several have long become part of the furniture of Irish music and been recorded numerous times through the years.
But never like this.
“Songs like ‘The Blacksmith’ and ‘I Am A Youth’ are so iconic I’ve always avoided them like the plague,” says the genial Damien. “But I’ve always loved them – they are great songs – and I decided I had to overcome this fear of ‘don’t touch’ songs. Singing them takes me back home. But I’m not trying to be Paul Brady or Andy Irvine, I do them my way.”
And Damien O’Kane’s way is very different to anything that’s gone before.
Steeped in tradition he may be, but he also has a thoroughly modern take on folk song and, in league with his outstanding co-conspirators (Steve Iveson on electric guitar, Anthony Davis on keyboards and Cormac Byrne on percussion), he brings a deluge of fresh ideas and radically original arrangements to the table.
“With this album I decided I wouldn’t set any boundaries and I’d do the songs exactly the way I wanted. There may be a little bit of rebellion about it, but I haven’t done anything for the sake of being different. I’ve tried to get inside every song and the arrangements reflect the words. I wouldn’t put a happy chord on a sad bit. The lyrics are the most important thing.”
With sumptuous harmony vocals from Kate Rusby and a brand new tune, he virtually re-invents the famous song ‘The Banks Of The Bann’; while the mix of jazz, rock and world music influences applied by Iveson, Davis and Byrne bring a whole new feel to big songs like ‘The Close Of An Irish Day’, ‘Erin’s Lovely Home’ and ‘The Green Fields Of America’, which emotively address the human tragedy of Ireland’s sad history of enforced emigration.
This is a theme underlined by the beautiful melancholia and fragile sensibility of the album’s one completely contemporary song ‘Don’t Let Me Come Home A Stranger’ (by Robin Williams and Jerome Clark).
Throw in a guest appearance by American bluegrass banjo wizard Ron Block (on ‘The Blacksmith’) and Damien’s dazzling playing on his own rousing tune ‘The Goddaughter Part 1’ and you have a thoughtful, provocative, uplifting and inspirational collection which surely marks O’Kane’s emergence as one of the most vital talents in modern folk music.

Welcome to Damien O’Kane’s new website

August 31, 2015

Damien has been in and out of the studio, making a new album and this incredibly exciting new album AREAS OF HIGH TRAFFIC will be released on November 9th. Please read on to see what Colin Irwin has to say about AOHT and how this outing is a ‘thoroughly modern’ take on folk song and ‘…different to anything that’s gone before.’ Measured, dazzling, arrays of ebullient percussion from Cormac Byrne. Exciting, ethereal and hugely atmospheric pads, synths, organs and pianos from Anthony Davis. Beautiful, sublime and understated Electric guitars by Steven Iveson. Last but not least, O’Kane’s trademark ‘hypnotic and resonant’ vocals along with all the superbly executed acoustic guitars and banjo finish off a record with a huge statement. All of O’Kane’s influences shine through to create a sound which is both fresh, innovative, new and massively exciting. Nearly as massive as Cormac Byrne’s drum set up 😉