Born in Cork in 1961, Conal Ó Gráda has long been at the forefront of traditional Irish flute-playing and truly has one of its most distinctive sounds. A multiple All Ireland winner in his youth, Conal’s debut recording ‘The Top of Coom’ in 1990 is still regarded as a seminal recording of flute-playing. Conal takes the basic elements of traditional music and forges them into a personal style which, once heard is unforgettable. His fast, rhythmically precise flute-playing has an earthy raucous tone reminiscent of the saxophone and is driven by a spirit from the true heart of traditional music. His second solo recording ’Cnoc Buí’ was released in 2008 to widespread critical acclaim.
Conal teaches flute privately in his native Cork and is a regular teacher at summer schools worldwide, including The Willie Clancy Summer School, Catskills Irish Arts Week and Blas.
In 2012, Conal published a book on flute technique and styles called 'An Fheadóg Mhór…Irish Traditional Flute Technique'. This has been hailed as the best instructional flute tutor published to date.
Conal also teaches from home via Skype and has students of all levels from beginner to advanced all around the world.
He is a co-founder of the community flute band ‘Banna Fliúit Loch a’Bhogaigh’ and is chairman of the traditional flute festival ‘Cruinniú na bhFliúit...the Flute Meeting’ which runs annually in Baile Bhúirne, Co. Cork.
He is a member of the band The band Raw Bar Collective, with whom he released a new CD in February 2011 called ‘millhouse measure’s’.
Conal is also active in theatre and is co-founder of Whobeganit Theatre Company who are currently working on bringing a major Irish musical to the stage.