Hailed as a "genius fiddler" by Mike Scott of The Waterboys, Irish-born violinist and composer Colm O'Riain is an accomplished and fiery improviser in multiple genres. In the USA, which he currently calls home, he has enthralled audiences on stages as diverse as CBGB's in New York to Fillmore West and Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco. He has performed at festivals and venues throughout the world from Alaska to Argentina, Sweden to Vietnam.
Colm likes to sit on borders but not necessarily in a way that Homeland Security would recognize. A former Concertmaster of the National Youth Orchestras of Ireland, he moved to the USA for graduate study and embraced the musical melting pot he found there, absorbing lessons from jazz, blues and the music cultures of India, Brazil, Cuba and many more. What has emerged is exciting: while deeply rooted in the traditions of his native Ireland, Colm's music constantly looks for connection with other forms. The Irish Herald notes that "O'Riain's fireworks display of virtuosity easily spans the diverse genres of gypsy, tango, jazz, blues and Irish music, all with his characteristic intelligence and pizazz".
Colm thrives when creating bridges not just between musics but also to other art forms. He has composed music for both film and modern dance while his award-winning CD, "Bridge Across the Blue", produced with partner-in-crime, poet Pireeni Sundaralingam, features a dazzling array of musicians and poets and was cited by About.com as "one of the Top 7 recordings of poetry and music of all time." He has taught in a variety of environments including Visiting Artist residencies at Berklee College of Music and the University of Washington.