Brian Connolly (banjo and mandolin) from Belfast was taught the mandolin by his grandfather and then started playing the banjo. His main influences include Barney McKenna of the Dubliners, The Chieftains, The Bothy Band and Planxty. He played with several groups while at school and began playing at sessions. He founded the original Craobh Rua in the mid-eighties and remains the driving force behind the band today. As well as touring with Craobh Rua he teaches banjo and mandolin and has published a banjo tutor book Play Tunes on the Irish Tenor Banjo Introductory Repertoire.