Cian Profile

aka Cian O'Donnell
Lewis Tennant
19 Apr 2017

In a modern media environment where it seems everyone is a “tastemaker” – or even more garishly, a “curator” – DJ, broadcaster, record shop owner, promoter, and traveller Cian O’Donnell is synonymous with endorsing and providing quality music to New Zealand ears since the late 1980s.

Born in Hereford, England, O’Donnell’s childhood follows a similar narrative to that of many with a passion for music, though it was arriving in Wainuiomata in 1987 that would see him becoming ensconced in a life and career based on music, as well as making New Zealand his home. DJ Cian has since become the name associated with a Gilles Peterson-esque approach to bringing quality music to local ears, be it via his DJ sets and radio shows, his long-running Auckland club night The Turnaround, or from behind the counter of the many record shops he has slung discs from – the most well-known of which is probably Conch Records on Ponsonby Road.

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Benny Staples and Cian O'Donnell
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Cian O'Donnell and friends outside Conch Records with UK DJ and BBC radio legend Gilles Peterson
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Cian O'Donnell
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Cian O'Donnell
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The Turnaround, June 29, 2010
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A Turnaround flyer from 2010
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The Turnaround, 22 March 2014 at The Mechanics
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The Turnaround crew outside BaseFM, 2016: Andy 'Submariner' Morton, Manuel Bundy and Cian O'Donnell
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The Turnaround at Leigh Sawmill, New Year's Eve, 2013
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The Turnaround, 1 June 2013, at Leigh Sawmill
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The Turnaround at the Galatos Basement, 25 October 2013
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The Turnaround crew with UK DJ Benji B outside Conch Records, 2011
Photo credit: Photo by Brent Hollands
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Cian O'Donnell outside Conch Records, December 2016
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The Turnaround with Japanese DJ Mitsu The Beats, Bacco Room, 24 September 2010
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Cian’s father was a professional musician, and was asked to join Manfred Mann’s Earth Band and Mott the Hoople in the 1960s.

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