Liam Ó Maonlaí is touring the U.S. this month. PHOTO BY TARA KEANE
By Stephanie Wells
Liam Ó Maonlaí has been the charismatic front man for the internationally-known band, Hothouse Flowers, since their beginnings in the late 1980s. He has honed his craft for decades and has earned his place as one of the most beloved and respected music carriers in Ireland.
Ó Maonlaí is an unforgettable performer who conveys sheer mastery in authentic Gaelic styles, original ballads, and blues-inspired rock and roll. He is a gifted singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who delivers the ethos of Ireland and the universality of the human soul. He has exchanged musical traditions with indigenous elders from Australia to Mali and on many stops in between. His versatility makes him unique as a performer; one minute you are carried back in time with a haunting Sean Nós tune, the next minute you are weeping during mind-blowing rendition of Purple Rain. You will also appreciate the chance to sing along or get up to dance; you will leave with a deep sense of presence and hope.
In addition to his two solo albums, “Rían” and “To Be Touched,” Ó Maonlaí ‘s recent projects include showcasing the songs of Van Morrison, Leonard Cohen, David Bowie, and Bruce Springsteen in the Irish language, touring the world as musical director for the dance performance, “Rían,” playing vibrant live shows with The Flowers, and collaborating with legendary jazz singer Cassandra Wilson on a tour with stops in New York, Chicago and L.A. through Manhattan’s Irish Arts Center. Most recently, Hothouse Flowers have completed a long-awaited new studio album, “Let’s Do this Thing,” available for download on www.hothouseflowers.com. The album has a spontaneity to it, with jazz-like and spoken-word elements. The band recently celebrated 30 years of making music together, and have returned from Japan playing two nights at The Fuji Rocks Festival. They will embark on an extensive tour of the UK this November. Visit the HHF Facebook page for specific events.
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Ó Maonlaí will be performing solo over the next few weeks in the U.S; his brilliant show is always an unforgettable experience:
Friday, Oct. 5, 7 p.m. Reach Performing Arts Center, Deer Isle, Me. mountainvillerecords.com
Sunday, Oct. 7 The Locks Music at Sona, Philadelphia, Pa 8pm Tickets on Eventbrite $20/ $25
Friday, Oct. 12, American Irish Historical Society, New York City. Benefit show
Saturday, Oct. 20, The Celtic Junction St. Paul, Minn. 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 21 Swing the Teapot, Floral Park, N.Y.