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About Liam O'Flynn

Born in Ireland's County Kildare in April of 1945, uilleann piper Liam O'Flynn was acclaimed as one of the most influential pipers on the Irish music scene. His father, like Liam a schoolteacher, had also been a fiddle player, and Liam was brought up into a world rich in folk tradition. He first came into contact with the uilleann pipes through family friend Sergeant Tom Armstrong of the Garda in County Kildare. During the '60s, O'Flynn won prizes at the Orieachtas Festival and the Fleadh Ceoil, but it was not until helping to found the influential Irish group Planxty in 1972 that his name came to wider prominence. His recordings with the group became definitive documents in the evolution of contemporary Irish music without breaking with its heritage, a lineage to which O'Flynn's eloquent musicianship was central.

Later, O'Flynn and classical guitarist John Williams performed The Brendan Voyage Suite at the Royal Festival Hall in London, as part of the South Bank Festival. The piece was written, with specific parts for the uilleann pipes, by Shaun Davey after being jointly impressed by Tim Severin's travelogue of the same title and O'Flynn's work with Planxty. It led to other similar orchestral commissions from Davey, including Granuaille and The Siege of Derry. O'Flynn subsequently worked with other well-known names, including John Cage, Gary Moore, and Kate Bush. The film Cal featured his piping on the soundtrack score by Mark Knopfler, and he also featured on another modern Irish film classic, The Field.

In the '90s O'Flynn released his first solo album, increasing his profile with a series of concerts and television and radio appearances. In 1993 he reunited with former touring partners Seán Keane and Matt Molloy for The Fire Aflame, a formidable collaboration covering solo as well as ensemble pieces and even poetry. Released in 1995, The Given Note, another exemplary piping collection using sources such as Paul Brady and Andy Irvine, featured a sleeve note from Nobel prize winner Seamus Heaney, from whose poem the title was taken. Heaney joined O'Flynn to release the joint album The Poet & the Piper in 2003. O'Flynn died in Dublin in March of 2018; he was 72 years old. ~ TiVo Staff

Kill, County Kildare, Ireland
15 Apr 1945

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