Liam O Maonlaí was born and raised in Dublin. His first songs were taught to him by his father in his native language, while his mother was an accomplished pianist who was guided by her own father in Galway as she grew up.
Liam was educated mostly by Connemara teachers, who left a strong impression on his outlook on life language and attitude: “’The people of Connemara, Kerry,Donegal, Mayo and Ring never lost their connection to language . There is an unbroken consciousness and connection to land and creation there”.
Traditional and roots music has always been the foundation of Liam ó Maonlaí’s direction in his art, and his band Hothouse Flowers (founded in 1988) reflected that and continue to do so to this day, gaining critical acclaim worldwide for their work in the popular music idiom. Apart from the band, Liam has focused his energy on traditional music at home and abroad. His first album ‘Rian’ is a collection of music and songs indigenous to his mother country.
He has worked with artists from all over the world, including Afel Boucoum, Toumani Diabate and Oumou Sangare from Mali; Guo Yue from China, and Joji Hirota from Japan. Teać Damhsa (formerly ‘Fabulous Beast’ Dance Theatre) joined forces with Liam to create the stage show ‘Rian’, which toured the world for over two years. This show tapped into the great work of Séan Ó Riada, marrying his traditional music with the contemporary movement of dancers from Ghana, Nigeria, Finland, Greece, Ukraine and England, and revealing a deep sense of the essence of his own relationship to the music of his people.
Liam continues to compose and perform with his band and to collaborate with musicians of many genres and cultures. He is touring with the Basque company Amaia Elizaran with ‘Arima’ , a dance piece they created in 2021/22, and is finishing a new collection of traditional Irish music recorded in Tokyo in 2019. In May this year, he will tour the UK with Hothouse Flowers.