16.12.16 5:33 am
It’s not too often that internationally renowned musicians skip the draw of the big cities in mainland Australia, but Liam Ó’Maonlaí, frontman of the Irish act Hothouse Flowers, is doing just that. Ó’Maonlaí has opted for a slow-paced visit to Tasmania, where he will play a number of intimate venues over a week-long period in January.
Fans may remember his performance as part of The Hothouse Flowers gig in Launceston back in the 1990s and this will be Ó’Maonlaí’s first visit back since then. What makes Ó’Maonlaí remarkable as a musician is his movement between genres and mastery of multiple musical instruments. In recent years he has become better known for his tireless commitment to a revival of Irish folk traditions and the promotion of the Irish language.
Not only has he released albums and collaborated on major dance projects in the sean-nós style of unaccompanied singing, but also he has become a trailblazer with Irish-language performances of the songs of Van Morrison, Leonard Cohen and David Bowie.
There’s a lot of buzz about him at the moment, as the Hothouse Flowers gain attention for the launch of their newest album Lets do this Thing and one of their original hits is the title track of Jeremy Clarkson’s new BBC show The Grand Tour.
Australian fans may be disappointed to hear that he is bypassing the major cities, but why has Tasmania won out as a destination?
“Ireland and Tasmania are both small islands that share cultural and historical connections. Liam has a busy schedule and can be in demand but he was interested in grassroots, community based performances and returning to Tasmania after all this time.
His visit has evolved into a unique cultural event in Scottsdale, performances in Hobart and at Cygnet Folk Festival. It’s quite a coup for Tasmania to be hosting his only Australian performances,” says tour organiser Grace Walsh.
Anyone who wants to witness Liam’s unique talent will have to act quickly to catch tickets to the limited number of gigs he is playing. In the Northeast, he will join NSW musicians the Stiff Gins, and Tasmanian historians Patsy Cameron and Hamish Maxwell Stewart for a unique take on local history. A Scattering of Stories takes place in Scottsdale, on January 4th. Details and tickets are available on http://www.facebook.com/scatteringofstories or tickets can be bought in person from Rose’s newsagents, Scottsdale. Liam will also play music venue the Grand Poobah in Hobart on January 5th, before headlining at the Cygnet Folk Festival from January 6th – 8th.