Irish KC : A Blog

Kansas City's Irish Festivals, Music, Pubs & Events

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Liam O Maonlai at WOMAD Festival

Liam Ó Maonlaí is just back from Spain where he took part in the WOMAD festival of world music. Liam doesn't update his blog often but when he does it's worth the wait.

O Maonlai describes the festival near Portugal, in Cáceres, an old citadel on a hill. I remember when Peter Gabriel almost bankrupted himself and started WOMAD back in 1982 and it's fabulous to see how successful it is now on all continents.

As you would expect at the World of Music, Arts and Dance, Liam saw and met some amazing musicians, including a dancer from Brazil, a flute player from China, and a Chinese woman who plays the Pipa. On his last day Liam met Sam Tshabalalla from South Africa:
There is a great pasive energy in the people native to south Africa. Greatness we all can learn from. Indeed there has been plenty of experience shared between the north of Ireland and South Africa in the making of peace. Music and dance played a huge part in the abolition of Apartheid in South Africa. The people would dance on the street without weapons creating energy greater then any gun.

Sam has this history in his face. In his presence and in his voice. After we both had our say he asked me would I join him in a traditional song. I had my bodhran with me and I am always eager to explore and to celebrate music. So I said, in so many words, 'does a bear .... yes'
There is of course so much more over on Liam's site, including when Liam returned to Dublin and played in a gig where John McSherry's band pioneered the use of two pipes, and Triona ni Dhomhnaill sang a Bob Dylan song. Great stuff.


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