- 14 Mar 18
It is with great sadness that Hot Press has learned of the death of the legendary Irish piper, Liam O'Flynn
The great Irish uileann piper Liam O’Flynn has died.
Liam was one of the finest and most influential Irish pipers of his generation. He became known nationally in the 1970s when he joined forces with Christy Moore, Donal Lunny and Andy Irvine to form Plenty. The group’s emergence marked a vital shift in the way in which folk music and traditional tunes could be intertwined and related. O’Flynn was vital to that vital innovation.
He worked with Tara Records on a number of projects, including ShaunDavey’s epic The Brendan Voyage.
Like Christy Moore and Dónal Lunny, Liam was originally from Kildare. He learned the uileann pipes from the master, Leo Rowsome, beginning at the age of just eleven years. He quickly developed a reputation as a special talent, which was confirmed by his pivotal role in Planxty.
In an extraordinary career, he also worked with international luminaries like Emmylou Harris, Mike Oldfield, The Everly Brothers and Kate Bush, as well as Enya, Sinéad O’Connor, Mary Black and the Nobel prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney.
“What Planxty did was ground-breaking,” Hot Press editor Niall Stokes said. “Most people had become familiar with the uileann pipes through The Chieftains, but its integration into songs and its use to create atmosphere, gave it a much wider resonance – to the extent that it is now a fully integrated element in the way in which Irish music is understood and is played.
"Liam O’Flynn was a musician through and through. He was generally a quiet, thoughtful man and his lovely, intricate individual style of playing reflected that. His contribution, not just with Planxty but later in the more symphonic pieces and the film soundtracks he worked on, was immense. I think we can say with complete conviction that Ireland is a better place as a result of what this great musician did, and what he created, in his life and in his work. He will be greatly missed.”
Liam was part of the Andy Irvine 70th birthday celebration gig in Vicar Street in 2012, which yielded a live album released in 2014. The compilation album Between The Jigs and the Reels was released in 2016.
Sheila Pratschke, the Chair of the Arts Council has spoken of Liam’s importance to teh tradition: "Liam O'Flynn has left behind him an incredible legacy of music through his recordings, his careful support of other musicians and artists and his dedication to transmission of the great heritage of Irish music to future generations.”