A Selection on Liam O'Flynn reviews

  • Paddy Murray of The Sunday Tribune reviews Laoi na Pibe The Irish language version of The Piper's Call television documentary. Full Review
  • The wood paneled wall of Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall opened like the ribcage of a Leviathan. And two giant voices emerged.Full Review
  • On Saturday, May 13 -AN ENTHUSIASTIC audience was treated to the spectacular playing of one of the masters of the Uilleann pipesFull Review
  • Poetry and piping. Poems about piping. Piping that was sheer poetry. Full Review
  • Musical friendships can span years and seas. That was the underlying message of this showcase concertFull Review
  • A huge roar of applause greeted the very sight of Liam O'Flynn and his band at the Whitla Hall.... Full Review
  • Without compromising his strong traditional lineage, Liam O'Flynn has in his three solo albums and session projects successfully managed to take the uilleann pipe's sound into other contexts... Full Review
  • Uilleann pipes maestro Liam O'Flynn and his friends took the Whitla Hall by storm last night... Full Review
  • Five master craftsmen of the Irish tradition treated their audience to a stunning display of peerless musicianship and professionalism.... Full Review
  • The mature O'Flynn piping style is a refined and stately thing..... Full Review
  • This is gloriously relaxed and confident music making by a group of established players who have nothing to prove..... Full Review
  • The Piper's Call - Probably the finest uilleann piper of his generation.
  • The Given Note - "To be perfectly frank, I have not had the easiest of relationships with Liam O'Flynn... Full Review
  • More Comments & Quotes on Liam Read More
  • Spanish Reviews

  • Liam O’Flynn regresó a Barcelona con su gaita irlandesa para presentar su nuevo disco...... Completa Revisión
  • Desde Irlanda, y aún con cierto retraso histórico, nos va llegando la flor y nata del folk de aquel país... Completa Revisión
  • "Laoi na Pibe (The Irish language version of The Piper's Call television documentary) looks at the life, work and music of Liam O'Flynn, one of Ireland's outstanding musicians.
    We saw Liam playing on his own, with traditional musicians, rock musicians and orchestra. So skilled is he, that he made the pipes sound as if they had been invented for each and every musical genre he visited.
    It is extraordinary how the pipes, when played as beautifully as they are by Liam, captivate all who hear them. Musicians from all sorts of traditions find they can fit the pipes easily into their work.

    This hour-long programme portrait of Liam O'Flynn was too short by half. I must say, that as we become swamped by more and more incredibly bad television stations RTE and TG4 fly the flag when they transmit programmes like this.
    Paddy Murray - The Sunday Tribune

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    The wood paneled wall of Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall opened like the ribcage of a Leviathan. And two giant voices emerged. One the drone of the pipes, the other was the human tongue, the decibels of high and low that make poetry. Both were ancient, borne into the present and burrowed deep in the listener's bones. The audience hushed.
    And then the cotton-haired one spilled his glass of water. All laughed at the sprinkle, but by the end of the night we would all be doused in the spirit that flowed through the master's lips.
    When Nobel Prize-winning Irish poet Seamus Heaney and renowned uilleann piper and founding member of Planxty Liam O'Flynn take the stage together, to call such a night a mere poetry reading or concert is inadequate. The moment is immense.
    Of course, neither would admit to their being the cause of all the goosebumps in the room. But they may indicate the other to be the reason. The sheer down-to-earth quality of these two men is refreshing and awe-inspiring. Each is as humbled by the rhythms he weaves as those fortunate enough to hear. Their mutual respect is endearing and was apparent as Heaney later read a poem he wrote in dedication to O'Flynn, who is considered a living embodiment of a tradition stretching back 300 years. The poem, entitled 'The Uilleann Pipes' reads in part:

    Liam O'Flynn says
    that the only English rhyme
    For the word "uilleann" -
    From Irish uile, meaning
    Elbow - is the word "villain".
    Ag seideadh, pronounced
    "Ig-shade-oo" (or near enough)
    And meaning "blowing" -
    Used of great biblical winds -
    Means also "to play the pipes".
    The solicitor
    Questioned the dying master
    One last time: "You want
    To leave your pipes to that man?
    Why?" "Because he can play them"

    Thursday evening, May 29th was the first in Lincoln Center's celebration of Seamus Heaney, part of the Great Performers series at Lincoln Center, and the line outside gave it all the appearance of a premier.
    The sage-like Mr. Heaney, after knocking over his glass of water, said of the concept of the evening "It's very simple. He plays some tunes, I read some poems" Simple idea; the effect was transporting.
    The presence these men brought with them is not easily named. It was a presence that could be best subscribed as a link, a tangible link if music and words be tangible. O'Flynn and Heaney certainly form the link between worlds, of here and there, of past and the present, the spirit and the material.
    It was a theme introduced immediately by Liam O'Flynn's rendition of 'Song of the Spirit'. Fittingly, O'Flynn explained that the tune is said to have come from the spirit world, carried by the breeze off the Blasket Islands.
    Heaney follows and speaks of a 'sunken kind of love' that permeates Irish literature and thought, such as the love between a farther and son. He talks about his own father and reads 'A Kite for Michael and Christopher', a poem about his relationship with his own sons.
    The sunken love theme surfaced again in 'Mossbawn' from North: "And here is love/like a tinsmith's scoop/sunk past its gleam/ in the meal-bin".
    Perhaps the best pairing of the evening came when O'Flynn played the soulful 'Brendan Voyage' a piece that captures the mystical journey of the sixth century saint.
    O'Flynn's pipes seemed to be sending Brendan's adventurous spirit itself whipping through the auditorium.
    The kind of presence that Heaney describes perfectly in 'Lightenings': "When the monks of Cloinmacnoise were all at prayers inside the oratory, a ship appeared above them in the air".
    The poem speaks of a man whose anchor is stuck, who "can't bear our life here and will drown". The abbot responds "unless we help him". Released, "the man climbed back out of the marvellous as he had known it".
    Like two shamans, like two monks, Seamus Heaney and Liam O'Flynn freed a small corner of upper Manhattan that night, allowing our ships to soar to where, as Heaney writes, "the soul cloud-like roams".
    thank you, Mr. Heaney and Mr. O'Flynn. We've not yet touched ground.

    ELIZABETH RAGGI - Irish America

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    Seamus Heaney & Liam O'Flynn, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
    Poetry and piping. Poems about piping. Piping that was sheer poetry. It would be easy to go into poetic overdrive about this meeting of Ireland's best-known poet and, arguably, the country's leading uilleann piper. But it wasn't like that. This was about two quiet masters of their respective arts performing on a stage but at the same time not being on a stage at all.
    In Seamus Heaney's down-to-earth world, writing is work, honest toil. It wouldn't have been seen that way on the family farm, he acknowledged, but as he wrote in Digging, the poet digs out the words just as surely as the tattie-howker digs out the spuds. So when he reads out his words, he simply talks to you. Of digging. Of childhood memories, where a tragic accident leaves his young brother in a 4ft box - a foot for every year of his life. And of Homer. Simpson, that is. Or the other one.
    The poet's self-effacing comments about having the neck to add verses to a Sophocles masterpiece are complemented by Liam O'Flynn's references to "lumps of piping", a kind of "ach, it's nothing" preface to magisterial playing of the classic Fox Chase or the unutterably gorgeous music of the spirits.
    It was another Seamus, Ennis, another piper and a zealous one, who grudgingly referred to all meritorious performances, piped or otherwise, as "good piping".
    On a night when words soothed, touched, and entertained mightily, especially an ingenious, rude rhyme with abducted, and tunes sang, "good piping" would have been right on two counts.
    Rob Adams - Glasgow Herald Jan 19th 2001

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    "On Saturday, May 13 -AN ENTHUSIASTIC audience was treated to the spectacular playing of one of the masters of the Uilleann pipes (The Irish bellows-blown bagpipes), Liam O’Flynn on Saturday evening. With Australian Steve Cooney on guitar, Rod McVey on keyboard and Liam Bradley on percussion, the programme consisted almost entirely of Irish traditional Irish music, except for O’Flynn’s own ‘An Droichead’ (The Bridge), composed at four days notice for President Mary McAleese’ inauguration, a piece by Glasweigian Phil Cunningham concerning Govan shipyard, and two sets of Galician tunes. It seems that every Celtic musician conducts a love affair with the music from at least one other Celtic region and O'Flynn seems enamoured of the music of Galicia (North West Spain), with which Ireland has historic links. The arrangements of ‘Marcha de Breixo’ (a pilgrim’s March and ‘Marcha de Lousame’ were particularly beautiful. Naturally, most of the melodies were reels , jigs and slow airs from the Emerald Isle. The dance music was impeccably played, although at times the quality of the keyboard sound tended to be muddy the texture, but to me the best moments were the slow airs, in which the melody passed between O’Flynn’s plaintive whistle, Cooney’s sensitive guitar and McVey’s piano. As well as his appropriate and lively accompaniments to O’Flynn’s pipes and whistle, guitarist Cooney was given solo spots which he accepted with lighthearted difference, playing arrangements of pieces by the 17th –century harper and composer, O’Carolan with clarity and dexterity. ‘Si Bheag, Si Mhor’, taken at a quiet a lick, was a special gem. Throughout the evening Liam Bradley’s discreet percussion added colour to the ensemble and O’Flynn warm and witty introductions to the places, stories and people behind the fine tunes added to the enjoyment. The whole atmosphere was informal and the audience were entranced throughout."

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    "Musical friendships can span years and seas. That was the underlying message of this showcase concert as memories were evoked of making music together while still wearing short trousers and "on location" in Galicia.
    And if ever a musician took his rightful place on the Royal Concert Hall's main auditorium stage, it was Liam O'Flynn, the prince of uilleann pipers. This was the man who was asked, at short notice of course, to supply a tune for the inauguration of Ireland's new President - and delivered the suitably regal-sounding The Bridge, its keening optimism suggesting the influence, and perhaps even the hand, of another old friend, this one absent, Shaun Davey.
    The friends who were present made this concert special enough. Built on O'Flynn's band of the past few years, The Given Note Band, it encompassed, respectively, the lucid driving guitars of Arty McGlynn and Steve Cooney, Tommy Hayes's judicious percussion, and Rod McVey's apposite keyboards.
    Their playing of tunes both Irish and Galician was masterful and when Galicia's own prince of pipers, Carlos Nunez, was introduced, the masterliness simply grew.
    Nunez is a young friend of O'Flynn; Sean Keane and Matt Molloy of the Chieftains go much further back, the former fiddling with a steely verve that nearly drew sparks on Scott Skinner's Iron Man, the latter's flute dancing effusively on a set that recalled the colourful joie de vivre of Planxty's heyday.
    With O'Flynn central, but never domineering, on pipes and whistles, this was music full of flavour, passion, and vigour, with gravitas where required, yet with intimacy and good naturedness of a pub session."
    The Herald (Glasgow) Jan. 25th 1999 - Rob Adams

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    "A huge roar of applause greeted the very sight of Liam O'Flynn and his band at the Whitla Hall on Friday and the mood continued throughout a mighty concert.
    O'Flynn is one of the few people who can coax Arty McGlynn onto the road these days and he was complimented by another of the great guitarists in the land, Steve Cooney.
    With Rod McVey on keyboards and percussionist Tommy Hayes, this was a band of the highest quality and so was the music, from the stately Galician tune which opened proceedings through to the final blast, The Gold Ring. The High point of the weekend."
    Belfast Newsletter Nov. 30th 1998 - Geoff Harden

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    "Without compromising his strong traditional lineage, Liam O'Flynn has in his three solo albums and session projects successfully managed to take the uilleann pipe's sound into other contexts, like rock, European folk music and movie soundtracks. O'Flynn has always been equally respected for the charisma of his live performance, a charged mix of cool delivery and unhurried fluency. Add to that an empathetic band that includes Arty McGlynn and Rod McVey, and it's only natural that the Whitla Hall audience should expect something unique.
    A great man for the jigs, O'Flynn began with a pair of Muineiras, Galician/Spanish tunes. These were a perfect way of introducing the band, allowing for a democratic, bouncy interplay between lead and rhythm instruments.
    The reels too were presented in a setting that left plenty of room for O'Flynn's snapping grace notes, Steve Cooney's guitar rolls and Tommy Hayes's bodhran work. Arty McGlynn started and shared the melody during the 'Willie Clancy's Reel/Milliner's Daughter' tunes.
    For the song-air Sliabh na mBan (The Women's Mountain), O'Flynn moved to tin whistle, turning in a lyrical version, with solos expertly taken by Cooney and McVey (keyboards). An Droichead (The Bridge), written by O'Flynn for Mary McAleese's inauguration, showed his ability to create in the traditional mode.
    Liam O'Flynn's band has been evolving at its own good pace, slowly gathering people who know exactly where he's coming from and what sound he's after. And judging by his solid performance, what begun as a piper working with friends has become, naturally, a unit in its own right. ."
    The Irish News Nov. 30th 1998 - Michael O'Hanlon

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    "Uilleann pipes maestro Liam O'Flynn and his friends took the Whitla Hall by storm last night. This was a vintage performance which captivated the appreciative Friday night audience, the Co. Kildare piper led an all-star quintet through a one-and-a-half-hour traditional music session of the highest quality. And what a band it was - ace guitarists Arty McGlynn and Steve Cooney, keyboards player Rod McVey and percussionist Tommy Hayes. The other three did a sound job, but it was O'Flynn and McGlynn - 'the rhyming couplet', as I like to call them - who stole the show. They were the main men as we were taken through a delightful set of Irish, Scottish and Galician dance tunes and airs. I have been listening to both of them now for upwards of 30 years, and I still marvel at their sensitivity and feel of their music. McGlynn was in majestic form, matching O'Flynn note for note in even the most demanding of fast Irish reels. And the piper was at his virtuosic best too, notably on tunes like The Bridge, which he composed (at her request) for Mary McAleese's inauguration. All in all, a superb night's entertainment. ."
    Belfast Telegraph Nov. 28th 1998 - Neil Johnson

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    "Five master craftsmen of the Irish tradition treated their audience to a stunning display of peerless musicianship and professionalism at Vicar Street last Night.
    Never one to hog the spotlight, Liam O'Flynn was eager to showcase the talents of what was far more than a backing band.
    Percussionist Tommy Hayes and guitarists Arty McGlynn and Steve Cooney are trad heavyweights in their own right, while keyboard player Rod McVey, less well known to the public, is venerated among musicians for his session work.
    On the lovely elegiac slow air Sliabh NA mBan, O'Flynn, McGlynn and McVey took turns in the lead slot, each contributing an individual slant on the melody. A couple of Galician tunes got a similar treatment, with McGlynn providing a flamenco-style introduction.
    Special guests Micheal O'Domhnaill - remembered by many for his guitar work with the Bothy Band - and fiddler Paddy Glackin joined O'Flynn and his band for the final few numbers and the encore, a mighty blast of the classic seven-part piping tune The Gold Ring."
    Sarah McQuaid - Evening Herald

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    "The mature O'Flynn piping style is a refined and stately thing, and this meditative fifth solo album (The Piper's Call) sees him out with Mark Knopfler and Galician piper, Carlos Núñez; great session men, Matt Molloy, Sean Keane, the pacepushing Steve Cooney and Arty McGlynn; with Micheál O'Súilleabháin and the Irish Chamber Orchestra thrown in on one track. As such, with little need of the chord-barps of the regulators, O'Flynn concentrates on his beautifully controlled chanter work. The best tunes kick up their heels a bit, like McKenna's Reels and The Humours of Carrigaholt, showing O'Flynn's authority on the pipes at its most gorgeously alert; wrestling with Núñez in the jig-like muineiras; or the madness of Keane's fiddle cutting across The Gold Ring. It has its own moods and humours, but like the pipes themselves, this album very much grows on you."
    Mic Moroney - Irish Times

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    "This is gloriously relaxed and confident music making by a group of established players who have nothing to prove. Consider: the musicians are Arty McGlynn and Steve Cooney with Rod McVey on Keyboards and Liam Bradley on percussion, and the guests are Mark Knopfler, Sean Keane, Matt Molloy and Carlos Núñez, plus the Irish Chamber Orchestra.
    The selection of tunes is excellent: it includes the slow march, 'An Droichead', written by Liam and including Mark Knopfler, for the inauguration of President McAleese. The playing on the slow airs is noteworthy: 'Sliabh NA mBan' is very well shaped without dragging, and on 'Bean Dubh a Ghleanna'. Micheál O'Súilleabháin has blended the sonorities of a pair of horns with the pipes and provided a slow counterpoint which is very effective and among the best things he has done.
    There's a lovely moment of fun and anarchy provided by Sean Keane on 'The Gold Ring' and the tunes from Galicia, provided by Carlos Núñez, are another discovery. The four reels played on the flat set include 'Major Harrison's Fedora', a tune found in O'Neill's: I don't know of any other tune about a hat.
    This is no dazzler full of fireworks: indeed, it seems almost muted at times. But for its innate musicianship and fine production, this is one you'll want to hold on to."
    Irish Music Magazine

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    The Piper's Call "Probably the finest uilleann piper of his generation, and a founder member of Planxty, Liam O'Flynn has played with the best of Irish traditional musicians as well as classical orchestras and many other musical traditions. All this experience comes through on his new recording: solo Irish piping alternates with orchestral arrangements and ensemble pieces including a Scottish strathspey and two sets of Galician tunes.
    The core of this CD is traditional Irish music arranged for a small ensemble with whom Liam has been performing for the last two or three years: Arty McGlynn and Steve Cooney on guitars, Rod McVey on keyboards and Liam Bradley on percussion. Guests include Sean Keane and Matt Molloy of The Chieftains, Carlos Nunez from Galicia, Mark Knopfler from Planet Nashville, and the Irish Chamber Orchestra and friends.
    The opening track is a beautifully relaxed and understated pair of traditional jigs. The music flows from the pipes like porter from a tap: smooth, unhurried and full of flavour, with just enough bite to it. Track 2 is traditional again, hornpipes this time, and then we come to the first unusual track. "An Droichead" is a slow air commissioned from Liam by Irish president Mary McAleese, as part of her "Building Bridges" initiative: Liam performed it solo at her inauguration, but on this recording he's joined by Mark Knopfler on electric guitar. This track is followed by the strathspey "Miss Admiral Gordon's", a William Marshall tune given a suitably formal arrangement: the Irish pipes don't quiet have the snap of their Scottish cousins, though.
    Two more excellent traditional Irish tracks follow, a beautiful rendition of the slow air "Sliabh na mBan" and a set of reels where Liam is joined by Sean Keane and Matt Molloy to give an almost Planxty/Bothy Band sound. But the best is still to come.
    Track 7 sees Liam duetting with Carlos Nunez on a couple of Galician jig-time tunes. The build-up on this track is terrific, solo pipes becoming double pipes becoming full band, and I'd swear there was double tracking at some points: magical stuff. A more down-beat Galician track finishes the album in fine style, but before that there are three gems of Irish music.
    First we have Micheal O Suilleabhain's six-minute orchestral arrangement of "Bean Dubh an Ghleanna", a classic slow air which has been tackled by Liam, Matt and Sean in the past. Next there's a set of four reels including a spine-tingling delivery of "Mayor Harrison's Fedora" and a stunning change into a tune I'm sure is Scottish. For me, this is the most powerful set on the CD. Finally, we have a return to the old piping classics with "The Gold Ring", a virtuoso 7-part jig on which Liam's playing sparkles but the fiddling of Sean Keane is simply dazzling.
    This has to be one of the best albums of the year, and if this isn't enough there's an accompanying video available."
    Alex Monaghan - The Living Tradition

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    The Given Note - "To be perfectly frank, I have not had the easiest of relationships with Liam O'Flynn (I mean with his music, before any tabloid journalist reading this, thinks they have a new "scoop" on there hands). I still regard Liam playing "Tabhair Dom Do Lamh" (at the end of the Raggle Taggle Gipsies) as one of the great pieces of piping, of any kind. Yet his collaborations of a orchestral nature leave me colder than the Minch in January. So it was with trepidation I started to listen to this CD.
    My worries disappeared faster than Guinness in a Dublin pub as Liam cajoles the pipes into singing divinely for their supper. From the first note it is obvious that we are in for a treat, as a musician completely at ease with the music and its traditions gently brings a contemporary and cosmopolitan approach into play. Liam has stepped in to a market saturated with unbelievably talented youngsters, playing everything at twice the speed of sound, with a cultured and sophisticated piece of work, and he kicks ass.
    This CD has class stamped all over it. The piping is exceptional as is Liam's Whistle playing. The accompaniment is first class as you would expect of musicians of the calibre of Arty McGlynn, Sean Keane and Steve Cooney (guitar and Didgeridoo no less) to name but a few. Shaun Daveys production is crystal clear, as indeed it needs to be with so much happening in each track.
    Although the pace of this CD varies throughout the overall feel is one of calmness with Liam always confident in the quality of the music, and even when playing hornpipes the concentration is on the music of the tune rather than the speed it is played at (not that Liam is any slooch). Three delightful airs, Phil Cunningham's "Farewell To Govan" an Edward Bunting collected "Joyce's Tune", and "Calin na Gruaige Doinne" have Liam exploring the plaintive qualities of the uillean pipes to the full, and you will definately get the urge to cuddle up close to someone as you listen to them (be careful who you sit next to). They also serve as the backbone of the CD and contribute to the laid back feel.
    As well as the traditional Irish material Liam expands his horizons to include Galician dance rhythms, and Scottish Strathspeys (complete with side drummer). The first of two Galician inspired tracks sees Liam tackle a "Foliada" which is apparently a Galician dance rhythm and as he spars with the Galician pipes of Xose V Ferreiros you can only admire the Galicians for having enough energy to dance to these wild and enthralling tunes. The second Galician set comprises a slower tune with Clarinet, oboe and whistle each taking the lead with deft harp playing in the background. The pipes come and go as the arrangement changes never allowing you to get bored with one setting. Slowly the tempo rises and the Galician pipes enter the arena as the set builds to a suitably climatic ending. At eight minutes long this set finishes the CD in considerable class and style.
    Not content with furnishing us with terrific music Liam also gives us two songs, just to mix things up, and if anything, split up the instrumental tracks a little lest you get blase about the fare on offer. The songs serve as a sorbet to cleanse our aural pallets before the next feast. This in no way denegrates the songs they easily stand scrutiny on their own. Andy Irvine sings "Come With Me Over the Mountain" while Paul Brady gives his own interpretation of the classic "The Rocks of Bawn", both are a pleasure to listen to.
    This CD is the work of a master craftsman and is the culmination of years spent absorbing the tradition until he becomes the tradition. Those at peace with themselves will tap into this music instantly, those still fighting the great fight may take a little longer. I strongly suspect that this is going to be a huge seller. It will not short change anyone who buys it.
    Chris MacKenzie - The Living Tradition

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    "Through an expertly controlled selection of jigs, reels and slow airs O'Flynn built up an emotive, expressive mood of music that is both of its time and timeless. Cynics might argue (and occasionally I might agree) that between the jigs and the reels all traditional music sounds the same. Experience a Liam O'Flynn concert and you will have to think otherwise."
    Tony Clayton-Lea - Irish Times

    "The Liam O'Flynn band played with a classical symmetry and precision indicative of the early formality of Irish dance music. Liam himself is of the inscrutable school of Irish pipers - impassive as music of pure soul flows from his fingers."
    Tony Rose - The Guardian

    "Liam is never flash, never over-plays his hand, and never uses the pipes as a vehicle to dominate the music. So that when he does open up and let rip, the earth moves. Such is the mark of a true master." Colin Irwin - Folk Roots

    "When Liam O'Flynn plays the uilleann pipes he creates a forcefield which surrounds his listeners and seems to envelop them in something almost mesmeric. "
    From an interview with John Kelly - Irish Times

    "O'Flynn himself has taken the uilleann pipes on many a musical adventure, be it traditional, classical or pop. He has done as much as anyone to ensure the uilleann pipes a continuous, living place in Irish music."
    Maureen Brennan - Dirty Linen

    "If you're told that uilleann piper Liam O'Flynn got a 15-minute standing ovation after playing Shaun Davey's The Brendan Voyage in London's Royal Festival Hall, you'll get an idea of how powerful a piece it is."
    Linsey Reed - Edinburgh Evening News

    "Liam O'Flynn brings to the pipes a spirit and richness that other pipers can only strive to."
    Lahri Bond - Dirty Linen

    "Though a very private person, this quiet, gentle musician is a superb public performer. In the best meaning of the word, he is a great showman, but never a show-off."
    Ciaran MacMathuna - R.T.E.

    "With the Given Note Liam O'Flynn has re-affirmed his primacy among the piping fraternity, has yet again revealed his gift for reinvention of ancient muses, and created in the process one of the albums of the year"
    Oliver P. Sweeney - Hotpress

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    Spanish Reviews

    LIAM O’FLYNN. Palau de la Música Catalana. 16 de abril de 1998.
    Manuel Sánchez.

    Liam O’Flynn regresó a Barcelona con su gaita irlandesa para presentar su nuevo disco, The Piper’s Call. Lo que hace tiempo parecía quimérico -que la música tradicional tuviera un hueco en los recintos de más alto prestigio- se va convirtiendo en norma, gracias a algunos intérpretes cuya calidad ha sido internacionalmente reconocida.

    Un concierto de Liam O’Flynn siempre es algo más que el escuchar una serie de piezas musicales; nuestro protagonista acude acompañado de la aureola de una leyenda que se ha depositado en él (Planxty, sus instrumentos, sus maestros); él lo sabe y enmarca su música en un lugar apropiado para no traicionar a nadie; en los tratamientos y en el modo de presentar su música casi no ha cambiado con el paso del tiempo. Lo que ha variado es que ahora él es el solista, el centro principal de atención.

    Mucho se puede hablar sobre cuál es el sitio más apropiado para la música instrumental irlandesa, sobre cuál es la formación ideal y cuál el modo de presentarla. En la particular opinión de quien escribe, ni el Palau ni todas las opciones que eligió O’Flynn son lo mejor. Arty McGlynn (guitarra) cumplió con la misión encomendada, que por su capacidad debiera ser mayor. Liam O’Flynn, con la gaita y con el whistle, ejerció de solista en todo momento, y ejecutó la música con su precisión técnica habitual, pero con emoción desigual; en ciertos momentos se echó a faltar algún instrumento melódico que lo acompañase. Los arreglos del directo dan un amplio papel al sintetizador de Rod McVey, que apenas dejan oír el sonido real de la gaita. En contraste, la percusión del galaico Méndez, que los acompañaba, no llegó a oírse en todo el concierto, dando un toque extraño a la actuación. Tanto McGlynn como O’Flynn son dos grandes músicos que pueden expresar más de lo que vimos este día.

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    CULTURA Martes, 9 de febrero de 1999 EL MUNDO
    Folk / LIAM O'FLYNN (****)

    Elegancia gaélica

    Intérpretes: Liam O'Flynn (uillean pipes, whistle), Arty McGlynn (guitarra acústica), Rod McVey (teclados), Tommy Hayes (bodhram)./ Escenario: Sala La Riviera./ Fecha: 6 de febrero


    MADRID.- Desde Irlanda, y aún con cierto retraso histórico, nos va llegando la flor y nata del folk de aquel país, sede y cuna de buena parte de la mejor música tradicional de Occidente, Estados Unidos incluidos. Y es que, con la moda de celtismo que nos inunda, se cuelan algunos gazapos modernistas, pero también se repara en algunas figuras realmente históricas.
    Este es el caso del gaitero Liam O'Flynn, veterano actor de la escena musical desde hace más de un cuarto de siglo.
    Liam no escatima reels y energía si ello es preciso, pero lo suyo, ante todo, es la rendición ante la melodía bien construida y serenamente conjugada. En el insólito marco de una discoteca pop, la sonoridad de O'Flynn y su cuarteto no sólo no desentonó, sino que ofreció algunas pautas ejemplarizantes. Respeto sumo, en todo instante, para el material interpretado, y también para la propia audiencia. O'Flynn y su mano derecha, Arty McGlynn, guitarrista de altos vuelos y carrera prolífica, construyen un entramado básico donde tienen cabida el arrebato comedido y el lirismo exaltado. Además de algunas piezas de la tradición gaélica milenaria, el cuarteto hizo hincapié en el nuevo disco del maestro, The Piper's Call, en el que han colaborado Mark Knopfler y nuestro Carlos Núñez.