JOINING FORCES Rónán Ó Snodaigh and Liam Ó Maonlaí unite for ISPCC fundraising concert in the Knockranny House Hotel.
Liam Ó Maonlaí of Hothouse Flowers and Rónán Ó Snodaigh of Kíla will be taking part in two Westport-based events this coming March as part of a Seachtain na Gaeilge initiative facilitated by Gaelscoil na Cruaiche staff and parents. Both men are renowned Irish speakers with a long history of musical accomplishments to their credit in both Irish and English.
Ó Snodaigh says of his aspirations: “I like to mix melodies with rhythms that uplift them and I try to write words in my Irish and English vernacular that are catchy but thought provoking. I like mixing the simple and sophisticated, the old and new, the foreign and indigenous, the sad and happy in music and songs. It’s for this duality I search.”
This search has taken him on a geographical mission, and from Borneo to Italy, Rónán has introduced people to Irish percussion and language, despite barriers in culture and language. One could argue that it is this quality that makes his music a series of charming contradictions; complex in its simplicity, intrinsically Irish yet borderless, part of a new world of music which pledges no allegiance to anything other than the beauty of sound.
That beauty of sound is something that occupies the compositions of his trusted ally Liam Ó Maonlaí. Like Rónán, Liam grew up in an environment that nourished all that was good about Gaeilge. His artistic soul also sought to intertwine various linguistic strands, at times occupying the charts in the New Ireland of the Hothouse Flowers, while the pull of the guttural growl of the sean nós was never far from his mind, or his mouth. Part innovator, part musical gypsy, he walks the line between modern and traditional. Perhaps an idyll we all wish to inhabit at times.
These musicians will be running workshops with the children at Gaelscoil na Cruaiche in early March, assisted by the musical staff at the school. The classes will be divided into two groups, the first comprising of Naoinán Beaga to Rang a 2 and the second group comprising of Rang a 3 to Rang a 6. They will be working on instrumental pieces of composition and Irish songs. It is hoped that the event will be a way to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising and to uniquely celebrate some of the aspirations of the proclamation, particularly those expressed regarding future generations.
Then on Friday, March 4, in Knockranny House Hotel Westport, Liam and Rónán will be performing together in a public concert, to which all are welcome. The concert starts at 7pm. Tickets are €10 per adult, €5 for 12-18 year olds, while accompanied younger children are welcome in for free. So come along and enjoy the music, songs and dance. All proceeds are in aid of the ISPCC, so it will be one of those opportunities to indulge oneself while doing something good at the same time.
For further information contact Gaelscoil na Cruaiche on 098 28121, or book tickets through Knockranny House Hotel on 098 28600. Fáilte roimh chách!
Laura Golden is a writer who spent the last year as a teaching assistant at Gaelscoil na Cruaiche.