Young Musician of the Year
Liam O’Brien was born and reared in Miltown Malbay, Co Clare so it is no surprise that he grew up surrounded by music and quickly got immersed in the tradition.
It’s not every day that you come across a well-developed musician like this year’s Young Musician of the Year. Hailing from Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare and being born into a musical family has served him well. When you listen to his concertina playing, you will immediately note that this is very mature playing, full of heart, soul and subtlety. You will know that he has a great understanding of the tradition and has learnt a lot from the masters. His personality comes out through his playing nevertheless; creating his unique style, full of character.
He is equally as good as a solo player and as a session player. He will listen intently to whoever he is playing with. He will fit in and always add positively to the music, a great skill which only comes with experience.
A graduate of the Irish Music & Dance course in the University of Limerick, he is now a very sought-after teacher himself. He can be heard on his family’s CD entitled Bríd O’Donohue and family – Cliabhán an Dúchais which was released in 2011.
Gradam Ceoltóir Óg na Bliana 2017 goes to LIAM O’BRIEN
Liam O’Brien was born and reared in Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare so it is no surprise that he grew up surrounded by music and quickly got immersed in the tradition.
Aged 4, he started learning the tin whistle from his mother Bríd O’Donohue who is an acclaimed performer, teacher and stalwart of the Willie Clancy Summer School. Liam soon mastered this instrument and soon became drawn to the concertina. His main teaching influence was the legendary Noel Hill, and his approach to playing the concertina has been influenced by Hill’s commanding technique and sparkling creativity.
However, Liam’s own style and sound are very much his own and this is what makes him stand out as a remarkable young musician with a distinct and memorable musical accent. Liam is a welcome guest at any traditional music session, and fellow musicians always enjoy playing with him because of his sensitive and attentive manner as well as the drive and spirit that he injects into the music.
A recent graduate of UL, Liam has developed a career as a teacher and performer, touring widely with his musical partner Hajime Takahashi to destinations as diverse as Tokyo, Tanzania, Romania, France, Switzerland, Austria and Scotland as well as festivals and workshops in Ireland.