Iarla Ó Lionáird

Iarla Ó Lionáird Image

Iarla grew up in Cuil Aodha, a small Gaelic-speaking community in County Cork in the west of Ireland and later moved to Dublin.

He's been singing all his life and the guidance of composer Peadar O'Riada resulted in a recording of a song 'Aisling Gheal' when he was only 14 years old.

Iarla sings in the "sean nos" or old time tradition of unaccompanied singing.

He is much, much more than just an amazing and heavenly voice. He is also a lyricist, composer, producer and has a Master's degree in ethnomusicology.

He is one of the members of the Afro Celt Sound System.

In an interview by Anil Prasad discussing Iarla's talent as a vocalist and the distinction between lyrical revelation and musical revelation, Iarla observed that "I always operate on the basis that no one ever understood what I was singing about for the most part because I sing in Gaelic. So, I always asked myself 'Why are people coming to my concerts and buying my records?' And it's simply because they're hearing something else. So I've tended to lean towards the music and what it can say regardless of the words almost. It's funny, at a concert recently someone suggested I should dispense of words altogether. I'd never do that though. The words and poetry of the old Gaelic songs that I sing are something I also aspire to in my own work. That simplicity and brevity is something I try to bring to the Afro Celts as well."

Iarla has released 3 CDs for Real World Records.

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More Information On Iarla Ó Lionáird

FeatureI Could Read The Sky

A Life in Music, A Life in Words... Martin Hayes & Dennis Cahill, Iarla Ó Lionáir, Karan Casey, Mairtin O'Connor and Timothy O'Grady.

FeatureIarla O Lionaird

"This album was always going to be different," he says. "I did it in my own house, with a tight team that I trusted. There are no club beats. It's situated in the natural world"