A question of taste: Iarla Ó Lionáird

Iarla Ó Lionáird is from Cúil Aodha, Co Cork, and is vocalist with The Gloaming. He is currently preparing for a performance at Masters of Tradition festival in Bantry next Friday, where he will appear with Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin and others. See westcorkmusic.ie

A question of taste: Iarla Ó Lionáird

Best recent book you’ve read:

Pompei by Robert Harris.

Best recent film:

Dunkirk — and in particular, the use of music in the film was stunning.

Best recent show or exhibition you’ve seen:

At a recent visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, I was particularly moved by exhibits that included: Emanuel Leutze’s ‘Washington Crossing The Delaware’, Georges Seurat’s ‘Circus Sideshow’, and Frederic Remington’s depictions of the American West. Going to see these works with my son Liam was very special.

Best piece of music you’ve been listening to lately:

As preparation for a radio programme, I revisited Gyorgy Ligeti’s ‘Lux Aeterna’. I don’t have the words to express how it feels to experience this music.

First ever piece of music or art or film or gig that really moved you:

On first hearing Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon on headphones as a young teenager — mind expanding!

The best gig or show you’ve ever seen (if you had to pick one!):

Peter Gabriel’s ‘Growing Up Tour’ 2003 in London, with extraordinary design work by Robert Lapage.

Tell us about your TV viewing:

I love to watch something in the evening with my wife Eimear — usually a film. Us time.

Radio listening and/or podcasts:

PBS’s Meet the Composer with Nadia Sirota, John Kelly on RTÉ Lyric, and Marian Richardson’s Playback on RTE Radio 1. Though I really miss Carl Corcoran’s Blue of the Night.

You’re curating your dream festival — which three artists are on the bill, living or dead?

Peter Gabriel with piano, Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, solo, and alas David Bowie.

Your best ever celebrity encounter:

Being served dinner by the wonderful and generous Jeremy Irons and his wife Sinead Cusack after a London show was, of course, amazing.

You can portal back to any period of human cultural history or music event — where, when, and why?

I would love to be able to live in Ireland prior to the Tudor incursions to get a feel for our ancient Gaelic civilisation.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

I would ensure that streaming services paid musicians properly, which they do not.

Do you have any interesting ancestors or family?

On my mother’s side our ancestors included the ‘O’Herlihy Priest Poets’ — so there!

Unsung hero — individual or group you think don’t get the profile/praise they deserve:

All the many carers who toil at home, giving time and love to those in need.

You are king for a day — what’s your first decree?

Make education and healthcare free for everyone at every level. And make music education fully resourced and mandatory.

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