How it’s New York: at LIC Bar in Long Island City, New York
How it’s Irish: Irish singer and pianist Liam O’Maonlai

Monday night, in an intimate back room at this Long Island City music bar, there was a flurry of song and spirit swirling around one of my favorite Irish singers, Liam O’Maonlai, and his opening act, the talented Brooklyn singer/songwriter Xavier Cardriche.  Brick walls, a soft fire and a small but very intent crowd of music lovers filled the room with a warm glow.

Cardriche, who opened the evening, with his sultry backing singer Sabina Saragoussi, has spent a good amount of time in Ireland and his singing and songwriting shows the influences of some of his contemporaries there.  There is a bit of the growl of Mark Geary, the theatricality of Jack Lukeman and the rhythmic folk rap of Jason Mraz or Ed Sheeran.  His all original set was peppered with songs of love and his experiences from the road.  He has a wide range and a lively playing style and he was joined for some backing harmonies and keyboards by Liam on the last two songs.  You can check out some of his music here Xavier Cardriche Music.

Liam started of his set with the traditional song Sí Do Mhamo Í a driving song that I’ve heard him do many times, and this was as passionate and frantic as ever.  He totally loses himself in the song and the beat of his hand on the bodhran.

He followed with another song in Irish, Sadbh Ní Buruinnealadh, also with a pulsing beat beneath it, and featuring the full depth of his baritone voice ringing through the space.  The set ranged from vintage Bob Dylan with Love in Vain to Prince’s Purple Rain, with the whole audience singing along in harmony.  Xavier joined him in bodhran and vocals for another song and he finished up with The Parting Glass.  Since I sing this at the end of my local singing session every week, I was only too ready to jump in when he asked for the lyrics to the 2nd verse, and it was truly an honor to have him singing backing vocals to me for 30 seconds!!!!  Liam always has such an immersive and inclusive feeling to these intimate gigs.  Almost like you are having a private concert in your own living room.  You can find Liam’s solo work here Rian Records and have a listen to the new Hothouse Flowers CD which you can also find there.

For information on gigs at the LIC Bar, have a look here: Events Calendar – LIC Bar

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