Lillis Ó Laoire


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Lillis Ó Laoire grew up in the Gaelic speaking region of Donegal, Ireland, a place noted for the wealth of its oral tradition. From an early age he was exposed to the rich vein of Gaelic song and as a young adult he developed that interest, recording material from older singers. He completed his Ph.D. on the song traditions of Tory Island in 1999. This was published in book form in 2007. With Sean Williams, he cowrote a biography of Joe Heaney a renowned sean-nós (old style) singer from Carna, Co. Galway. He also developed a companion web site for this volume. This book won Alan P. Merriam Prize at the SEM conference in New Orleans in 2012.

A well-known singer, Lillis has won the national gold medal for Gaelic old style singing twice (1991, 1994). He has made one solo recording and hopes to produce another in the coming year. He is also a fluent Scottish Gaelic speaker and has performed many times in Scotland. Lillis teaches courses in Folklore at the National University of Ireland, Galway. This is his first time to visit Cape Breton.

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