ALBUM: Lisa Hannigan & s t a r g a z e – ‘Live In Dublin’

Irish singer-songwriter Lisa Hannigan is set to release her new live album recorded at Dublin’s National Concert Hall with contemporary-classical orchestra s t a r g a z e, founded by conductor André de Ridder. This collaboration sees Lisa’s folk/pop songs played with new orchestral ensemble arrangements and has taken her to the stages of London’s Barbican and Dublin’s National Concert Hall. Live in Dublin serves as a treat for old and new fans of Hannigan, capturing her mesmerising shows across a discography-spanning 14- tracks, including new track ‘Bookmark’.

Love is a key theme on the album, as is nature. The songs lend themselves perfectly to an orchestral setting, bringing out the emotional undertones at the heart of the tracks. The bird-like flutes of ‘Ora’ and the stirring violins which create an atmosphere of sad beauty on ‘Prayer for the Dying’ are particularly beautiful. There’s a lovely change in pace on tracks like ‘Anahorish’ which is sung acapella; ‘Nowhere to Go’ which showcases Hannigan’s slow, plaintive voice as comforting and emotional, before the urgency of following track ‘Lo’, which breaks through with its persistent heartbeat-like rhythms.

Other highlights are the haunting atmospherics on ‘We the Drowned’, which will move you to tears, before the fairytale chimes of ‘Lille’ enchant with their ethereal undertones. Overall, the orchestra swell out the songs, stirring the emotions, adding to the soundscape created by Hannigan’s poetic lyrics. The song is the conductor, her voice is the key instrument. The album closes with ‘Fall’, where the orchestra quiets down and we are sung out with just Hannigans’s vocal harmonies, and guitar.

If you are new to Lisa Hannigan’s songs, this is a wonderful album to discover her gems. Now you will hear them transformed, bringing their inherent dramas and colours to the fore, amidst a backdrop of sublime keys, affecting strings and perfect percussion.

Live In Dublin by Lisa Hannigan & s t a r g a z e is due for release May 31st on digital platforms, vinyl and CD via Play It Again Sam.

Photo Credit: Gerry Sugrue

Fi Ni Aicead
@gotnomoniker

ALBUM: Heather Woods Broderick – ‘Invitation’

Oregon-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Heather Woods Broderick releases her third album Invitation this month. Having toured with Sharon Van Etten, Efterklang, and Lisa Hannigan, her new album is laden with dreamy Baroque pop sounds, built around piano and vocal melodies, with poetic lyrics inspired by her move to a quiet corner of the Pacific North West.

Opener ‘Stilling Wind’, with its gentle electronics and slow dreamy guitar, deals with memories invoked by once familiar landscapes – “how did you slow the tide and disappear so quickly… Have I changed yet, or do my habits still remain?” The lush atmosphere leads into the beautifully poetic ‘I Try’, whilst imagery of the natural surroundings intertwines with the music in the country-sounding ‘Nightcrawler’, and in ‘Where I Lay’ producing a haunting effect.

The piano opens out into an elegiac chorus, like the powerful, crashing waves of the landscape in ‘Slow Dazzle’, and ‘A Daydream’ provide moments of pleasure in solitude, before the pace picks up again on ‘White Tail’ with its nocturnal forest sounds and ethereal vocal exploring Heather’s experiences with depression and finding a transcendence.

The beautifully personal piano ballads ‘Quicksand’ and ‘My Sunny One’ deal with alcoholism and failed relationships respectively, whilst closing track ‘Invitation’ completes the journey of self-acceptance: “I left that candle burning… I dreamt it took me last night into the darker side of life.”

I too accept the invitation this delicately-crafted album offers for introspection and the beauty found in stillness. The sentiment, that it is not the fear of falling, but getting back up again, recurs throughout each captivating song, offering hope and light.

Invitation is out 19th April via Western Vinyl.

Fi Ni Aicead
@gotnomoniker

LISTEN: Lisa Hannigan & s t a r g a z e Orchestra – ‘Bookmark’

Cinematic sounds and affecting vocals combine on Irish songwriter Lisa Hannigan‘s latest single ‘Bookmark’. It’s a beautiful collaboration with composer André de Ridder and his s t a r g a z e neo-classical orchestra, recorded when they accompanied Hannigan onstage at Dublin’s National Concert Hall. The live album will be released on 31st May via Play It Again Sam, titled Live In Dublin.

The new record spans Hannigan’s discography, including her critically acclaimed 2016 third album At Swim. It paints a beautiful musical portrait of her 17 year career so far, which has included award nominations from the Mercury Prize to Ireland’s Choice Music Prize and Meteor Music Awards.

Speaking about ‘Bookmark’, Hannigan explains: “’Bookmark’ was one of those lost songs that I wrote for At Swim that didn’t seem to fit with the rest of that record. I also never could figure out how to orchestrate it beyond my guitar part and it felt a bit stuck. Andre wrote an arrangement for it during the PEOPLE festival in Berlin, and overnight it came to life.”

Listen to ‘Bookmark’ below and pre-order your copy of Lisa Hannigan’s Live In Dublin here.

Photo Credit: Gerry Sugrue

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut