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She Moves In Mysterious Ways
At just 30 years of age, Lisa Hannigan has gone from being Damien Rice’s sidekick to establishing herself as one of the most important new artists in contemporary Irish music. With the release of her second album, Passenger, she is set to take the world by storm. But behind the natural beauty is a remarkable woman who is beginning to reveal the depth of her mysteries…
Olaf Tyaransen, 19 Oct 2011
Many of the songs deal with relationships, romantic and platonic, past and present. Of the album’s title, she says, “I think with Passenger I’m thinking about what you carry with you in life, so the record is about all the passengers you take with you I suppose.”
Some of the ideas for the songs began germinating during a trip to Brooklyn.
“Well I thought that I would go there and write loads of songs in the way you imagine would happen, so I went there for a while by myself and ended up not writing anything, but writing it subsequently when I came home. But when I was there, it just seemed ridiculous to be sitting in and noodling on the guitar, so I ended up walking the streets and going to galleries and shows and bloody dancing in the nip, the kind of thing you find in New York.”
You were dancing in the nip? Do tell!
“I was watching the dancing in the nip,” she laughs. “You know, it’s very modern. So I wrote the songs when I got home. I think being by myself for that long, and it not being the most friendly of places made me realise that when you’re on your own, you’re really on your own. People don’t start chatting to you during lunch, they really don’t. It was a very solitary existence but not in a wholly negative way. I’m quite happy pottering around on my own.”
Lisa also visited her mother’s west Cork homeland for inspiration. Still, most of the lyrics were written – or at least started – on the road.
“It’s only the kernels of them that are written on the road,” she corrects, “and maybe I sort of finish them off at home when it’s quiet, but it definitely informed the songs a lot, being away and that sort of weird misty nostalgia that you get when you are away from home. It sort of focuses the mind really on what isn’t there and things from the past and places that are far away.”
The opening track on the record is actually called ‘Home’ (“Home, so far from home/ so far to go/ and we’ve only just begun”). She was inspired to write it after reading the novel Skippy Dies by talented young Dublin author Paul Murray.