- 12 Jan 23
Chester's upcoming album is available to pre-order now, with tickets at €20 for his solo guitar recital in Smock Alley on sale via the guitarist's website.
Composer and guitarist Joseph Chester has announced the release of his latest single ‘The Little Match Girl’ taken from his forthcoming album Lucia, which is due for release on January 27th.
The upcoming album is a suite of music written about the life of James Joyce’s talented but mentally-ill daughter, Lucia Joyce, featuring the intricate and poignant classical playing from Chester.
Joseph explains, “Lucia was born in 1907 and spent 47 years of her life in mental institutions. She was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1932 and died in Northampton in 1982. After she died, her nephew, Stephen Joyce, destroyed all her writing and papers, including all her correspondence with Samuel Beckett and three books she had written. He attempted to erase this woman, who had been hidden away and silenced in life. I became convinced that I had to try to tell her story.”
The suite was created by composing pieces around significant milestones in the life of Joyce’s daughter. The guitarist’s latest single is inspired by a 1928 event which saw the young woman play a small role as a toy soldier in French silent cinema master Jean Renoir’s La Petite Marchande d’Allumettes (The Little Match Girl).
Very happy to announce that to celebrate the release of LUCIA on January 27th, I'll be performing Fragments Of Lucia at the gorgeous 17th century Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin. Tickets on sale now from https://t.co/BF8gcTAd5X#lucia #luciajoyce #FragmentsOfLucia pic.twitter.com/hhEpYJH1kE
— Joseph Chester (@JosephChester_) December 21, 2022
Dubbing it “the sweetest, most harmonious piece in the whole suite,” Chester explains how Lucia at the time was a tender 21 years old, and had just got a position working for one of silent cinema’s greats- the director of La Grande Illusion and La Règle du Jeu.
“This must surely have been the happiest of times for Lucia, full of the potential and optimism of youth. Life must have seemed full of possibilities and yet only four years later she would be sectioned for the first time,” Joseph says.
“Musically, I wanted to try and capture something of the mechanical movement of the toy soldiers in the film and in this the famous three against two polyrhythms of Philip Glass were very influential to me. But most of all I wanted to try to convey very simply, the optimism and beauty of youth,” he adds.
A critically-lauded songwriter and musician, Lucia is the latest addition in a career of noteworthy achievements. Chester has worked as a producer of over 60 albums for other artists in the industry, contributing to multi-platinum and chart topping albums and singles both in Ireland and overseas. Along with his producing success, the musician has also been one half of the critically acclaimed band The Hedge Schools until recently, has been lead guitarist of The Waterboys, toured extensively with Gemma Hayes, accompanied Sinead O’Connor, and performed for Irish president Michael D. Higgins.
His accolades include nominations for Choice Music Prize for Album of the Year, the Meteor Irish Music Awards for Best Male Artist and for Best Album in the RTÉ Folk Awards (with The Hedge Schools).
Lucia originally premiered on Bloomsday, June 16th 2022- the centenary year of the publication of Ulysses. At the Axis Theatre in Ballymun, the suite was performed by a group featuring Chester, Trevor Hutchinson, Vyvienne Long, Kenneth Rice and Steve Wickham.
Officially launching on Friday, 27th January, Joseph will be performing a solo guitar recital ‘Fragments of Lucia’ in Smock Alley. Tickets from €20 are available to purchase here.
Lucia is available to pre-order here.
Stream 'The Little Match Girl' below.