- 22 May 19
Lisa Hannigan's new album, a live rendition of her music accompanied by contemporary-classical orchestra s t a r g a z e, is out May 31.
For many artists, the live album has become something of a conciliatory gesture to fans, labels and critics; a consolidation of work done, while maybe figuring what to do next. For others, it’s a step into a brave new world, an opportunity to explore old songs in new ways, and a chance to augment and evolve. Lisa Hannigan has wowed fans with live performances for all of 17 years, but in the popular imagination, many still think of her in a Dingle snug, singing otherworldly folk to a select, lucky few.
Her latest offering, Live In Dublin – recorded at the National Concert Hall last October with contemporary-classical orchestra s t a r g a z e – confirms just how far beyond any such misconceptions she has travelled.
It is terrific. Hannigan has carved a hugely impressive solo career (three albums, multiple awards, collaborations with The National), based on her fine vocals and softly plucked guitars. Hannigan herself often seems as soft-spoken as her music: she is carefully comfortable in her skin, a master of her craft, smiling politely at the nonsense that can sometimes accompany it, but taking no shit all the same.
This latest collaboration is a joy, adding fresh layers and cinematic elements to songs previously memorable for their haunting sparseness. Of the 14 tracks, there is only one new offering, the lovely ‘Bookmark’, with the rest being Hannigan staples: ‘Lille’, ‘Little Bird’, ‘A Sail’ and ‘Undertow’ are all present and correct.
“Hang the rich and spare the young,” Lisa whispers on album closer ‘Fall’, before the song gently fades out. Far from being suffocated by the accompanying orchestra, the songs are instead enhanced by the carefully lush percussion and hypnotic strings. Those familiar with Lisa Hannigan will know not to expect any rambling soliloquies about childhood pets in between tracks. Her music does the talking and does it supremely well. This is the real deal: a live album that takes us to a new and enchanting place.
Live in Dublin is out May 31.