- 18 Jun 21
Launching her debut album, the Belfast-based folk singer played her new release in full at a live-streamed concert in association with the Irish Arts Centre in New York.
Dani Larkin has had to wait for her debut album to finally come out. She mentions this in one of the segued interview pieces that intertwine with her performance at the Ulster Folk Museum, saying that it was originally due to release last year before the pandemic.
Even without a live audience in-person, there are few better ways to celebrate an album's release than to perform it, which she does with great aplomb. It helps that she's performing with two of the people who helped create the album. Kate Squires on viola and George Sloan taking care of all things percussion provide the perfect accompaniment for the singer-songwriter to shine.
Like most Irish people, she's prone to self-deprecating humour. Right at the end of a stirring performance of one of the album's highlights, 'Aoife' - which she says is about how "one of the roots of fascism is shame" - she deadpans: "It's very serious isn't it?"
The album's two parts, "the light and the dark," are reflected in the performance by Dani moving to a nearby pub for the bridge part of the LP. She plays two songs here, 'Magpie' and 'Love Part One', acoustically by herself. Although it's not a new comparison to link folk and punk, it's striking that when she strums her guitar using a pick, she'd be shredding a great solo if she plugged in an electric guitar. It will be interesting to see as her career develops whether she follows Bob Dylan and goes electric. Her strumming is also reminiscent of 90's alternative rock legends Nirvana and Weezer in other moments of the set.
However, she embodies the spirit of folk, with the performances back in the church part of the museum providing some stirring, atmospheric moments. 'Samson & Goliath' is performed powerfully, and with real emotion - with the latter always being the core to any great live singer.
Dani has showed us exactly why there is such a buzz surrounding her name - confirming suspicions that she's set to make a serious mark on Irish music for years to come.
You can watch her full performance below:
Notes for a Maiden Warrior is out now on all streaming services, with physical editions available to pre-order from danilarkin.com.