Lisa Hannigan at Islington Assembly Hall
Lisa Hannigan may not yet be a household name for most people, yet many will probably have heard her child-like, husky voice at some point or another, either singing together with Damien Rice in whose band she played between 2002 and 2007, or else as vocalist on various soundtracks such as the Oscar-winning movie Gravity, the TV series Fargo and the animated film Song of the Sea, where she provided the voice for the selkie Bronagh.
Indeed, her dreamy brand of Irish folk music is ideal for such purposes. Its atmospheric, often haunting melodies do tend to carry you away with them and conjure up other worlds. After this summer’s release of her third studio album At Swim, Lisa Hannigan has embarked on a European tour with one of her last three UK shows taking place at the Islington Assembly Hall yesterday evening before she heads off to Birmingham. The opening act was musician Heather Woods Broderick, who also is part of Lisa’s tour ensemble, playing a few of her own lullaby-ish songs on guitar and piano before the evening’s main attraction entered the stage dressed in a pretty vintage black dress and beginning the festivites with the twinkly melody Little Bird.
The guitar, exchanged between virtually every song for a mandolin, was ever less lonely as it was joined gradually by a violin, cello and key instruments for a selection of beautiful tracks including the upbeat, contemplative Passenger, the moody Flowers, and the toe-tapping Knots before finishing with an encore featuring the restless, lyrical Lo from At Swim. Generally of few words, only asking how the audience was doing after three quarters into the show, she allowed the music to speak for itself. Recalling both Enya and Norah Jones, but gutsier than both, Lisa Hannigan’s music is a welcome hark back to more traditional folk music that with its range of melancholy harmonies and poetic themes is always a pleasure to hear.
Photos: Filippo L’Astorina
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