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Posts Tagged ‘Lisa Hannigan

Lisa Hannigan at Arts Club, Liverpool, 21.10.16

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Lisa Hannigan plays the Arts Club, Liverpool, tonight (October 21st, 2016), showcasing some of the tracks from her third studio album, ‘At Swim’ (released August 19th, 2016).

Produced by Aaron Dessner, guitarist with The National, the 11-track offering features some of Hannigan’s best and most sentimental work. Tracks such as ‘Fall’, ‘Prayer for the Dying’, ‘Funeral Suit’ and ‘Anahorish’ touch upon feelings of love, loss and isolation, whilst others such as ‘Ora’ and ‘Snow’ offer a lighter shade to the almost stark, seasonal colours of autumnal and wintry darkness, weaving hope and sadness as a narrative throughout. This album puts Hannigan’s delicate and haunting vocals right at the forefront of the action and her lyrical imagery will resonate long after the last track has played.

I think this is Hannigan’s most mature and settled work to date; perhaps ironic given the fact that she has since stated that it was written during a particularly difficult time of insecurity and instability. I find that it is during such times, when you question yourself and your achievements and motivations with the most intensity, that you are the closest you’ll ever be to exhibiting your true self. How does the saying go; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength, and Hannigan certainly does that with this collection of tender brilliance.




Written by shelleyhanveywriter

October 21, 2016 at 3:45 pm

Bad boys and tortured souls

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In various ways and at different times, I’ve felt a lack of love over the past few years. It is my belief that this began when someone really influential and significant left my life.

That person was Damien Rice.

It was 2004 and I had been introduced to the wonder that is Rice’s debut album, ‘O‘. It’s fair to say that it was infatuation at first listen and so began my emotionally fulfilling, yet completely one-sided love affair with one of the great Irish poets and performers of our time. We went on to laugh, cry and share such special moments in each other’s company. He brought my favourite female singer-songwriter, Lisa Hannigan, in to my life and accompanied me to a gig that I will never forget. He provided the soundtrack to one of my favourite films, Closer, and in my young and hopeful naivety I truly believed that nothing would ever change.

And then he left.

Not a word for 8 years. I heard a rumour of overgrown beards, mountainside retreats in Tibet and a possible loss of muse, but after a series of disheartening social media searches, I reluctantly realised that I had to move on and I really thought I had. Of course there were the six-monthly rumination periods were I would just sit and wonder how things fell apart, but on the whole I was doing ok.

Then something happened…


Rice surprised everyone this week by announcing the release of his third studio album, ‘My Favourite Faded Fantasy’ (Ireland – October 31st, 2014, UK & EU – November 3rd, 2014, Australia and NZ – November 7th, 2014) and providing a teaser video of the track. Online hype is huge, as is to be expected for an artist whose debut album went 10x Platinum in his native country. I think it would be no exaggeration to state that this is surely the most anticipated album of 2014.

To quote Loz herself…”I feel like I’ve been trying to cover this up – I still love him. I try to convince myself that I’m over him, but I’m not”.

I feel your pain Loz – your armed robber bad boy is my tortured soul Irish crooner.

shelleyhanveywriter 🙂


Written by shelleyhanveywriter

September 10, 2014 at 1:53 pm

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“Pop in disguise”; the kittenish sounds of new singer-songwriter, Fiona Bevan

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Fiona Bevan

I was reading the list of ‘Most Successful UK Songwriters of 2013’ over the weekend, as published in The Independent on February 11th, 2014.

It was Music Week that collated the list and to clarify – the songwriters did not have to originate from the UK as the list was compiled based on songwriters’ “shares” of the credit for the UK’s 100 biggest-selling singles of the year. The list reads as follows:

1. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

2. Pharrell Williams

3. The Smeezingtons (including Bruno Mars)

4. Ryan Tedder

5. Mike Rosenberg (Passenger)

6. Dan Smith (Bastille)

7. Avicii

8. Thomas Bangalter and Guy Manuel (Daft Punk)

9. Jeremy Fraites and Wesley Schultz (The Lumineers)

10. Max Martin

I found the absence of any double x chromosomes particularly depressing, especially given the number of great female songwriters that the music industry has to offer. Obviously this is just a snapshot in time and isn’t meant to reflect the state of the industry as a whole, but it kind of does…doesn’t it? There are clearly several prolific and widely regarded female songwriters on the scene at the moment: Sia Furler (who occupied the number 2 spot in 2012), Ellie Goulding (19th, 2013), Taylor Swift (11th, 2013), Lady Gaga (100th, 2013), Laura Marling and Emile Sande to name but a few, but it would appear that either a. their sales are predominantly album-driven or    b. they are co-writing some of their most successful material. Max Martin co-wrote Swift’s ’22’ and ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’, as well as Katy Perry’s ‘Roar’ and quite evidently has the golden touch when it comes to penning hit records. He gave us ‘Baby One More Time’ and the wondrous Britney Spears, need I say more.


One such female who is hoping to navigate her way to the top of this list is Suffolk-born, Colchester-raised, Fiona Bevan. Bevan has already established herself as an in-demand songwriter on an international scale. As well as commissions for film, classical compositions, and a Tate exhibition, she also co-wrote ‘Little Things’ with Ed Sheeran, which went on to become a No.1 single for One Direction.  Bevan releases her debut single, ‘The Machine’ on March 1oth, 2014 on Navigator Records. The track is the first single to be taken from ‘Talk To Strangers’, Bevan’s debut album set for release on April 28th, 2014.

Bevan describes her debut album as “pop in disguise”. An accurate depiction of the material I’d say; I hear strong folk and acoustic rock influences coming through which put me in mind of Joanna Newsom, Bella Hardy and Lisa Hannigan. Fine company, folkies amongst me will agree. Bevan’s vocals, like Hannigan’s, are beautifully hypnotic, perfectly blending her delicate, kittenish tone with the jaunty beats of her acoustic guitar. Bevan’s look is as unique and stunning as her artistry and I predict big things for her in 2014. /

shelleyhanveywriter 🙂

Written by shelleyhanveywriter

February 17, 2014 at 5:36 pm

My favourite Irish females: B*Witched, The Corrs, Lisa Hannigan and The Cranberries

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I’ve took a liking of late to all things retro and reminiscent of the ’90s. I don’t know what has caused this sudden penchant for times gone by or how long my fixation will remain, so I guess I’d better enjoy it while it lasts. One possible cause could be ITV2‘s new show, The Big Reunion.

The weekly reality drama focuses on six previously chart-topping groups from the UK: Atomic Kitten, B*Witched, 5IVE, Liberty X, 911 and The Honeyz. The show has brought the groups together and charts their rise to fame and everything that came afterwards. – cue many tears, revelations and recriminations. The show has one main draw for me; my reawakened love for my favourite Irish girl group, B*Witched. The realisation that I was still carrying feelings for the fabulous foursome got me to thinking of my favourite Irish female performers in general.


‘To You I Belong’ has got to be my favourite track from B*Witched ‘s back catalogue. It was the third single and number one from their debut self-titled album (1998). I can’t decide what I love most about the video; Edele’s finger cymbals, the wintry forest setting or the faux fur coat sleeves. I could not get enough of the double denim that was being rocked in this band, so much so that I styled myself on the Lynch sisters. My family originate from County Down in Northern Ireland and I’ve always wanted to be 100% Irish. I want the accent, I want the green eyes, I want the shiny glossy hair and I want the farm, or at least easy access to one where I can stroke lambs and feed piglets. Strictly for fun, not food. But I digress; The Big Reunion has pleasingly reminded me of the great tracks that B*Witched actually released (‘Blame It On The Weatherman’, ‘Rollercoaster’, not forgetting ‘C’est La Vie’). They had it all and I am enjoying seeing them again every week. I simply must find out the Lynch sisters’ beauty secrets…and ask them if I can be their new BFF whilst I’m at it.


The Corrs were another of my favourite bands of the ’90s. The sibling four-piece were so beautiful it was ridiculous and they pretty much ruled the airwaves from 1997 to 2003. ‘What Can I Do’ is my favourite Corrs track, but to be fair there are many close contenders. I remember buying my first leather-look studded brown wide belt and pairing it with a gypsy style black dress, just trying to emulate the look of Andrea. I thought if I managed that, I too might attract the interest of most of the male popstars of the era. Sadly, Robbie Williams never made it to Widnes, so my plan was scuppered.


Lisa Hannigan is my favourite Irish folk singer-songwriter and I have watched her perform live several times, she never disappoints. ‘Ocean And A Rock’ is my favourite Hannigan track, taken from her critically acclaimed debut album, ‘Sea Sew’ (2008). Hannigan previously sang as part of Damien Rice‘s ensemble, but her brilliance could not be contained and she broke free in 2007. She has since gone on to release two albums, crack America and be nominated for a Mercury Prize. And she wears lovely vintage dresses and has the sleek, glossy hair I previously mentioned.


The Cranberries, headed up by Dolores O’Riordan would be in my top three Irish bands, alongside The Corrs and U2. ‘Linger’ is my favourite Cranberries track. Pan back to 1993 and me sat in my bedroom, aged 13, listening to ‘Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?’, probably thinking about my first love who I’d recently met on a Confirmation weekend trip to Upholland in Lancashire. I’m not sure that the focus of said Confirmation weekend was meant to be the amazingly handsome boy who had recently moved to the UK from France, but nevertheless there I was in my camel faux suede coat, sat on a bunk bed, prayer book in hand, professing my love at first sight for Peter Cantwell. Peter, if you’re still out there (doubtful; I’m sure that everyone was accounted for on the minibus home), thank you. Thanks for the memories and for introducing me to the wonderful, and at times horrendous concept of love.

@BWitchedreunion @LisaHBand @The_Cranberries / /

shelleyhanveywriter 🙂

Written by shelleyhanveywriter

February 21, 2013 at 12:22 pm

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A hospital for the stressed, a cathedral for the spiritual; review of @RichardHawley at Manchester Academy

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REVIEW – Richard Hawley with Lisa Hannigan, Manchester Academy, 26th September 2012.

My review of Richard Hawley‘s show at the Manchester Academy last week, is now available to view on eGigs website:

‘…forests and woods are nature’s playground for the adventurous, museum for
the curious, hospital for the stressed and cathedral for the spiritual.’ In the
same manner, the Panel could so easily have been referring to Hawley and the
cathartic properties his music bestows upon an audience.

To read the full review, please click here:

shelleyhanveywriter 🙂

Written by shelleyhanveywriter

October 1, 2012 at 10:56 am

Review of Lisa Hannigan @LisaHBand at St Philip’s Church, Salford, Nov 25th, 2011

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REVIEW: Lisa Hannigan at St Philip’s Church, Salford (November 25th, 2011)


Advent is a season observed in the largely Western Christian religion, as a time of eager expectation and pious preparation. Perhaps fitting therefore, that Lisa Hannigan chose the first week of this hallowed juncture, to make her righteous return to the city of Salford… Accompanied by her constant disciples: Molloy, Glass and Fitzsimons, the musical message was one of peace and passion; with talent such as this, preaching would be futile.  


To read my full review for, please click link below:


shelleyhanveywriter 🙂

Written by shelleyhanveywriter

November 29, 2011 at 10:57 am

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Intercontinental Idols – this top 5 would certainly a talent competition make

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I wonder whether the zany allure of Zooey Deschanel would win her hearts and a hypothetical place, on one of the many and varied TV talent shows of today? Surely her perfect musical pairing with M. Ward (Matthew Stephen Ward) would secure her a place through to the live shows, where we could become smitten with her beguiling glances and addicted to the indie angst that her voice exudes. I’m pretty certain that Deschanel would never and will never have to venture down the reality show route in any case, not least due to the success of her aforementioned band of two; She & Him.


After collaborating with Gary Lightbody et al on supergroup Tired Pony‘s debut album, She & Him return with a festive offering for their quirky Folk followers. ‘A Very She & Him Christmas’ was released on October 24th, 2011 in the US and is also available to purchase online. The 12-track covers record features such Christmas classics as ‘The Christmas Song’, ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas’ and ‘Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree’, all performed with their trademark subtle wit and wonder. This record would be the perfect backdrop to your Yuletide merriment; light and carefree on the build-up, fast-paced fun when you hit your festive social stride, then rejoicefully reflective in its resolve.

It was Snow Patrol lead singer, Gary Lightbody, that gave me the title inspiration for this piece; I’ve seen the Irishman in somewhat of a deity capacity for several years now. I recently had a conversation about idols: what constitutes and typifies an idol, what makes someone an idol to one and a nobody to another and what would I actually say to one of my idols? For me, an idol is someone that I respect, who is possessing of qualities which I admire and aspire to have and typically, someone who I would be completely dumbfounded to meet in person. Lightbody encompasses all of the above in my case: he’s creative, intelligent, quick-witted, unassuming and Irish (a common theme in my idol rule book)…need there be any further criteria?!


Snow Patrol’s latest 14-track record, ‘Fallen Empires’ was released earlier this month and is currently continuing to reside in the top ten of the UK album charts.  The second single to be released from the album is ‘This Isn’t Everything You Are’ and it would be fair to say that I am rather taken with it. It is unequivocally Snow Patrol and Lightbody at their very best. Some of my best memories of a live show have been at Snow Patrol headline gigs and festival slots. The emotion of the lyrics and power of the band’s performance combine to produce something quite special. I can’t wait to hear the tracks from ‘Fallen Empires’ performed live early next year.

I have always preferred Marina & the Diamonds to Florence and the Machine; I find Marina’s voice more pleasing to hear, warmer and more emotive somehow. I can sense her passion when she performs, whereas I’ve always found the more abstract Welch to be trying that little bit too hard. A personal deconstruction, perhaps. Marina releases her second album in early 2012, which has been given the title, ‘Electra Heart.’ A demo has recently been released on her official website of a new single; ‘Starring Role.’ The follow-up to ‘Radioactive’; this track is perhaps more typically pop than her usual electro-pop offerings and I like it. I like it a lot.


I bought Lisa Hannigan‘s second album, ‘Passenger’ a couple of weeks ago and have been listening to it every day since. I have a couple of favourites, of which ‘Paper House’ is definitely one. I’ve always dreamt of moving to Dublin, living in an apartment and taking autumnal walks around Trinity College – perhaps one day I’ll get there, but for now I’m content to listen to Hannigan’s tale of similar surroundings and pursuits. If she is also looking for a lodger in said paper house, I am most interested…have ferry fare, will travel.


You will probably be familiar with the work of Christina Perri courtesy of previously mentioned tv talent shows; her hit single ‘Jar Of Hearts’ has been covered on both sides of the Atlantic recently. Perri is a 25-year old singer songwriter from Philadelphia who has only relatively recently rose to fame in the US, on the back of the single being aired on various hit shows on the Fox network. Perri released her debut album, ‘Lovestrong’ in May 2011 and has been compared to Folk favourite, Natalie Merchant.


Perri wrote a song for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn official soundtrack, entitled ‘A Thousand Years.’ The track doesn’t appear on ‘Lovestrong’  but gives listeners a good idea of ‘la douleur exquise’ to expect from Perri’s album of love and heartbreak. I think the music world will be seeing a lot more of Perri in the years to come.

shelleyhanveywriter 🙂

Written by shelleyhanveywriter

November 23, 2011 at 2:37 pm

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