Lisa 0’Neill set to stun Australian audiences
by Gaynor Crawford
TN160 December 23
Lisa O’Neill, who was described by The New York Times “… as a cultural hero in her own right” will be in Australia from the end of December through to mid-March.
O’Neill’s pure song writing and organic music, she plays the guitar and banjo, alight in songs that reach the soul.
She’s built a reputation as a modern artist tapped into the ancient, whose voice pulls at the heart and harkens to different worlds.
Her live sets are a striking mix of originals and interpretations, the music stark and cerebral, the voice singular and personal, and stage presence charismatic.
A recent live review in The Guardian noted: “Her voice…is transporting live: imagine Edith Piaf coming from the Irish border counties, brilliantly stomping her boots.”
O’Neill has been lauded by artists and critics alike.
The Edge called hers “a unique voice in Irish song writing”, Cillian Murphy opined “She’s an extraordinary singer songwriter”, while Iggy Pop gushed “Beautiful, what a strong, beautiful voice”, and NPR Music’s Bob Boilen called O’Neill’s music “stunning, cinematic”.
A raconteur in the truest sense of the word, O’Neill is a five time BBC Folk Award nominee and her previous album, “Heard a Long Gone Song” was named The Guardian’s 2019 Folk Album of the Year.
Her remarkable adaptation of Bob Dylan’s “All the Tired Horses” soundtracked the final scene of epic TV drama Peaky Blinders.
“All of This Is Chance”, her first release for indie titans Rough Trade, features orchestral masterpieces such as the ambitious and cinematic “Old Note”, and the title track which was inspired by the Monaghan writer Patrick Kavanagh’s epic poem, “The Great Hunger”, as well as stirring contemplations on nature, birds, berries, bees, and blood ring out over a clacking banjo throughout the album, dusting and devastating all those in its wake.
This album takes O’Neill’s inimitable voice to greater heights, or depths, depending on which way you look at it.
Throughout all eight songs on this album, it feels like she is writing in a constant state of wonderment.
Not only a portrait of the artist in love with nature, but one perplexed by the ever-expanding gulf between it and modern society.
O’Neill sings across that divide while simultaneously digging deep into the land, eyes transfixed on a universe of colourful birds, and beyond them stargazing into the atomised constellations of outer space of which we ourselves are fragments.
Uncut Magazine called O’Neill’s mesmeric LP “All Of This Is Chance”, “The first indisputable classic of 2023”.
It came in at No.17 in Uncut Magazine’s Albums of The Year plus CD covermount track in the Review Of The Year 2023 issue.
In Mojo Magazine Albums Of The Year 2023, the album is No. 24.
See Tony Smith’s review of “All of This Is Chance” in Trad&Now 158, page 65.
Lisa will be joined by fellow Irish musician, Brian Leach, playing hammered dulcimer, an instrument with such a beauty of sound.
Other reviews said:
“Uncompromising, stunning, soul-shaking stuff.” – The Guardian, Folk Album of the Year.
“Spectral, subtle and sublime.
“This is as beautiful as it gets.”– The Irish Times.
“Ireland’s Lisa O’Neill is one of the most striking folk singers performing today.
“Transcendent and original, her inimitable voice is raw, evocative and laden with emotion.
“Seldom does a voice emerge so singular it stops you in your tracks.
“Lisa O’Neill possesses such a voice” – The Big Issue.
Don’t miss Lisa O’Neill as she lets her wild loveliness rip.
At WOMADelaide and WOMAD New Zealand, Lisa will share the stage with revered and award-winning concertina player, Cormac Begley, Ireland’s most exciting new folk and traditional artist.
“The musical gift that keeps on giving” – The Irish Times said.
Cormac’s career has gone from strength to strength over the past year, winning Best Folk Instrumentalist 2022 at the RTÉ Folk Awards and Irish Times Album of the Year 2022, with his second solo album ‘B’.
The album celebrates the bass concertina, a very rare instrument, and on this album Cormac uses two Dipper-made Bass concertinas to record all 12 tracks.
His bold choice to concentrate solely on the bass and baritone register, the first album of its kind in any musical genre, has not gone unnoticed for all the right reasons.