Alainn or Appalling: Lisa Hannigan
Lisa Hannigan (enjoying a cuppa Barry’s, left) is one of those love-her or hate-her musicians. Depending on your outlook she either has the voice of a siren, stroking your heart-strings and evoking a sigh. Or she sounds like a banshee. Either way, you have to admire her talent; she can pretty much play any instrument thrown at her and managed to put up with Damien Diva Rice for years.
She began singing as a lead vocalist with Damo in 2001 and stuck with him for six years. In 2002, she sang on nearly all of this tracks of his debut solo album O, which took the world by storm when it was released. When 9 was released in 2006, there she was again contributing and, indeed, leading on one song; 9 Crimes, which was the first single taken from the album.
Their relationship wasn’t a love-in, that’s for sure, but Lisa has been nothing but professional when asked about working with Rice. However, how up himself was he?! Damien fired Lisa in the middle of a European tour in 2007, right before a gig in Munich. The rest of the band went on stage, and she was left backstage.
I suppose it was coming for a long time. I had become pretty outspoken about my frustrations at the direction the band was going in, and I’m sure he was starting to find me a pain.
She has since said it was the best thing for her. It probably gave her the kick in the posterior she needed to go solo. Her career from then til now has been bubbling tantalisingly under the wire.
Her latest album, Sea Sew, has been beguiling people all over the world since she released just a taster on her MySpace page. In typical down-to-earth fashion, Sea Sew was recorded in a barn in Thomastown and the cover was sewn by Lisa herself. This is not someone who will let fame go her head.
After a limited album release in Sept 2008, Lisa signed with ATO Records in the states, where her album was released in February 2009. Since then, Sea Sew has been nominated for both the Choice Music Prize, and won Best Irish Album at the Meteor Music Awards in January 2009. Most importantly, she has been nominated for the coveted Mercury Prize.
For a taster:
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