Live Gallery: Declan O’Rourke @ St. Luke’s, Cork, 10 Dec 2016

Declan O'Rourke
Declan O'Rourke

New album In Full Colour out now.

Irish singer songwriter Declan O’Rourke brings his collaboration with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra to Cork’s most unique venue.

The thing about Declan O’Rourke is that he’s a storyteller. More so than a singer or a songwriter I think, although he exceeds at both these ventures too. Tonight he plays a set of about fifteen songs and there is a tale for each. ‘Slíeve Bloom’ is paired with a story of writer’s block and the onset of quareness in the Irish countryside, ‘Sarah’ is linked with how people are confused and disappointed when they learn the song is about his sadly deceased pet dog, ‘Galileo’ is accompanied by the story of how O’Rourke met an astronomer called Stefano, ended up playing a gig in the house in which Galileo spent his final years and about the love that Galileo had for his daughter, and that’s just three examples.

With the addition of the cinematic work of four members of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra (the four best ones apparently!), O’Rourke’s music is also imbued with a very musical theatre quality. I was struck that any of these songs could be the basis for a musical all of their own. There could be one about the 1916 Rising (‘Children of ’16’) or H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine (‘Time Machine’) or lost love (‘Her Silken Brown Hair’). Capping the performance with a duet with support act Saoirse Casey, and one of the best Christmas songs I’ve heard in years, O’Rourke’s set is an engrossing joy. Romantic and spellbinding.

Speaking of Saoirse Casey, her support slot is an indication of a rare talent. She plays a set of gentle, finger picked solo acoustic numbers with her slight vibrato adding a delicacy and reflective nature to proceedings. Keep an eye out for her.

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