Review: Lisa Hannigan @ Nano Nagle Place, 10 Sep 2017

Lisa Hannigan @ Nano Nagle Place, 20 Sep 2017. Photo by Shane J Horan.

Hannigan plays Sofar Sounds in support of Amnesty International.

It is a special night in Nano Nagle Place in Cork. It is home to one of a multitude of intimate gigs organised worldwide by music events company Sofar Sounds in support of the excellent work of Amnesty International. Artists involved include The National, Daughter, Moby, and a host of others. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb to say that those of us in Cork got the best of the bunch with Irish singer / songwriter Lisa Hannigan.

Local indie folk band The Band Anna take to the stage first. By their own admission, all their songs are about love. A tight and solid outfit, they treat the audience to a short set of their pop and indie inspired folk music which culminates in a fully acoustic number that showcases the powerful vocals of violinist Ryan Parsons.

Invoking Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez, next up is singer / songwriter Cara Kursh. I’ve been lucky enough to catch Cara play live a couple of times of the last year or so and it is more than heartening to see the young performer grow with confidence with each outing. Her powerful voice is now fully on display while her songwriting has developed in sophistication and ambition.

Fresh from her grand performance with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra in the Cork Opera House last Thursday, tonight’s gig must be an intimate change of pace for Lisa Hannigan. Performing delicate and unadorned versions of songs from throughout her career, she treats the crowd to a pretty unique experience with low key versions of the ‘Prayer for the Dying’, ‘Funeral Suit’, ‘Passenger’, and ‘Lille’.

For me, the thing about Hannigan is that she somehow manages to be both down to earth and magical at the same time. There is definitely something ethereal and dreamy about her music and presence, but ultimately her music is grounded in the regularity of the day to day. Seeing her perform is always a special experience.

In a bizarre turn of events, one male gig goer piped up at the end of one song to exclaim, “Sorry to be a cunt Lisa, but could you play something by John Martyn or Nick Drake?” Fair dues to Lisa, she responded with “Ah, the patriarchy!” before another shout eminated from the rear of the hall exhorting Hannigan to simply play her own songs. Lisa agreed saying “I know those ones better.” Show attendee and Lisa Hannigan fan Emer Harrington summed it up better than I can.

Photographs by Shane J Horan.

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