FOR NEARLY seven years County Meath songstress Lisa Hannigan captivated audiences as the angelic vocal accompaniment to Damien Rice’s shoe-gazing lyrics, but over the last year she has begun to develop her own solo career.
Hannigan featured prominently on Rice’s all-conquering debut album O as well as recording guest vocals with The Frames, Mic Christopher, and jazz pianist Herbie Hancock.
In March 2007 it was announced that the professional relationship between Rice and Hannigan had ended and so began a flurry of interest in Hannigan as a recording artist in her own right. She will showcase songs from her upcoming debut album at Campbell’s Tavern, Cloughanover, on Tuesday July 22 as part of the Galway Arts Festival.
Throughout the 1990s performers such as The Corrs, Gemma Hayes, Nina Hynes, Cara Dillon and Tara Egan-Langley were the darlings of the Irish pop/rock scene. However, when Hannigan took to the stage with the Damien Rice Band at Dublin’s Temple Bar Music Centre in 2001 the bar was raised considerably.
Indeed many said the success the band subsequently enjoyed in America and Britain was due in a large part to the presence of the waif-like songstress. The added element of press speculation as to whether Hannigan and Rice were/weren’t an item guaranteed the group were not short of a headline or two.
The rumour mill in particular centred on The Frames song ‘Fake’, which supposedly was inspired by a love triangle involving Rice, Hannigan, and Glen Hansard. Though at live shows the trio laughed off the rumours and maintained that they are all long-time friends and there was no truth to the speculation.
In 2003 Hannigan made her first forays into acting when she appeared in a Jessamyn Fiore play The Mysterious World Of Birds in Galway and Dublin (with Hannigan and Galway band Lucas providing the soundtrack to the production). Since then she has begun her own Cowardly Lion Theatre Group and continues to take an active interest in stage and screen. Hannigan also has a passion for the Irish language and in 2006 covered the Mary Janes/Mic Christopher song ‘Banríon mo Chroí’ for the Ceol 06 album as part of Seachtain Na Gaeilge.
As her other commitments brought her further away from touring with Damien Rice, it was only natural she should begin her own recording career. As the relationship had ‘run its creative course’, Hannigan posted three solo demo songs, - ‘Lille’, ‘Pistachio’ and ‘Sea Song’, on her Myspace.
She also sang a duet entitled ‘Some Surprise’ with Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody on the Cake Sale album and toured with Snow Patrol for a short period.
In March of this year it was reported that Hannigan had completed the recording of her debut solo album. The musicians on the album include Shane Fitzsimons and Vyvienne Long from The Damien Rice Band and David Gray Band member Jason Boshoff. The as yet untitled album is earmarked for release in October.
For more information and tickets contact the Galway Arts Festival Box Office, 1-5 Merchants Road, on 091-566577. Online booking is also available through www.galwayartsfestival.com