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Column: Lisa Hannigan

lisa update

Having just released her highly-anticipated third studio album, At Swim, Lisa Hannigan pauses to reflect on her recent string of Irish dates with Ye Vagabonds.

I hadn’t played in so long before my Irish shows. So before my new record, At Swim, came out, I just wanted to dip my touring toe back in and play these new songs with a different band and try to figure that all out on stage. Ireland has always been the warmest and most welcoming place for me and I would venture to say most artists, so I just really want to go all over the shop and go to as many different types of venues and just get used to it all again. I toured quite a bit on my last record and then it took me a good while to write this one. It took longer than expected. As I hadn’t played at all in front of people in a long time, it was a slightly nerve-wrecking prospect when all those dates started stacking up. But it was fun!

I think I played about six new songs a night and they went down really well. And that’s always a nerve-wrecking prospect, too. You don’t really get a “sense” of a song, I think, until you play it in front of people and hear it through their ears, as it were. But the songs went down so well and I was so happy to feel them work in that setting because it is such a different thing making a record. There’s a lot of harmonies on this record, which I was originally wondering how we were going to do live. Thankfully, though, there was so many amazing singers in the band and of course, the beautiful Ye Vagabonds were there too so they also did some singing. So I was actually spoiled for singers. For these shows, I didn’t think we were going to “replicate” the record, necessarily. It more like trying to figure out a way of doing it live. It’s so much more vibrant and kind of exciting in that setting. I love Ye Vagabonds work; I think they’re so incredibly talented and that shone true.

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With my upcoming European dates there’ll be much more focus on the record as it’ll be out then. For the Irish shows, I just didn’t want to overload people with all my new songs, you know? Of course, there’ll be some old ones too. The wonderful Heather Woods Broderick will also be supporting and doing some singing. I played alongside her at Boston Calling back in May and is the most incredible singer, so I’m really looking forward to singing with her again.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had new music out. It was hard making the record and waiting for it to come out and getting everything else ready around that. It is just the best feeling in the world having a physical object that you can hold in your hand. So as you can imagine, I just can’t wait to get it out there. Lisa Hannigan

At Swim is out now