Lisa’s music rooted in Irish tradition

Musician Lisa O'Neill
Musician Lisa O'Neill

Irish singer-songwriter Lisa O’Neill is playing a couple of concerts in the UK – and one is in Sheffield.

She will be performing at The Greystones on Wednesday, March 7, the night after an appearance in London.

Promoter Chris Wilson is excited to have snapped up the Sheffield date and forecasts “what has to be one of the ‘must see’ shows of 2018”.

Lisa returns to the UK with a new album, her third, Pothole In The Sky, and a slew of glowing live reviews from around the world for her distinctive voice, powerful songwriting and commanding stage presence.

“A voice that’s haunting and broken and big and lilting all at once,” was one verdict after a night at Sydney Opera House.

Certainly, her performances, often with sparse backing on guitar, banjo and piano, have, at times, an unnerving intensity. It’s sometimes far from easy listening, yet there are lighter moments. One of her songs is called Elvis, I Give You Irish Stew.

She started writing songs and music at an early age in her native County Cavan, moving to Dublin when she was 18 to study music and was embraced by the folk circuit.

Her approach is rooted largely in Irish tradition and culture, and she is happy to call herself a folk singer, she told the Irish Times, “because folk songs are stories of the people or for the people.

“It can be a story from the past or something I come up with myself. It’s my version of what happened, it’s a story that’s a folk song, isn’t it?”

Such is her stature in Ireland that she formed part of a stellar line-up at the National Concert Hall in Dublin in January for The Pogues’ Shane MacGowan’s 60th birthday celebrations.

She took Kirsty McColl’s part alongside The Frames frontman Glen Hansard for Fairytale of New York.