Live review: Markéta Irglová at the Bush Hall in London
Markéta Irglová, best known as the singer-songwriter and costar in the acclaimed film “Once”, in which the feature song “Falling Slowly” Irglová composed with Glen Hansard received an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2008. Seven years on since then, Irglová has moved on from the success of both the film and The Swell Season duo, proven that she has more to offer as a solo artist.
Taking the stage on her own, Irglová headed straight to her piano and opened the night with the song “Time Immemorial” from her latest album “Muna”. While understandably her new solo materials might be less known than The Swell Season days, Irglová’s strong belief in her songs and her stunning piano playing shined through and captivated audience right away. Influenced greatly by her religion and life experience, there is often a rare truthfulness about love in her song writing, it does not take a religious background to appreciate the honesty and hope she appraise in her lyrics, which make her songs so dedicated and powerful at the same time.
Also worth noticing is that Irglová’s vocal has grown more defined and stronger than ever. Without her usual choir, string and backing vocals Irglová’s singing showed more character and depth in songs like “The Leading Bird”, “Gabriel”, perhaps even better sounding than that in the album versions. Her improvisation on one of her older tracks “If You Want Me” was simply amazing. It was a quality you do not find when she was in The Swell Season, very much overshadowed by Hansard, and her voice was often blended in too well into atmospheric, church like chanting backdrop in both of her albums “Anar” and “Muna”. Lastly, as most anticipated, Irglová performed “Falling Slowly” with her Icelandic friend and singer-songwriter Svavar Knútur at the end of the gig, and as the last song on the encore they sang together “While the world burns”, an apocalyptic ballad from Knútur’s latest album “Ölduslóð”, in which Irglova has also featured, closing the night with a beautiful touch.
Overall, it is a delight to see how Irglová has evolved over the years. She has undeniably the talent to hold her own, it would not be surprised to see this young artist to explore further and go for even more ambitious attempt in her musical journey ahead.
Photo Gallery by Natalie Peto: