O’Neill, one of the most evocative songwriters in contemporary Irish music today, returns with this new album, and her first for the Rough Trade label, the resonant ‘All Of This Is Chance’, to be released on 10th February.
A raconteur in the truest sense of the word, O’Neill starts this extraordinary collection here on earth, on Irish soil, hands in the land. The album features orchestral masterpieces such as the ambitious and cinematic ‘Old Note,’ the title track ‘All Of This Is Chance’, inspired by the great Monaghan writer Patrick Kavanagh’s prescient meditation on The Great Hunger as well as stirring meditations on nature, birds, berries, bees, and blood that ring out over a clacking banjo, dusting and devastating all those in its wake.
On ‘Old Note’, Mac Con Iomaire delivers a divine orchestral accompaniment to a sad lullaby which explores another interwoven theme of this collection, that being the wall between us and an intuition with nature we once had. The song was inspired by an interview with the great traditional musician Tony McMahon and in its flow you can feel Lisa inhaling all the gifts of nature she holds so dear. More stars! More birds! More devastating lines! Feathered friend, dig up and resurrect me, I long to live among the song of birdies, A lawless league of lonesome, lonesome beauty, Skies and skies and skies above duty.
Throughout all eight songs on this album it feels like O’Neill is writing in a constant state of wonderment. Not only a portrait of the artist in love with nature, but one perplexed by the ever-expanding gulf between it and modern society. O’Neill sings across that divide while simultaneously digging deep into the land, eyes transfixed on a universe of colourful birds, and beyond them stargazing into the atomized constellations of outer space of which we ourselves are fragments.
In 2021 The Abbey Theatre invited Lisa to perform in their historic outdoor adaptation of Kavanagh’s tragic 1942 masterpiece The Great Hunger on the grounds of the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Kilmainham. Particularly significant because it was one of Ireland’s first forays back into the live cultural arena as the arts continued to try and navigate the pandemic era. For Lisa O’Neill though it held even greater significance. The experience of immersing herself in and researching Kavanagh’s remarkable 6,000-word poem was part catalyst to make this new album unlocking a mutual fascination with themes around nature and creativity.
Lisa O’Neill has also announced a UK tour for Spring 2023, including a show at The Barbican in London on March 23rd.
Thu, 16th March – Leeds, Howard Assembly Room
Fri, 17th March – York, The Black Swan
Sat, 18th March – Kendal, Brewery Arts Centre
Sun, 19th March – Liverpool, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall (Music Room)
Tues, 21st March – Bristol, St George’s
Wed, 22nd March – Oxford, SJE Arts Centre
Thu, 23rd March – London, Barbican Centre
Sat, 25th March – Gateshead, Sage (Hall 2)
Mon, 27th March – Edinburgh, Voodoo Rooms
Tues, 28th March – Manchester, Band On The Wall