OTHER Voices is truly special. Artists, journalists and music worshippers flock to the church of Saint James in Dingle, County Kerry each December. However, only a select few will sit in these pews. There is scarcely room for 80 inside, including production crew and artists. On Friday I was one of the last to step inside the door before it closed on what was to be a very special evening.
David Gray was a much anticipated act and the excitement was palpable in the church as the show went to air. He took to the stage and reminded all why White Ladder remains the biggest-selling album of all time in Ireland. With impeccable harmonies and subtle accompaniments, his performance was sublime. Highlights included the emotionally charged I Want My Cake and Eat It, and a homecoming performance of Skellig.
The crowd in the church seemed to swell before Hozier took his place on the altar and it was no surprise. Take Me To Church has seen massive radio play and the video by Feel Good Lost has been a talking point for many weeks. A calm, unassuming and gracefully tall Andrew Hozier Byrne filled the cosy church with soulful rhythms and a exquisite deep voice. The strings and backing vocals give his songs a great depth and distinctive sound. Hozier eased into the performance as he felt the warmth of the audience’s response and laid out every emotion for all to hear. Highlights included Work Song and Angel Of Small Death and Codeine. The standing ovation afterwards was a surprise only to the man himself as he left the church and went off into the night, in preparation for two sold out Dublin gigs that weekend.
Lisa O’Neill is no stranger to the Other Voices stage and there is something instantly likeable about her. Her endearing anecdotes draw the audience in to a wonderful honest performance, featuring Come Sit Sing and Cowards Corner. Her voice has a melancholic quality and filled the church while her lyrics filled hearts.
Patti Griffin closed the evening and Philip King remarked that it was a ‘’homecoming of sorts’’. The award-winning singer’s grandmother was born in Dingle and her folk style bears this influence and inspired Mary. She gushed about her experience of OV so far and was genuine in her praise of the people and the place. Her country style was understated. Philip King ended the show as the clock approached midnight, and the congregation spilled out onto the street, a very lucky few who shared a very special evening.
Photos c/o othervoices.ie, imro.ie