Bronagh Gallagher, without resorting to hyperbole, is one of Ireland’s most talented musicians and extraordinary live performers—a deeply soulful artist with a unique gift for singing and storytelling. Yes, it is she who does acting jobs—Pulp Fiction, Stars Wars, The Committments etc—but Bronagh’s first love is being on the road with her band, and that band is legendary.
When Gallagher takes to the stage, she pays homage to the ‘60s and early ‘70s with extraordinary knowledge, her own soulful vocals unveiling influences such as Dusty Springfield, Al Green, The Shangri-Las, Aretha Franklin, Merry Clayton and Emmy Lou Harris. She moves from stirring Motown to sultry soul to delicious gospel to lowdown Harlem blues. She writes her own material (with two albums to her name, Precious Soul (2004) and Bronagh Gallagher (2012)), but it feels as though she is performing music written 20 or 30 years ago by Memphis or Chicago royalty…
Bronagh Gallagher is one very few people who has the stage presence and the artistry to evoke music created decades back in another country, and she has surrounded herself with vintage musicians and backing vocalists who know all about the ‘then’—a 10-piece band, who possess impeccable credentials, and include include the brilliant Conor Brady (Guitar), Graham Hopkins (Drums and percussion), Clare Kenny (Bass), Justin Carroll (Hammond Organ and Wurlitzer), Shelly and Jordan Bukspan and Paul Byrne (Backing Vocals), Michael Buckley and Ronan Dooney (Horns),
In 2012 producer Brian Eno said of Bronagh that she is “one of the purest, clearest talents I know—a fabulous singer, bursting with raw Irish soul. Striking and original songs and an effortlessly brilliant band. The whole Bronagh picture has come into focus.”
This will be an uplifting, dazzling night in the company of a very funny girl—contextualising each song, or mimicing accents and relaying hilarious exploits each time the band take a breather—and it will, hand on heart, be one of the highlights of the festival.