Lisa Hannigan has premiered stunning new track ‘Ora’, taken from her forthcoming third album ‘At Swim’ (released on August 19th via Play It Again Sam). Produced by Aaron Dessner, ‘At Swim’ follows the double-platinum, Mercury-nominated debut ‘Sea Sew’, and 2011’s ‘Passenger’ (which charted at number 1 in Ireland, and earned Lisa another Choice Music Prize nomination).
‘I was adrift and caught in the ropes/ Under a pinhole sky, blowing off course…’ begins ‘Ora’, a gorgeous aquatic ballad first airing today. ‘Aaron sent me the music, just the piano,’ Lisa says, recalling how the track came about. ‘And the way he played it immediately conjured up in my mind the heave and the haul of oars on water. Next thing the words and the melody had just arrived in my head.’ From that sense of lostness and uncertainty comes a new hope, and a fragile, ravishing dream of love. ‘You’ll be the boat and/I’ll be the sea,’ it closes. ‘Won’t you come with me?’ Who could resist?
Directed by her brother Jamie Hannigan, the starting point for the ‘Ora’ video was a silhouette portrait of the siblings’ mother, Frances, from when she was a little girl. Inspired further by finding Youtube videos of “crankies” – backlit moving panoramas that are turned by hand – the team took turns operating the puppets over one July afternoon, all based out of the Hannigans’ (extremely patient) parents’ living room.
‘Ora’ is another glimpse into Lisa’s third – and arguably most bewitching – album, ‘At Swim’, which is already on the receiving end of significant critical acclaim. After playing in support of ‘Passenger’ for nearly two years, she struggled at first to write new material for the record: a new relationship meant that she was dividing her time between Dublin and London, and so adrift and lost, she threw herself into distraction instead. There was an acting debut as a mermaid in the Oscar-nominated animation ‘Song of the Sea’, soundtrack work on ‘Fargo’ and the Oscar-winning score for ‘Gravity’, all the while founding and co-hosting the acclaimed ‘Soundings’ podcast (which saw Lisa turn interviewer, and speak to guests such as Harry Shearer, Sharon Horgan and David Arnold). The breakthrough came when Hannigan got an email out of the blue from Aaron Dessner, guitarist with The National and producer for the likes of Sharon Van Etten and Local Natives. Taking up Dessner’s suggestion to work together and rediscovering the collaborative spirit she’d missed in Dublin enabled Lisa to see her time in London in a different light. So while ‘At Swim’ is in part about homesickness and isolation, ‘Ora’ suggests that it’s also – profoundly and very movingly – about love.
‘AT SWIM’ – TRACK LIST
- Fall 7. We The Drowned
- Prayer For The Dying 8. Anahorish
- Snow 9. Tender
- Lo 10. Funeral Suit
- Undertow 11. Barton