Live Music Review: Julie Feeney

Cork Opera House

5/5

Julie Feeney is a songstress, a skilled musician, a classically-trained singer and a suitably surreal communicator of the human condition.

Joined on-stage by her ‘dream team’ — Cormac DeBarra on harp, Feargal Murray on vocals, and Morgan Crowley on keyboard — she created an intimate evening of love songs for grown-ups. Each song, eloquent and elegant, was a work-of-art-in-miniature, intellectually satisfying and emotionally stimulating.

Feeney was captivating. She presented in fantastical attire by fashion designer Dolly Delinquent, and milliner Martha Lynn. Alternately perched on a colourful cushion or poof, curled on the stage steps, or moving through the auditorium, she engaged with the audience as though they were close family and friends.

Rare it is to experience spontaneous, improvised harmony by an Opera House audience. Feeney openly celebrated the next generation of young artists in her evening’s planned surprises: young trumpeter James McGlynn joined from the balcony, and the Cork Youth Chamber Orchestra were magically revealed on-stage, complete with gauze and star cloth, in ‘Dear John’, just before the interval. CYChO, under the baton of maestro, Tom Crowley, contributed a subtle and yet assured sophistication for much of the second half.

‘Cold Water’, ‘Just a Few Hours’, ‘If I LoseYou’, from her current album, Clocks, and ‘Grace’, from her second, Pages, moved my heart and reminded me what it was to have listened to that album. In ‘Julia’, she captured the great love shared by her grandparents and explained to us how, when her grandmother had died, her grandfather stopped singing, as he had nothing more to sing about.

It was an evening of life’s truths shared through Feeney’s unique story-singing style.

[media]http://youtu.be/2vzjSOlGNsU[/media]

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