Thursday, November 19, 2009

it's swell

does anybody else get those emails from about the "new" music being released every week?

i honestly don't usually pay much attention to them. i'm not all that "hip" these days, and "new" music mostly passes me by with little notice.

but then, a couple of weeks ago, "strict joy" was on the "new" music list. and i thought, "hey, i recognize those faces."

glen hansard & marketa irgolva, from the movie once. and they're band, the swell season. my heart leapt for joy.

i wrote about once back in april when matt & i first saw it. i didn't elaborate too much on it, other than the fact that i absolutely loved the film. so, indulge me.

once takes two very powerful and common ideas seen both in film and life and gently smashes them together with wonderful and poignant results: love and music. watching two people fall in love is a wonderful thing in a movie, if you believe it. and you do in once. and while i love musicals as much as any girl, the necessity for a suspension of belief, e.g., characters randomly breaking out into song & dance like it was choreographed oh so perfectly, is sometimes a bit too much to ask of me. while once isn't a proper musical by any means, the movie is filled with music, songs written from a sad and passionate place, overflowing with emotional honesty. and to me, these songs are what truly make this movie for me. the amount of passion and emotional intensity found in the songs is overwhelming and beautiful, and glen hansard's crystal clear and pure tenor voice gives me chills. just listen:

this is "falling slowly," the "big" (oscar-winning) song from the movie. i teared up when i found this. its emotional intensity (both the song and hansard's performance) hits me deep.

so you can imagine how excited i was to learn that they were (a) still together and (b) had a new album of music out. but i was even more ecstatic to learn that they were touring. and that they'd be in houston in 2 weeks.

matt & i bought tickets that night, and waited for friday the 13th...though, i admit, quite nervously. we're both not huge fans of live shows for several and varying reasons. we worried about the atmosphere of a small-ish club, probably filled with rowdy, drunk texans cheering on this pure and refined pair and their wonderful music. and we worried that live, it just wouldn't be the same. well, all i can say is that we were incredibly wrong and very pleasantly surprised at how amazing and fulfilling their live show was!

even despite the rowdy, drunk texans yelling "GLEEEENN!!!!!" the entire night. (congratulations, loud man. you know his name.) glen hansard is an incredible performer who, at one point, unplugged his holey guitar, walked away from the microphone, and let only his voice do the work. it was amazing. and marketa, who is incredibly shy, was oh so cute and subdued. they make such a great pair.

i brought my camera (as you can see), but since it wasn't my fancy shmancy camera, getting a good photo was nearly impossible. this was my best shot of the night, slightly blurred, but enough to remember it by.

it was a very magical night for me, one filled with joy and pure emotions. i highly recommend anybody reading this check out once and the swell season. here's another taste of glen & marketa, music also from once:


  1. So I just spent the last 30+ minutes listening to their music online. Wow. That's some good stuff!

  2. While I don't share your appreiciation of the music, I respect and love the name "the swell season." How unproposing! I think it also describes their musical sytle-just regular old swell stuff. The use of lower-case also adds as they express themselves and their theme through printed material and musical material.