My Fellow Sponges’ Anna embarks on new adventure

Emma Lohan and Anna Mullarkey who will be at the Black Gate on October 25 as part of their Black Atlantic tour.
Emma Lohan and Anna Mullarkey who will be at the Black Gate on October 25 as part of their Black Atlantic tour.

Groove Tube with Jimi McDonnell – tribunegroove@live.ie

Emma Lohan and Anna Mullarkey bring their Black Atlantic tour to the city’s Black Gate Cultural Centre, Francis Street, on Wednesday, October 25.  These intriguing performers will perform a set each, playing music that interweaves folk and electronica.

Anna shared duties as lead-singer with the fantastic My Fellow Sponges, but is relatively new to performing solo. The idea to do a joint tour with Emma came about over “many cups of tea”, she says. And the pair also decided to release singles to coincide with the gigs. Anna’s song is called Baby Dragon, while Emma plans to unveil a tune called Wander Free.

While Emma will be bringing a full band with her from London, Anna will be performing solo.

“I’ll be using an I-Pad, and a synth, and a piano and vocal effects,” she says. “It’s kind of electronic music. I do a lot of soundtrack stuff, so I’m trying to bring what I do on my own in the studio to a live setting.”

That sounds like it might be tricky thing to pull off.

“Yeah!” she laughs. “I’ve only done five solo gigs so far, so every time I play live I see what I could do differently – it’s real learning as I go. I want to make it a more engaging live show, and not just me pressing buttons. I want to bring it to life.”

Anna’s debut solo single is inspired by the idea of “spirit animals that drive you in life”, she explains.  It sounds like something from the Dark Materials trilogy, written by Philip Pullman.

“Oh yeah, it’s totally inspired by that,” Anna says. “I loved those books so much. I think it’s really interesting how he played on people having different types of spirit animals that matched their characters. I do think you can see things in people; like ‘there’s a bit of an owl in that person’,” she continues.

Emma Lohan will be releasing an album next May and will be showcasing her songs at the Black Gate, accompanied by cello, keys, guitar and electronics. Anna is a big fan of Emma’s work.

“I find her really authentic,” she says. “That, for me, is one of the most important things when I go to see an artist – visual, music or whatever – that I feel like they’re being the true person they are. Emma is authentic, incredibly talented. The way she moves her vocals in and out, and really plays with a style of folk. She’s sent me some video clips with the band, and it just sounds really lush.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.