Markéta Irglová, the Academy Award winner known most famously for staring in the movie ‘ONCE’ and as one half of the duo The Swell Season, is ready to step back into the spotlight with LILA, her first record in over eight years. Irglová’s time away has been far from quiet as she married, had three children, and built a studio all while working on music near constantly in the intermitting years.
While many artists are busy offering up their pandemic record, LILA is a work that has been long in progress. With its confessional-like nature, the record offers insight into Irglová’s journey and how she has managed to find balance in her career as an artist, wife and mother, while embracing the full paradox of love, which softens even as it provides strength.
The central premise of LILA’s nine-song journey is one of LOVE. It finds Irglová living her dream life offering insight into the healing power of love and being at peace with that which you cannot control. As Irglová states: "Simply sitting with things I can't change, rather than trying to solve them or run away from them, has brought me into a deeper place in my heart and I am grateful for that.”
LILA was conceived in Iceland with her partner/producer Sturla Mio Thorisson bringing Irglová’s vision into sharp focus. Recorded at the couple’s studio Masterkey, LILA is a showcase for Irglová’s exceptional piano and arrangement skills which have come to be known through her most famous song “Falling Slowly.” The singer-songwriter is joined by noted Finnish born / Irish based string player, Marja Gaynor, Czech guitarist Peter Moc, and Venezulan percussionist Manuel Barreto throughout the record.
LILA calls to mind the work of indie artists like Cat Power, Half Waif, and Damien Rice, while still touching on larger themes and styles that musically rest alongside more spiritual artists like Tori Amos, Sarah McLachlan, and Enya.
Irglova released several singles prior to the album itself and it's clear the time invested paid off. She's mature, carrying the life experience with her, yet the depth of the words and uniqueness of her voice remain. String arrangements done by Marja Gaynor, known for her involvement with legendary band Interference, suit the tracks perfectly and only add to the powerful impact. Eventhough the album contains, perhaps intentionally, a track entitled Girl from a Movie, Irglova shows she has moved on since then and although Once helped her in many ways, helped her find her sound and heped her grow as an artist, opened up new horizons for her and she's happy to play those songs to this day, she's shining in her own skin. You can immediately feel that, even before she starts singing the words of opening track , Love Stayed with Me.
The haunting Remember Me displays a slightly different kind of love. The love we feel towards our dearly departed. Everything associated wth it. The memories, the longing, the sadness, everything is within the track. You feel a hint of positivity towards the end, as if it was a reminder that those we love are forever with us, even after their body is not there.
Overall, LILA is a triumph of an artist who has a lot to say and whose honesty continues to resonate with the listener.