Review by Bobby Green

Now that the nights are drawing in and autumns gentle chill starts to slowly conquer late summers clemency we begin to desire more heart-warming pleasures to fire our souls for the long winter nights ahead. We need diotic beauty to complement the colourful autumnal surroundings and I can think of no better companions than Emma Lohan and Anna Mullarkey to accompany our senses during my favourite time of year.

These two natives of Galway are about to embark on ‘The Black Atlantic Tour’ playing dates in Cork, Dublin, Galway and Roscommon. They are touring together to launch their distinctive sounds to new audiences across Ireland. Atlantic-folk meets electro-pop in this unusual but astoundingly complimentary pairing for a night of nostalgia and beautifully unique music.

To mark the launch of ‘The Black Atlantic Tour’, Anna Mullarkey and Emma Lohan will both release a single from their forthcoming albums. Anna’s Baby Dragon is her first solo release and is a heartfelt track written on piano with a blend of electronics giving it an underwater disco feel. Emma’s Wander Free will be her second offering from Black Atlantic that takes you on a nostalgic dream, a laidback soundscape across the Irish Sea.

Emma will be backed by a stellar 6-piece band comprised of horns, strings, synths, percussion and Gregory Sanders-Gallego on lead guitar; her natural, carefree approach to performance is infectious, putting people at ease to let go and enjoy the moment. To experience Black Atlantic live is to be taken on a whirlwind musical trip that embraces her audience from the first note. With upbeat guitar licks, rich harmonies, honest lyrics and beautiful arrangements Lohan invites her audience to forget everything and just dance… and they usually do!

Anna Mullarkey brings her new electronic project to the stage. Her music is a fusion of multiple genres with roots in folk, jazz and minimalism. Anna has been touring and composing with My Fellow Sponges for the past five years whilst also composing soundtracks for multiple documentaries. Her current project explores dance music as a solo performance artist intertwining retro synthesizers with a modern house edge.

But don’t worry Sponge fans, they are still going strong.

The 2 singles released to support the tour are of exceptional beauty, Anna’s style and grace that shapes so much of My Fellow Sponges sound is still at the forefront of her solo project but with an electronic edge so subtle so as not to take over the sound allowing her voice to dictate the mood.

Emma Lohan’s Wander Free is as sweet as candyfloss and equally as soft. Just close your eyes and you’ll have no choice but to Wander Free with the soundscape she encapsulates within your emotional self because you can’t help but be affected by this wonderful song.

Miss this tour at your peril, it could be the most wonderful thing to happen in Ireland this year.