Words: Dylan Murphy
Photography: George Voronov
In the early embers of the new year, music heads religiously pencil in the Dingle edition of Other Voices as a can’t miss event. For one weekend only, the town’s pubs, shops and streets open themselves to insatiable listeners for a genuinely one of a kind, community-driven music showcase. With the festivities taking place in one of the most southernly points on the island, on the other side of mountainous terrain, it’s an experience reserved for only those committed enough to make the pilgrimage. With the global pandemic interrupting the sanctity of the annual show for two years on the trot, we made a point of checking in with some of our favourite acts, before, during and after their performances across the weekend.
shiv‘s music flows with the freedom of a freshly squeezed orange and having made her mark during lockdown, it feels like a betrayal to the soul to have the listening experience restricted to streaming services. Her sophomore EP The Love Interlude meanders through seasons as she wrestles with the highs and lows of love. It’s the kind of music that can only come to fruition after difficult experiences and the lyrics ring with the clarity of someone who has the benefit of hindsight. Having been stationed between Ireland and Paris during the pandemic and having become accustomed to making music remotely, the 2021 edition of Other Voices in Dingle presented itself to shiv as both an opportunity to connect with other local artists for the first time and give her intimate songwriting the platform it deserves.
Shortly ahead of her performance in the Hillgrove we caught up with shiv to manifest a rare Frank Ocean performance in the church and take a moment to appreciate the beauty of the festival.
So it’s your first time at Other Voices in Dingle. Who did you bring with you?
I came on my own, a little lonely drive, but I enjoyed it I must say.
Had you been to Dingle before?
It’s my first time in Dingle but I’d been to Kerry before. It’s really cute, you can almost sense the atmosphere before you get there.
There’s something about people having to come from really far away to get there. It’s almost like a pilgrimage, a little bit more magic?
Yeah, 100%, it’s like you are here and it’s like “time to soak it all in”.
Are you going to spend the rest of the weekend at the Other Voices after your performance?
I’m still undecided to be honest but i’d love to stay around for a bit. I’d love to see Malaki, then other than that I still need to get my bearings and see what the buzz is. I wanted to see Gemma Dunleavy and Tolu Makay but they were on the last two nights so unfortunately I missed them.
The last time we were here we saw Arlo Parks and Joy Crookes just dandering about. Then today, we saw all this year’s acts walking through the town. It’s bizarre, but in a good way, you don’t really get it anywhere else.
Even when I was driving through, I was trying to suss it out who everyone is. I’d love to go to the church if I could, just for the experience, it would be really really cool.
In an ideal world, if you could see anybody in the church who would it be?
In an ideal world, I’d love Frank Ocean. Wouldn’t it be amazing? I wouldn’t even want to touch him or talk to him, I’d just want that spiritual experience. I would leave my body and return a new woman!
How do you prepare for something like this? It’s different to the usual festival vibe or a headline show.
I dunno, I have to say I was really nervous for this. I don’t really get very nervous, I think it’s the whole… I have been a very lone warrior in my music – I’ve produced my own stuff in the beginning and it was very much my thing. I’ve only recently started working with bands and stuff like that. It’s sort of the social aspect of it as well. I haven’t met a lot of other musicians, I’ve been living in Paris for the last while so it’s not like I’ve been fully immersed in the Irish music scene. So I potentially think that’s a small part of it. That intimidation of being around other people.
I suppose this is a good place to change that, with so many artists concentrated in one place for a short period of time as well. Are you back living in Ireland at the moment?
Kind of half and half at the moment. It’s a bit weird at the minute because things are coming back but also who knows. I’ve been living at home when I need to be here and then I’m half in Paris until March or so.
What sort of stuff have you heard about other voices?
It’s definitely one of those performances that feels like a right of passage. It’s something that you should do, not in terms of career trajectory, but for the pure experience of it. I’ve heard it’s such a magically, beautiful and all encompassing thing to be a part of. I don’t know how different it is this year. It seems like such a community atmosphere and people are here to enjoy that. It’s not about drinking or drugging… You know? It’s about being apart of a communal experience and loving this thing we’re all a part of.
Have to say out of all the things we couldn’t do last year this was one I was most upset about. Before the show do you have any rituals do you have anything you like to do before you go on stage?
I guess I definitely sit in the moment and be grateful for the experience of it, as cheesy as that sounds. I feel like everyone says that, but it is really is something that I feel is very important. Especially considering how short time I’ve been doing this and looking back and reflecting on it like ‘wow look how far you’ve come. There’s all these people here because of something you have made from your soul has touched them enough to make them want to come and enjoy it’. Then to just be sure to enjoy the experience, no matter what bad stuff happens, as I’m sure you know live music comes with its own set of issues [laughs]. Being able to say ‘okay, you’re here for the energy, you are here for the live performance, forget about all the other stuff and put it to the side’.
Is there anything you bring with you whenever you tour, home comforts?
I don’t think so, not yet, but I think I will when it comes around.
Did you have a show in London?
Yeah, a couple of weeks ago which was really, really nice. It’s kind to getting used to performing with different people behind you. There was just a DJ there and today I have my keys and sax and sometimes i have a full band. It’s nice getting different energy from people you perform with as well.
Looking forward to it?
Yeah, I’m looking forward to it, I think it will be really nice. The atmosphere of it all. Experiencing what it is. Even the drive in here… what?! Puts you in a different frame of mind, we’re all fine and we’re out here living in a beautiful world.
Watch an exclusive live performance and interview from shiv below: