Markéta Irglová of Once and Swell Season readying solo album

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At a mere 23 years old, Czech-born singer and songwriter Markéta Irglová has already enjoyed success in the United States, both as the co-star of the sleeper hit Once (which won an Oscar for Best Original Song) and as her film co-star Glen Hansard's bandmate in their touring project the Swell Season. But despite her ear for melody and her beautiful, understated voice, Irglová often was sidelined in those projects as Hansard stood center stage, inviting his Frames bandmates into the fold and making the Swell Season performances almost entirely about him.

So it's a relief to hear that Irglová is striking out on her own with Anar, her first solo album, and finding her own spotlight.

Things have been changing rapidly for Irglová over the past year. After ending her romantic relationship with Hansard (the two have since continued to collaborate musicially, though they have both been touring as solo acts in recent months), she moved to New York City and very recently married American guitarist and engineer Tim Iseler. Likewise, the new record finds her in a significantly happier place, far from the heart-shattering loneliness of her solo songs from Once; her first single, "Go Back," sounds downright celebratory, with a Tori Amos-meets-'60s girl group vibe.

NPR has an exclusive stream of "Go Back" today, listen to it here

UPDATE: We just got word from the Cedar Cultural Center that they will be screening a documentary about Hansard and Irglová's romantica unhinging and persevering musical partnership, called The Swell Season, on September 25. (All ages / 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. / $10)


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