Last Tuesday Glen Hansard played an afternoon acoustic set in Shakespeare & Company bookshop. Hansard is perhaps best known for his part in the movie “Once,” but he’s a veteran musician (with The Frames and more recently The Swell Season).
What a privilege to be in such an intimate space listening to gorgeous, unadorned music! One voice and a guitar. That’s it.
“Lots of traveling takes a toll on the flesh,” Hansard said, “but not the soul. Voice may sound broken but it’s singing its heart out.”
His voice sure didn’t sound broken to me. Strong, emotional, and yes, full of heart. In an age of cynicism I find Hansard’s earnestness – those life and love songs he belts out at the top of his lungs – so refreshing.
(Poor quality video, but to give you an idea):
Shakespeare & Co’s upstairs library doesn’t hold many people; we packed in as we could. Hansard recounted the first time he came to play in Paris in 1993 or ’94. He heard that Serge Gainsbourg and Samuel Beckett were buried in Montparnasse cemetery near the Irish bar where they were booked. He decided to pay his respects.