This past Sunday World Café Live played host to an international call-to-the-soul in the form of Marketa Irglova and her music of the spirit, body and mind. With members ranging from the Czech Republic (Irglova herself), Iran, Israel and the U.S. and a sound driven by keyboard and harmonies, it was a calm, ruminative way to spend a fall night.
Irglova is certainly best known for her work with Glen Hansard in The Swell Season and the film Once. With the release of her second solo record this year, Muna, she has proven her immense talents go beyond the fertile collaborations of the past.
Perched behind a keyboard for the entirety of the main set, Irglova’s smooth syllables complemented her key arrangements. Songs like “Time Immemorial” proved a perfect demonstration of this. And then there is Aida Shahghasemi. Playing the percussive daf front and center and drawing out grand emotion and power from the instrument, Shahghasemi certainly had the audience’s rapt attention. This was especially true on the brilliant song “Dokhtar Goochani.” Her voice, when put into the spiritual cauldron of Irgolva’s and opener and backing vocalist Rosi Golan’s, created a concoction that was sweet, haunting and utterly sublime.
Fans of Irglova’s past were rewarded with some of the finest The Swell Season song, including “If You Want Me,” “Falling Slowly” and “I Have Loved You Wrong.” The latter was the show’s stunning conclusion. Irglova strapped on a guitar and encouraged a cleansing sing along to this song of hurtful memories. The muted lighting that had been pervasive throughout the night lifted for one of the few times to then reveal a joyous Irglova. As she and her band took their final bow, the crowd was hopefully aware of the glory of song they had just witnessed.
Golan’s opening set was quite a melodic treat. Heavily relying on her brilliant 2013 EP Fortuna, her rich, soulful voice was on display. “Give Up the Ghost” was certainly the highlight, while her foray into covers of Mariah Carey and R. Kelly showcased her versatility. As an added treat during Irglova’s encore, Irglova, Shahghasemi and Golan huddled around the microphone to sing a stirring version of Golan’s “Can’t Go Back.” It was one of many magical moments from the evening.