©/Ryan McGoverne


How It’s New York: The show takes place at New York’s Irish Arts Center.
©/Ryan McGoverne

©/Ryan McGoverne

How It’s Irish: Camille O’Sullivan is from Ireland, and a huge success there.

Irish singer Camille O’Sullivan at the Irish Arts Center (Sep 24) was a total triumph. A full house of new and committed fans gave her a standing ovation – which was not surprising.This is an exceptional performer who has garnered kudos in the music and theatre circles especially in the UK. Her American tour started at the Irish Arts Center and America is in for a terrific surprise. An extra show has been added this Sunday at 7 pm due to public demand.

Her stage presence is powerful and genuine and giving. Not only is she a force of nature (audience member quote!) but her professionalism and delivery and scripting are the work of a perfectionist.  She is in a different league than any live performer I have seen for years.

She trawls the depths of the melancholia song poetry of Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen among others and she imbues these songs with her own emphasis and lyricism. It is hard to imagine the emotional undercurrents of Chelsea Hotel (Cohen) could sound more plaintive but O’Sullivan does it. I thought Johnny’ Cash’s version of Hurt (The Nine Inch Nails) could not be surpassed but O’Sullivan does it. Her interpretation of Amsterdam (Brel) is a revelation.

Her version of God’s Away On Business (Waits) is a tour de force making the original sound anemic by comparison.

©Steven Powell

©Steven Powell

At times O’Sullivan  reminded of Gavin Friday who had a wonderful stage presence and shares some of the theatricality and [pullquote]This is an exceptional performer [/pullquote]Irish mournful-philic DNA that astounded Irish audiences in the 1970s.

But she is in a league of her own.

O’Sullivan’s vocal range, depth, pitch and delivery are impeccable as is her stage presence and audience interaction. She can quickly move from soulful to high energy songs that are full of life and fun and barely concealed self-delight (the best type).

She has earned five stars previously from Time Out, The Guardian, The Independent, The Scotsman. I am adding another one.

Verdict: A five star fierce and by turns filigreed performance. She is superstar material. Genuine and genius. Everyone should see her.

Irish Arts Center
Sep 25 to 27  8pm
Sep 28 (extra show added Sunday) 7pm

553 West 51st Street, New York – Tickets 866-811-4111 or IAC

Artist website Camille O’Sullivan

About the Author