Interview: Lisa O'Neill & Peter Broderick

Lisa O'Neill & Peter Broderick - 19th December
Birds, Plants and Hansards: Gary Meyler speaks to Lisa O'Neill and Peter Broderick ahead of their Live At St. Luke's concert....

The following article was first published by Cork's Evening Echo on Thursday, 3rd December 2015

Like a string of azaleas seeking evening shade under a towering oak, the songs of both Lisa O’Neill and Peter Broderick source shelter and sustenance from their natural surroundings. Although geographically worlds apart, the Cavan tale-spinner and the adventurous Portland multi-instrumentalist ingest the land and wildlife around them to feed their imaginations, sometimes literally. “Lately I’ve been obsessed with wild, edible plants,” explains Peter over the phone on a blustery Tuesday night. “A lot of my time here in Annestown [Co. Waterford, where Peter is currently on sabbatical in a little country cottage] has been spent walking around, identifying plants and eating a lot of them. I have several books on the matter.” The bittersweet end to Emile Hirsch's portrayal of Christopher McCandless in the 2007 biopic Into The Wild rings personal alarm bells. “No don’t worry! I’m being really careful,” assures Peter, rapidly reacting to the obvious distress in my nervous laughter. “I make sure to cross reference everything with several different books that say what the plant is, tasting a little bit of it and waiting 15/20 minutes to let it sink into my system and seeing if it feels good or bad. I did get stung by some nettles the other day but that’s as bad as it’s been so so far so good!”
Meanwhile further north in Dublin, Lisa is just back from her daily run in Phoenix Park which allows her to maintain her own relationship with the earth and all its little inhabitants.
“I love wildlife and I like being around trees and I love birds. They’re fascinating, beautiful little things bouncing around with their tiny little bodies and hearts and they’re up there flying around in the gusts of wind in the middle of winter. Going back 30 or 40 years, a lot of people in this country were very superstitious of birds and if a bird came into the house it was considered bad luck. My lazy quick feeling on it is that they know something. Did you know that they’re the closest things to the dinosaur we have left? They’ve been around longer than us so they definitely know things we don’t know; I like that.”
From a shared appreciation of the world around them to an unsaid mutual respect for the importance of working with friends and like-minded people over the more financially attractive proposition, it’s a wonder that Lisa and Peter have yet to cross paths prior to their upcoming Live At St. Luke’s pairing.
“The friendships that you make are everything.” stresses Lisa. “I can’t play music with someone if we don’t have the communication, and that’s a language outside of music. You need to be able to communicate.” Having toured with him both in the U.S. and Australia, one of those friends is Frames frontman, Glen Hansard. “No matter how well known they are or not, to mix with people that think like me - with more of an abstract mind that is - is to sit down and share and compare experiences. When we sit and talk together we go down that road and we dream together and ideas grow. It’s very exciting to be friends with people who do what you do, be it music, photography or painting. After chats like that, you wake up the next day and think that was a fantastic night because the motors in the brain were working and balancing. That’s the highest value I’d take from the connections I have with other musicians and artists, the conversations we have. Good people attract each other. Well, I hope we’re good people.”

For more on Lisa O'Neill & Peter Broderick visit:

- Lisa O’Neill and Peter Broderick play Live At St. Luke’s, Cork on 19th December
- Tickets are available from and priced from €18.40

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