The Swell Season Live from the Artist's Den (DVD, 2008)
Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova played the roles of street musician and vendor in the Irish film Once. In these roles Hansard falls for Irglova, and they work on the song "Falling Slowly." As it turns out, outside of these roles Hansard falls for Irglova and they write the song "Falling Slowly" which earned an Academy Award.
In this concert from the Artist's Den, a small venue in Seattle, they perform together as The Swell Season. Seven of the songs in this concert are on the soundtrack of Once, including "Falling Slowly." Hansard plays an acoustic guitar that looks like it has been attacked by a jackhammer, and Irglova a grand piano. Their singing and playing is passionate and ethereal, and their glances at each other reflect love and tenderness — no acting here. All of this is spellbinding. It is a privilege to listen to and look in on this beauty and intimacy.
The music is so powerful and moving that one can understand Hansard's desire (need?) for some banter between songs. But it doesn't always help; the muse is in the music and banter breaks its spell. Hansard once said that in the home he grew up in, Dylan, Van Morrison, and Leonard Cohen were the trinity, with Dylan in the center. Some find Dylan frustrating, as his comments in concert frequently consist only of "thank you" and band introductions. But, Bob knows what he is doing. Dylan's silence outside of the songs keeps the momentum building, allowing the beauty and power of each performance to linger.
The Swell Season Live from the Artist's Den lets us in on some of the mystique and magic of two talented and smitten artists. One hopes their music and love continue to grow for years to come.