Living The Dream

Bronagh Gallagher reveals her Precious Soul, reports James Gracey

LISTEN to part of Bronagh Gallagher's Precious Soul

LISTEN to part of Bronagh Gallagher's Johnny Eagle

Known mainly for her roles in films such as The Commitments and Pulp Fiction, Derry born Bronagh Gallagher has also been stealthily making a name for herself on the music scene over the past couple of years.

2005 saw the release of her debut album Precious Soul, and a tour of Ireland.

More recently she has played events such as Glasgowbury Music Festival, the Festival of World Cultures in Dublin, and together with her band scooped the award for Best New Irish Band/Act at the Buzz Awards.

As if that's not enough, she's also just completed work on a new film, the comedy-horror hybrid '13', in which she plays one half of a set of evil twins directly descended from Ivan the Terrible.

‘It's a bit of a pantomime really,' she admits. 'It should be interesting. There was a great cast of English and Irish actors. Stephen Dorff plays the main character, he's great. He plays it quite straight but the rest of us are all just complete freaks. I think it'll be a good laugh.’

For Gallagher, like her Commitments co-star and front man of The Frames, Glen Hansard, making the transition from film to music seemed perfectly natural.

‘I was brought up in a very musical house and my parents loved music, mainly soul and country. I starting writing stuff when I was a kid. I wrote a few songs here and there and I wrote quite a few when I did The Commitments, which was cool as I was just surrounded by music.

'I think it obviously inspired me in some way,' she adds. 'I sang and played around town and was always involved in music. I sang in a band called The Listener, a little mod band. We all used to go to the dances and were big into The Undertones and I think everyone at some stage has wanted to be in a band. It was a magic time for music, a really special time.’

Citing the likes of John Lennon, Aretha Franklin, Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash and Shadow Morton as influences, Gallaghers describes her song writing process as spontaneous. ‘It sort of just comes to me. I couldn't just sit down and say to myself, ok I'm going to write a song now.

'Some days I'd write about two songs in a row, just depending on what kind of mood I'm in. Sometimes a tune will come into my head and maybe a few lyrics and I just take it from there.’

Her first album, Precious Soul, was an understated, bluesy mixture of Nashville Country and Memphis Soul and was produced by her friend, none other than the legendary Brian Eno.

‘Over the last few years I've just written more and more. I love writing songs, it's how I can get stuff off my mind. I'm really happy with the album and how it turned out.’

For the last two years Gallagher's focus has been on her music, although she has continued to work in film and admits to not finding it difficult balancing the two.

'It took a year to finish the record, but I never turned anything down in the process,' she reveals. 'You always know well in advance the dates you'll be working on a movie so you know not to apply too much in and around when you're shooting. You need to be available for the whole stint. It's not been a problem so far, thank God!’