"The Animals Were Gone"
"The Blower's Daughter"
Patti Singer, WXPN-FM
Damien Rice performs live with Lisa Hannigan in Philadelphia.
At once spare and elegant, with an equal flair for whisper-quiet simplicity and orchestral bombast, Damien Rice's music conveys emotional intensity and straightforward beauty at the same time. Rice performed a concert from WXPN and World Cafe Live in Philadelphia on Dec. 15.
Rice grew up in Ireland, where he was inspired by music and painting from an early age. Once a member of the moderately successful Irish indie-rock group Juniper, Rice left the band to wander around Europe for a year before returning to Ireland to pursue a solo career. He scraped together a demo, which was discovered by David Arnold, a producer for the likes of Bjork and Paul Oakenfold.
In 2002, Arnold assisted Rice in recording his debut release, the ambitious and enormously rewarding O. The disc was both critically acclaimed and commercially successful in Europe and North America, where its atmospheric songs became a staple of TV and movie soundtracks. Rice's latest album, the similarly lovely 9, was released in November.