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Muilti-Talented Camille O'Sullivan Returns to the Irish Arts Center

by Photo of Paul Hansen

The dynamic singer concludes her successful series of performances this weekend.

Muilti-Talented Camille O'Sullivan Returns to the Irish Arts Center

Acclaimed singer and actress Camille O'Sullivan is performing at the Irish Arts Center. This is a return engagement for Ms. O'Sullivan, as she gave a series of highly regarded performances at this venue in the fall of 2014.

O'Sullivan has an interesting career. She was originally trained as an architect and won the prestigious Architectural Association of Ireland Award in 2000.  I think that it is safe to say that anyone who has heard her sing would be glad she decided to make the transition to the stage and the microphone.

Ms. O'Sullivan has a lovely voice which is capable of wide degrees of expression.   She sings an eclectic mix of songs from such diverse composers as Nick Cave, Bob Dylan and David Bowie. She also brings tremendous dramatic flair to the stage. It is apparent that she considers the songs she sings not as just musical numbers but actually mini-dramas which she presents as both a very talented singer and actress. 

She is accompanied by a lively and energetic trio consisting of Feargal Murray (Piano), Andrew Zinsmeister (guitar) and Dan Weiner (drums). One particularly interesting feature of the evening is the constantly varying accompaniment textures, with the the trio at times providing quite forceful musical support and then transitioning to much thinner textures. A particular stand-out selection is Sullivan's beautiful a capella version of Jacque Brel's haunting “Amsterdam.”

There are a variety of props on the stage, including a mechanical bird and illuminated rabbit, and a number of sound clips are played, including a segment from MGM's Wizard of Oz. I wasn't quite sure what the relevance of all of these items were, but I suppose not all questions in life need be answered. Isn't it enough that the questions are at least intriguing or amusing?  The unpredictable use of props and sound clips reminded me somewhat of the atmosphere of a David Letterman show in its particularly creative days.

Ms. Sullivan has had an impressive singing career, headlining at such venues as London's Royal Festival Hall and the Sydney Opera House. Yoko Ono chose her to perform Double Fantasy Live in London with Earl Slick, Sean Lennon, and Patti Smith.   Camille appears to me  as the type of person who would have a difficult time tolerating mundane matters, and would encourage thinking outside of the box. If her architectural designs display the same level of creativity, vibrancy and finesse that she has on stage it wouldn't be surprising that her designs have received significant recognition.  She is also a noted painter. 

Towards the close of her set, she gave a poignant tribute to the late David Bowie, another eclectic artist. She also sang a touching rendition of his “Five Years”.

Camille O' Sullivan is appearing at the Irish Arts Center located at 553 West 51st St. She began her series of performances on April 6, and her last two shows are this evening (April 15) and Saturday April 16 at 8 pm. The woman is a creative dynamo.


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