Derry’s hardest working, most in demand and not to mention talented entertainer, Bronagh Gallagher, returns home with her ‘dream band’ in November.
The actress and singer joins forces with The Frames/Swell Season drummer, Graham Hopkins, Jerry Fish and The Mudbug Club guitarist, Conor Brady and bassist Clare Kenny who has toured with Shakepeare’s Sister, Sinead O’Connnor and Brian Eno to play a number of gigs locally.
“They are just my favourite musicians,” explains the Bogside born, Bronagh. “I knew I wanted to do a second album and I thought, ‘who do I really want to work with?’ I worked the recording and touring schedules around the availability of those three. We all get on great together which really helped in the creative process. There is a good energy and I’ve just been blown away by how it has turned out.”
The band recorded Bronagh’s second album in the summer, the Derry girl even produced it herself. “It was a big step up for me to do the producing but I have a lot of friends in the industry who told me I was ready, so I trusted them first, myself second.”
Bronagh toured her debut album ‘Precious Soul’ for two and a half years. “Taking the band out on the road is the hardest part of the process. There is a lot of fuel needed to get the necessary work done before that stage.”
The actress, who has had roles in classics The Commitments, Pulp Fiction, Divorcing Jack and Star Wars, wrote the album while on holiday. Cousin and musician Caolan McLaughlin was on hand to help her write the music; “His help was great. I realise now I want to spend more time with my family and stop living out of suitcases. To return home I need my driving licence so I’m learning to drive which is just hysterical.” Considering her work commitments, no pun intended, it is hard to believe Bronagh has time to learn anything. In the last 12 months she has completed filming two television series, a play at the Royal Court, London, three feature films and of course formed and recorded with her dream band. “I love being busy. I love and am honoured to be able to work in the creative industries. You can never take this work for granted, you take the work when it is offered as there are no guarantees another job will follow. I just can’t sit around, I love being full on.”
The pick of those projects is perhaps her collaboration with Glenn Close ‘The Secret Life of Albert Knobbs.’ Shot in Dublin, Close plays an English woman who disguises herself as a male butler in order to find work in 19th century Ireland.
“It is a fantastic performance. I honestly believe it is 100% Glenn’s Academy Award winning moment. She has been working on the project for 11 years so I was delighted to be able to contribute to it.” For her part Bronagh plays; “A lady who is with another lady.” Though we can’t concentrate on each role as appearances in BBC Scotland Drama ‘The Field Of Blood,’ and ‘Pram Face’ movies ‘Grabbers,’ and ‘The Other Child’ are, just like her album, all set for 2012 releases.
“You can’t have any sense of entitlement in this game so I can’t wait to see how things pan out. I have to make them happen, There is no schedule to the game there is just working or not working. The more you are in the industry the clearer it is that all those stars with talent match it with work ethic. You don’t get jobs through talent alone, Everything comes from hardwork. There is a reason that ‘if you want something done, you ask a busy person.”
Few will deny that Bronagh has been busy. “I’m just looking forward to playing the songs live now and getting the crowds reaction.” To that end Bronagh is playing three intimate gigs this month with an eye to a larger tour next year.
“I’m playing alongside exceptional musicians so I just can’t wait to get these songs out there. For me that is the most exciting part, the songs and their stories. I’m a story teller whether the medium is acting or singing I’m there to tell a story.” Bronagh has acted in several stories which have become modern cinematic classics, looking back, which does she cherish most? “They are all wonderful experiences. They are all incredible medals to have and I’m just so proud of them all. Pulp Fiction and The Commitments were complete wild cards in terms of their success. Appearing in Star Wars well I just find that hysterical. Me, in Star Wars!? I’m just honoured to have been involved. When I look back it is the little unexpected events while shooting the movie I remember most fondly. After I finished on Pulp Fiction I went for drinks with the cast and crew. At the end of the night, we were out in the Las Vegas desert and John Travolta was explaining the star constellations to us for twenty minutes and I was thinking ‘Is this really happening?’”
Derry star Bronagh Gallagher plays Sandinos Bar on Wednesday November 2.