Born in Kildare and based in Dublin, Inni-K is an indie folk singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who also performs as a traditional Irish fiddler and singer under her own name Eithne Ní Chatháin – she released her first solo album titled Eithne in 2006. She was also part of Irish music group Ré alongside Hothouse Flowers founding member Liam Ó Maonlaí and concertina player Cormac Begley. The band released their self-titled début in 2014.
Drawing on a wealth of musical influences as a solo musician – from folk tales and traditional music to contemporary art, African roots music and jazz – Inni-K has released two albums to date. Following on from The King Has Two Horse’s Ears in 2015, the hare & the line was released under her own Green Willow Records label on 1 March 2019 last as a CD and download. An LP version also came out on 8 November 2019.
The seam’s unravelled
Loosened threads – Edges
As already hinted perhaps by the split screen video for her 2015 song Come With Me for her début album as Inni-K, Eithne Ní Chatháin’s artistic vision is concerned with appraising a song or her records’ overall sonic and thematic identity from different viewpoints. The stunning cover artwork for the hare & the line by freelance photographer Bríd O’Donovan – the singer’s blurred silhouette in motion against a still landscape – immediately introduces two different perspectives on the same scene.
A similar approach prevails throughout the entire album (with songs in two languages). Sometimes borrowing from folk tale imagery on the title song for instance, there is a constant longing for nature and the elements against a cityscape backdrop (“the moon my friend”) while the mood swings from teenage love (“crush”) to grief (just after”).
Musically, the hare & the line ranges from electric pop-rock songs (“crush”) and folk ballads “what’s in the bag love?” to traditional music (“póirste béil”). The latter is a set of two well-known traditional Scottish puirt à beul songs popularised in the late 1980s by Karen Matheson’s Capercaillie’s or by Talitha MacKenzie and her mouth music project in 1990. But instead of following the traditional route, Inni-K gives carte-blanche to the rhythm section and to Dublin-based jazz improviser Seán Mac Erlaine on reeds for a radical interpretation.
A constant thread from the start is Inni-K’s ethereal voice. No doubt influenced by sean-nós singing, her melismatic singing style replete with micro-ornamentations adds colour to every song while the magnificent “ón radharc is sia” concludes the album with a soaring ambient vibe.
Featuring Eithne Ní Chatháin on vocals, electric guitar, fiddle and keyboards, Brian Walsh on drums, Caimin Gilmore on bass, Alex Borwick on synthesizers, hammond organ and Fender Rhodes and Seán Mac Erlaine on clarinets and saxophone, the hare & the line is a highly original and multi-faceted production.