At the young age of 26, Czech-born singer songwriter Markéta Irglová’s artistic achievement to date is truly remarkable. Between acting in and co-writing the score for the superb 2007 indie surprise hit Once and its subsequent stage adaptation, winning an Oscar (2008), a Tony (2012) and a Grammy Award (2013) for best original song, best musical and best musical theatre album respectively, recording two albums with Glen Hansard/The Swell Season between 2006 and 2009 and releasing a first solo album in 2011, the musician has also toured the world many times and moved from her native country to Ireland, and then to New York. Recorded in Iceland where she now lives and released on the ANTI- record label on September 23rd 2014 last, Muna is Markéta Irglová’s second solo album.

Markéta Irglová: Muna (2014)
Markéta Irglová: Muna (2014)

What immediately catches the eye is the stunning artwork accompanying the album. Iranian-born and New-York based visual artist Nahid Hagigat designed the front cover – another of her paintings also features on the cover of Irglová’s previous solo record Anar – while all the lyrics on the CD booklet were beautifully illustrated by the singer herself and by Mary Reynolds, a garden and landscape designer based in Ireland.

I sometimes do prayer drawings for friends which involve me connecting in to the situation that needs help and putting a pen to paper and watching what emerges, all the while holding the best possible outcome in my heart, whatever that may be. I followed that same process for each of Markéta’s beautiful songs. Mary Reynolds

Drawing for "Fortune Teller" © Mary Reynolds
Drawing for “Fortune Teller” © Mary Reynolds

Opening to the sound of church bells, the 11 compositions on Muna play like an “internal dialogue of spiritual nature” with lyrics inspired by

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s and Tim Rice’s rock opera “Jesus Christ Superstar”, Neale Donald Walsch’s trilogy “Conversations With God” […] or Iranian literature classic “The Conference of the Birds” (by 12th century poet Farid ud-Din Attar). Markéta Irglová – About Muna

Involving a total of 27 musicians and singers, call and response songs between the singer and choir singers, nursery rhymes, piano-led ballads with lush orchestral arrangements, sparse electronics and field recordings slowly draw the listener into a highly original and consistent soundscape which is intimately connected with the singer’s personal faith and immediate natural environment:

I am inspired by the open space, the wilderness of the nature, the strong energy coming from the land. There is a harmony, a balance, something that allows for a freer flow of creativity. It is easier to be one with oneself and one with everything and everyone around. This makes for better art, in my opinion. Markéta Irglová – About Muna

A true delight for eyes and ears from a captivating artist.