CAMILLE O'SULLIVAN was memorably, and not inaccurately, described by The Scotsman as "a cross between Sally Bowles, Patti Smith, and PJ Harvey", and for the second year in a row, she makes a welcome return to the Galway International Arts Festival.
Camille was in GIAF 17, in the drama/musical Woyzeck In Winter, playing Marie, Woyzeck's long suffering and much maligned wife. This year she returns as a solo artist to playa headline gig in Monroe’s, Dominick Street, on Wednesday July 18 at 9pm.
The Corkonian - born to an Irish father and French mother - has won acclaim as a superb vocalist and interpreter of the work of Nick Cave, Jacques Brel, Tom Waits, and Leonard Cohen. On-stage she exudes confidence, sexiness, and swagger, but as she admitted to me in an interview last year, she is often shy, and can be nervous ahead of stepping in front of an audience.
"None of my friends recognise me when I’m on stage," she said, "but it took me many years to get the confidence to go up and sing. It is that ‘fight or flight’ thing. Once you’re in front of the audience, it’s like a fuse is lit, it matters. You have to imagine you are a bigger animal than the audience, you’re a tiger. Many performers feel the same way. A lot of performers are trying to be something bigger than themselves."
Speaking about her approach to choosing songs for her shows, she told me: “The greatest love songs are not ‘over the picket fence’ Doris Day type, but the ones where it didn’t work out. If you only go for the joy, you’re just being safe. You can get a great joy from singing about things that are sad."
Tickets are €28 with limited unreserved seating. For tickets see www.giaf.ie