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Sive lifts curtain with intriguing calling card

sive We Are Moving (Sivemusic)

I met playwright John B Keane once. And he was as impressive as his reputation for insightful critiques of the Irish condition.

One of his earliest masterworks was Sive, a play about a young woman destroyed by the callousness and greed of those around her. Sive, the musician, didn't adopt her stage moniker by accident. From Kildare, Sive is Sadhbh O'Sullivan, a songwriter who is poised on the cusp of something potentially great.

She'd been through the excellent contemporary music course in Ballyfermot College, but getting something together from scratch on Civvy Street is a whole different caboodle.

I'm told it was while playing with musicians in Holland that Sive found a key to how her songs should be presented.

While it mightn't have been as intense as Noel Gallagher's stint as a roadie with Inspiral Carpets or the young Beatles sojourn in Hamburg, her months of jamming by the grachtengordel paid off.

Back in Dublin, she roped in three mates and got to work on a bunch of songs. A bunch of gigs later, many of them with name acts such as Gemma Hayes and Kila, they drop this 11-track album. And an intriguing calling card it is too.


Sadhbh is no slouch. Guitar, piano, glockenspiel, percussion and melodica are just some of the instruments she plays. But perhaps her standout instrument is her voice, which sweeps along displaying folk and jazz nuances with the confidence of one who knows.

Her fellow musicians are equally sophisticated, enhancing tracks with arpeggios, paradiddles and filigrees that sound as if they come via Greenwich Village (Burning Slowly), German Cabaret (Bicycle Song) or the English folk revival (Catching Waves).

If musicologist Joe Boyd hears the delicate, word-perfect acoustic Hide and Seek ("We'll stay in bed, draw the curtains 'til the light begins to fade..."), he'll want to revive his famous Witchseason label.

The title track punches like The December-ists. Web, double-tracked vocals and delicate tenor mandolin sounds, is as delicious as the finest Laura Veirs or Laura Marling.

All good, so far. HHHII