“Emma Langford is a treasure in Ireland’s music scene”
– Louise Bruton, The Irish Times
“mature, assured and eminently listenable … frothing with melodic charm and lyrical intrigue”
– Folk Radio UK
“There was a restless curiosity and a cheeky inventiveness that took this Limerick lass far beyond cliché and into the genuinely exciting”
– The Greystones Guide
“A breath of fresh air”
– Phil Coulter
Storytelling sits at the heart of everything Emma Langford does; interweaving her live performances, and shining through her recorded works. Hers is an inimitable, dreamy voice in the new wave of Irish folk.
Langford was awarded the RTÉ Folk Award for Best Emerging Artist in 2018, and in 2020 and 2021 was shortlisted for Best Folk Singer. She received the Music Network RESONATE residency, and Arts Council Agility Award in ’21 to support her continuing musical exploration of women in Irish history.
Emma has written and independently released two highly acclaimed albums, Quiet Giant (2017) & Sowing Acorns (2020), laying the groundwork for a bright, busy future. As part of an international tour, 2019 saw Langford make her US debut at the world’s largest celebration of Irish music, Milwaukee Irish Fest.
Never one to shy from a challenge, she made the ultimately rewarding choice to release her latest album at the height of a pandemic – Sowing Acorns landed in September 2020, receiving huge international praise.
The artist then quietly climbed up the charts across iTunes and Irish radio with her epic folk ballad Birdsong; collaborated with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra; was selected to perform at the prestigious Ireland Music Week international showcase; and joined the hugely successful Irish Women In Harmony. She was also featured in the leading role of Aedan Cara on musical theatre concept album, ‘Colours’ released online in April 2021.
2022 will see her collaborate on a project surrounding the legendary Gráinne Mhaol, Pirate Queen, with award-winning Irish conductor and composer Eimear Noone; and take part in the Irish Women in Harmony national tour.
“I absolutely love her music, and the way she thinks… She’s someone I hope to work with myself one day… I wish I’d discovered Emma Langford sooner; now I have all this catching up to do!”
– Janis Ian
Want To Know More?
Langford possesses a distinct natural tone and resonance that is truly breath-taking – and a razor-sharp tongue to boot. Her home-grown brazen wit and piercingly insightful lyrics have fused to produce the live on-stage energy for which the young artist has become so well known at home and abroad.
Noted too for a vocal timbre which dances playfully among the nuances of “folk”; Emma Langford’s voice is at once defiant and ethereal; her lyrics insightful, yet loaded with wit and whimsy. Comparisons are often drawn, in style and sound, to artists such as Joni Mitchell, Norah Jones and Janis Ian.
In 2016 she cut a self-titled, crowd-funded EP featuring 6 songs: the first iterations of Closed Book, Goodbye Hawaii, The Seduction of Eve, All You Want, You Are Not Mine and Tug O’ War were recorded and produced in West Cork by Clint Fitzgerald. The card sleeve boasted a stunning pencil-drawn portrait of Langford by acclaimed portrait artist, Finn Harper, and was dotted with whimsical illustrations by Jacob Stack. This introduction to the Limerick artist’s work set the wheels in motion for an upward swing of momentum. In 2017 she began her musical career in earnest.
The Irish Times described her debut album Quiet Giant as ‘music that weaves a spell as you listen to it… An enduring piece of work’. And so it has been, enduring.
Emma’s spell-binding Quiet Giant features stunning full-band arrangements for 10 self-penned songs, and was released to great critical acclaim in late 2017. Following the album’s Irish release, she was invited to launch it internationally with Germany’s Irish Folk Festival tour.
In 2018 the self-made Limerick songwriter booked and completed a promotional tour across Austria, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, the UK and Ireland to launch the record, yet as she posits in her own lyrics:
“Is this all you want? Is this all you need?”
Langford has hit her stride and shows no signs of slowing down, with her album Sowing Acorns receiving huge international praise, and glowing reviews from Irish radio and print media alike.
Her second album has been described by the Irish Times’ Tony Clayton-Lea as
“compelling, charming and totally assertive”
and has seen her deservedly gain a steady flood of new converts.
While her 2017 release Quiet Giant could be described as a coming-of-age record, Sowing Acorns is very much a declaration of who Emma Langford is and intends to be, the woman and the artist.
The songs on this album pivot on an axis of female strength and empowerment, but never shy away from vulnerability; she openly delves into personal encounters with grief, ambition, and broken relationships, flirting with other themes along the way. Regardless of whether a song drifts toward a folk or pop sensibility, the common denominator throughout is Emma’s unmistakable voice, combined with strikingly observational and incisive lyrics.
What’s She Doing Now?
In 2020 pandemic restrictions forced the cancellation of innumerable shows and opportunities in Ireland, Germany, the UK and beyond; disappointed but undeterred, she bounced back. Having bided her time long enough, in 2021 she shared the album live on stage with growing audiences throughout Ireland, Austria and Germany, accompanied by a vibrant host of backing musicians.
While touring ground to a halt in 2020 as a result of the pandemic, the artist quietly climbed her way up the charts across iTunes and Irish radio with her epic folk ballad Birdsong; collaborated with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra; joined the hugely successful Irish Women In Harmony lineup; and flexed her musical theatre skills in the lead role of Aedan Cara, the “last princess of Ireland” on musical-theatre concept album, ‘Colours’, which was released in April.
She spent half of 2021 as an artist in residence at the Ionad Cultúrtha in Ballyvourney, in the Irish-speaking region of Múscraí, County Cork. This was done through the inaugural RESONATE Residency in association with the Arts Council of Ireland and Music Network. Through this residency she began work on a new cross-genre album focusing on fascinating women in Irish history, bringing Ireland’s past into the present through modern interpretations of these stories.
2022 will see her take part in the Irish Women in Harmony national tour; collaborate with award-winning composer and conductor Eimear Noone; continue with her research and composition around Irish women in history with the support of the Arts Council of Ireland Agility Award; and continue to tour songs from Quiet Giant, Sowing Acorns and her new works in progress.
Langford’s light has been shining for a long time, and the world is taking notice.
Images: 1. Emma Langford poses in lamplight in the reading nook at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig; Credit: Conor Kerr 2. Emma Langford on stage at Limerick Summer Music 2019; Credit: Zyanya Lorenzo