We meet a singer-songwriter who’s going it alone after making her mark playing hurdy-gurdy in Switzerland’s leading folk-metal band, Eluveitie
Name: Anna Murphy
Location: Lucerne, Switzerland
Style: She says “eclectica”. We say, imagine Bjork meets Evanescence.
Look out for: Her debut solo album Cellar Darling, which has just been released on Booya Music.
Cellar Darling is Anna Murphy’s first solo album, but she’s already released five albums as the hurdy-gurdy player in Swiss folk-metal band Eluveitie, and two as a member of prog outfit Nucleus Torn. Oh, and two as a member of traditional Swiss folk band Fräkmündt. Plus, there’s an album on the way from Eluveitie spin-off godnr. universe! and another from Lethe Project, a duo consisting of Anna and Tor-Helge Skei, of Norwegian black metal/electronica experimentalists Manes.
Which begs the question… why do a solo album now at all, with so much else going on? “Because in the past couple of years, I’ve been writing a lot of my own music and I never really knew what to do with it,” says Anna. “It didn’t really fit into any of my bands, and yet I always had ideas popping up, and then I decided at one point to collect them and just release them under my own name.”
It’s certainly true that neither folk nor metal influences are particularly apparent on Cellar Darling. Instead, think heavily electronic rock/pop with a slight gothic twist. She calls it “eclectica”, saying: “I wouldn’t know how to describe it except that I don’t give myself any boundaries or limits. I don’t say I’m going to write acoustic songs or electronic songs or trip-hop songs or rock songs, I just do whatever I want.”
For her solo work, Anna writes all the music and lyrics, but then works with other musicians when it’s time to record. “I play everything I feel I can play well enough,” she says, “but for a lot of it, I’ll write the parts in MIDI and then have a professional guitarist or pianist or whatever play them. A lot of different people helped out on this album!”
The disparate influences are all tied together by Anna’s mellifluous, full-lunged vocals, which verge at times on the operatic. But then both her parents are opera singers… “It’s funny because they were keen for me to do music when I was young and I kind of rebelled against it,” says Anna. “I was like, I don’t want to learn piano… I want to study history and philosophy! But then I ended up leaving school to join a band so I guess it was always there.” Now, she says, her parents are “very proud… they do think Eluveitie are kind of noisy, but they’re very proud!”