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Czech musician Markéta Irglová has spent much of her life becoming a darling of the folk and indie-rock scenes. At 13, she began collaborating with Glen Hansard and his band The Frames. In 2006, she continued her work with Hansard, forming The Swell Season, and in the following year the duo co-starred in the film Once. "Falling Slowly," the airy, melodic duet they composed for the movie, won an Oscar for Best Original Song, making Irglová the youngest artist ever to receive that award. Since 2006, Once has undergone a stage adaptation and is playing live in New York, while Irglová showcases her solo talents on Anar, her first solo album.
Soft and wintry with a melancholic quality, Anar isn't so morose as to be heavy, with Irglová's vocals gliding gently over the piano-centric melodies. It doesn't have the volume or intensity of her collaborations with Hansard: In tracks such as "Go Back" and "Crossroads," Irglová demonstrates her songwriting sensibilities with subtle jazz riffs and quiet urgency.
In this World Cafe interview, Irglová discusses the symbolism she incorporated into Anar, as well as her thoughts on the Broadway production of Once and the idea of another album from The Swell Season.