Marketa Irglova is gearing up for the release of her second solo album—Muna—on September 23 via Anti-. Marketa and Glen Hansard, who together are The Swell Season, both starred and performed their music in the treasured film Once, for which they won an Academy Award for the song “Falling Slowly.” The film, and their music, have since been translated to Once the Musical where it went on to win 8 Tony Awards and is currently still running both on Broadway and touring the world.
For Muna, Marketa wrote an ethereal 11 songs over the course of a year and recorded it in Iceland (where Marketa now resides with her new baby girl) within six months with producer/engineer Sturla Mio Thorisson at the helm.
“I had been to Iceland for the first time with the Swell Season,” Marketa says. “I fell in love with it then and was sad to leave, although I knew someday something would bring me back. I am inspired by the open space, the wilderness of the nature, the strong energy coming from the land. There is a harmony, a balance, something that allows for a freer flow of creativity. It is easier to be one with oneself and one with everything and everyone around. This makes for better art, in my opinion.” Muna (“remember” in Icelandic, is a recurring theme throughout the breath of the album).
Muna features 27 musicians, utilizing full choral, string and percussion pieces, plus guests Rob Bochnik (The Frames), Iranian daf player and vocalist Aida Shahghasemi, as well as Marketa’s sister Zuzi on backing vocals. Inspiration for the album partially came from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar and a trilogy of books written by Neale Donald Walsh titled Conversations With God. Marketa recalls, “I believe God speaks through us in many ways, beginning with simple acts of kindness and ending with pieces of art that inspire millions for generations. All that matters is to try and get in touch with that part of ourselves and trust that which comes forth. I tried to that with this record.”