Every now and then, an artist comes along with an intrinsic musical style so diverse, that even the most stringent of critics would struggle to pigeonhole. Perhaps it is her intriguing line of Indigenous Australian, Irish and Italian descent, or her distinctive take on folk/country, earning her festival bookings such The Queensland Music Festival, Woodford, St Kilda Festival, Tamworth and the Bluesfest. Whichever way you look at it, Leah Flanagan’s music is certainly making an impression.
A storyteller at heart and a multi-instrumentalist by nature, Flanagan moves between guitar, ukulele and piano, specializing in personal narratives that take flight with dry evocative imagery, vocal swoops and musical pyrotechnics. With a voice so versatile, she can sound like a ‘jazz diva, a folk veteran and a South American tango singer’, Leah Flanagan, believe it or not, did not come from a musical family.
Born and raised in Darwin, she made the move to Adelaide to study Opera at the Adelaide Conservatorium and graduated with a major in classical voice performance, an experience that was crucial in broadening her musical palette. From there she began singing jazz and writing her own material but it wasn’t until she started jamming and collaborating with other artists, that the journey really unfolded. After playing in a number of backstreet bars and clubs around Darwin, Leah decided to rally up a gang of talented musicians and start her own band. Pinned as the ‘Darlings of the Northern Territory’, it didn’t take long for the Leah Flanagan Band to get noticed, as they soon became local celebrities.
In 2006 the band were awarded a recording grant by the Australian Council to release their self titled, debut album, Leah Flanagan Band, ‘an entirely Darwinian creation, though one that fuses Celtic lilt, Italian bombast and Australiana with ukulele and banjo.’ From there, Flanagan went on to become the 2007 Winner of the Northern Territory Music Award for “Best Emerging Artist”, as well as receiving nominations for “Best Artist” and “Best Album”. In 2007 she was personally invited by festival organizer, Peter Noble to perform at the East Coast Blues & Roots Festival after he saw her play live at a jazz and blues bar in Darwin. “It’s not often you get the chance to see someone so talented, so early in their career playing in a back-alley bar in Darwin,” said Noble. “I was flabbergasted when I heard her and immediately offered her a gig at the Blues Festival.”
This was an experience that opened up the doors to a plethora of opportunities, including a recent induction to the Black Arm Band, a national resource hub, celebrating contemporary Australian Indigenous music and working with artists such as Jimmy Barnes and Paul Kelly.
Leah Flanagan is gradually gaining national renown as she continues to impress audiences across the country. Her down-to-earth personality translates effortlessly through her live performances, with a delivery of utter sincerity, humility and a sense of playfulness at the most heart-warming degree.
Leah's side project is with THE MOVING TARGETS (check em out on myspace) where she plays keys, bass and ukulele.
PAST FESTIVALS: Melbourne International Arts Festival Woodford Bluesfest Tamworth Darwin Festival QLD Music Festival St Kilda Festival Dreaming Festival Adelaide Fringe Festival Alice Springs Festival Nymagee Outback Music Festival
Leah Flanagan proudly plays MATON GUITARS!