Those seeking some respite from the pester power and excess of the Christmas season should spend an evening in the company of Irish singer songwriter Jack Lukeman,when he performs his unique show ‘Northern Lights – Songs for the Winter Solstice’ at dates across the UK this winter.
A singer-songwriter, performer, raconteur and a whole lot more besides, Jack Lukeman is a platinum-selling, critically acclaimed artist in his homeland, who in recent years has devoted more of his time to winning a growing fanbase in the UK and abroad. In this regard, he has toured the UK as Special Guest on tours by artists as varied as Imelda May, Jools Holland, The Proclaimers and Neil Sedaka.
Described by Edinburgh Spotlight Magazine as “the most magnificent and enigmatic of performers”, Jack Lukeman’s nine-date tour begins on 3rd December and ends on 15th December, including London shows at St Pancras Old Church on 12th and 13th December.
Incorporating the theatrical and romantic sensibilities of the likes of Jacques Brel,but with genuine melodic appeal and a knack for creating his own ‘magic realist’ world that is peopled by all manner of unusual, picaresque characters, Lukeman is a rare, unusual brand of performer.
During his Northern Lights – Songs for the Winter Solstice show, Lukeman seeks to fan the flame of Christmases past with a performance that blends songs (some his own, some his own takes on songs including Jacob Marley’s Chain (Aimee Mann), Do You Realise (Flaming Lips), the more traditional In The Bleak Midwinter, and his take on Northern Sky, the soulful, ruminative Nick Drake opus), poetry, and his own storytelling gifts, which celebrates the spirit of the season with humour, charm and not a little magic. It’s a show that imaginatively moves through moods and tone, with Lukeman as the navigator.
Lukeman explains how Northern Lights came about: “I played a gig at the Unitarian Church in Dublin one December and, as I often do, recorded the performance. I feel that, if you don’t get the songs down, sometimes they run away from you. I got around to listening back to it in August — which is strange and yet very familiar, if you are a musician. They say that, in this business, you are always awake when everyone else is asleep.”
“First and foremost I see myself as a singer, and then as a writer. So I never tire of doing live shows,” says Lukeman. “And this current show is a way of doing winter songs likeNick Drake’s Northern Sky. I also love singing those old Nat King Cole Christmas songs too.
“I guess I’m just interested in that notion that we evolved by being able to share stories and ideas. And the great thing about music is that it doesn’t need to have a strict narrative. But by the same token it can really affect people too. You can get as scientific and psychological as you like about music, but it’s still a very odd thing.”
“I believe that songs are the one bit of magic left in the world to ignite the imagination. I’m really interested in folk songs that come from an older time. And I’ve always been fascinated by that lineage between mythology and history.”
The tour’s accompanying album ‘Northern Lights’ can be downloaded via Lukeman’s website or purchased in physical form at the gigs. This, it is safe to say, is not your everyday Christmas collection. Certainly, it is a million years removed from the streamers and tinsel and over-familiarity of Shakin’ Stevens and Slade, et al.
Jack Lukeman’s Northern Lights – Songs for the Winter Solstice tour dates are as follows: