Lisa Margaret Hannigan (born 12 February 1981) is an Irish folk rock singer-songwriter, best known for her use of antique (and often broken) instruments such as the pump organ, her work with Damien Rice, Aaron Dessner, and Gary Lightbody, her (progressively Darker and Edgier) albums Sea Sew (2008), Passenger (2011), At Swim (2016), and Live in Dublin (2019), and her contributions as the voice actress of Bronagh in Song of the Sea and Blue Diamond in Steven Universe. She has also contributed vocalizations to the soundtrack of Gravity, along with covers of traditional Irish folk songs and works by David Bowie and Stephen Sondheim to Fargo, The Hole in the Ground, Legion (2017), and a notable clown-themed Mercedes-Benz commercial.
She grew up in suburban Dublin, her primary vocal inspirations being Nina Simone, Joni Mitchell, Dolly Parton, Nick Drake, Björk, Juliana Hatfield, and Michael Jackson, among others. She dropped out after studying English and French literature, classical singing and art history at Trinity College Dublin, upon meeting Rice in 2001. She was integral to the recording of a series of critically acclaimed hits by Rice, but he fired her before a European tour concert in 2007. She currently resides in Dublin as of 2020, and does a podcast called "Soundings" with Irish broadcaster and activist Dylan Haskins.
Tropes in her works include:
- Covered in Gunge: The One-Take Wonder music video for "Knots" from Passenger features her in a white dress playing a white ukulele, until she progressively gets paint of various colours and glitter unceremoniously sprayed at, shot at or dumped on her, to the point where she sings the third minute completely blinded.
- She was also covered in liquid chocolate◊ as part of a mid-2000s Oxfam campaign to pressure the international community to stop agricultural dumping of trade surpluses, which featured musicians (including Bono, Thom Yorke, and Jamelia) and actors (including Minnie Driver, Colin Firth, and Antonio Banderas) also getting gunged with various products infamous for their connections to unfair trade practices.
- Death Song / Grief Song: "Prayer for the Dying" from At Swim was written about the death of a friends mother.
- Listing Cities / Wanderlust Song: "Passenger".
- Lyrical Dissonance: "What'll I Do" from Passenger is an upbeat song buoyed by stomping beats and plucked violins, yet its lyrics tell of either a despairing post-breakup introspection or a reaction to a sudden death in the family.
- Melismatic Vocals / Perishing Alt-Rock Voice: Reaches these on occasion.
- The Oner: In addition to "Knots", she lip-syncs at 4.5x speed while submerged in her mother's bathtub for the music video for "Little Bird".
- One-Woman Wail: Especially noticeable in the background on "Ora" and "Swan".