The Swell Season

The Irish indie-folk duo The Swell Season formed in Dublin in 2005. The pair consisted of Glen Hansard, a guitarist for the band The Frames, and Markéta Irglová, a Czechoslovakian singer and pianist. Named for a novel by Josef Škvorecký, the duo’s self-titled 2006 debut LP failed to gain much traction. However, filmmaker John Carney cast them as the leads in the 2007 indie musical drama Once, and the film become a worldwide sleeper hit that brought the duo international attention and the Best Original Song Oscar for the movie’s signature balled, the achingly tender “Falling Slowly”. The thinly biographical film allowed them to tour the world for a few years as well as release a second album, 2009’s Strict Joy. The tour and the making of the second album were captured in the 2011 documentary, The Swell Season, but it also captured the duo’s personal and professional dissolution. Although they would never make a third album, they occasionally played live together and recorded a cover of “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” for the unconventional 2007 Bob Dylan biopic I’m Not There. They also spoofed Once in a 2009 episode of The Simpsons. They reunited in South Korea in 2015 for two shows to commemorate a re-release of Once in that country at the time.

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