Photos by Joanna Chattman
“I’m really happy to be home,” says Aoife O’Donovan after she arrives at a coffee shop in South Slope, Brooklyn, just a short walk from where she lives. It’s late afternoon on a Friday in mid-December, and once she gets through a few more interviews, O’Donovan will finally get to enjoy a couple weeks of rest.
2015 has been a busy year, to say the least, for the 33-year-old singer-songwriter; she performed in 26 states, formed Americana supergroup I’m With Her with Sara Watkins and Sarah Jarosz, finished recording her solo album, played in eight countries (including Japan) on three continents, co-wrote and performed a 12-minute piece of orchestral music set to poetry and toured the US with Glen Hansard. In the new year, O’Donovan will fly to Ireland and begin another cycle of non-stop touring, but for now, she’s home.
Despite her hectic schedule, O’Donovan somehow still finds ample time for the type of recreational musical engagements for which one imagines a professional musician eventually becomes too busy. Later this evening, she’s hosting a small show at her house. Last night, she went to see the Sweetback Sisters, a local country band from Brooklyn, perform their annual Christmas show. Tomorrow afternoon, she’s going to see a chamber music concert at Town Hall. After that, she’s thinking about attending a modern dance interpretation of The Nutcracker later in the evening.
“It sounds so cheesy,” says O’Donovan, “but I love playing music so much.”