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Folk // Carrickmacross & Charleville, Monaghan

Hibsen are a contemporary folk music ensemble formed by Irish artists Jim Murphy and Gráinne Hunt. They released their debut album 'The Stern Task of Living' on 26th May 2023. The album was inspired by the book of short stories 'Dubliners' by James Joyce and it comprises 15 songs, one for each short story in 'Dubliners'. It was launched at Bloomsday Festival 2023 and it has received critical acclaim (see below).

Two of the songs from the album ('Eveline' and 'Two Gallants') were selected by RTE Radio 1 for their weekly playlists, one of which reached number 2 on the RTE Radio 1 Airplay Chart ('Eveline'). 'The Stern Task of Living' was also Aedín Gormley's featured album on RTE Lyric FM on 16th June 2023 (Bloomsday) and was chosen by Eve Blair of BBC Radio Ulster as album of the week at the end of May 2023.

'The Stern Task of Living' was produced by Alex Borwick at Black Mountain Studios and features the following musicians who accompany Gráinne (Vocals) and Jim (Guitar) on the album:

Shay Sweeney: Drums & Percussion
Laura Ryder: Piano
Alex Borwick: Bass & Mandolin
Lynda O'Connor: First Violin & Fiddle
Paul O'Hanlon: Second Violin
Beth McNinch: Viola
Gerald Peregrine: Cello
Alan Doherty: Tin Whistle

Gráinne Hunt is a contemporary nu-folk singer/ songwriter with a rich background in performance and songwriting. She has released two solo records (Firing Pin and This Secret) along with Irish folk and ballad album Songs from Ireland with award winning guitarist Brendan Walsh. Gráinne has sung with Glen Hansard and U2, has opened for Gladys Knight and Eagle Eye Cherry and has been compared to Tracy Chapman and Natalie Merchant.

“A natural performer, Gráinne Hunt commands an astounding voice that will melt your heart. No crowd can resist”, Declan O’Rourke

Jim Murphy is an Irish songwriter and musician. He fronts the Irish indie folk band Blue Fish Diamond. They have released two albums to date - From Dark to Light (2018) and Frozen Stars on the Night (2021), with all songs written by Jim. Blue Fish Diamond’s music has been played on radio stations across Ireland including on national radio and has also caught the attention of radio presenters in various European countries, the United States and Australia.

1. Hibsen album reviews
“The arrangements are thoughtful and, occasionally, lush and the lyrics come from the pen of people who have spent a lot of time in Joyce’s world.”
The Irish Independent (John Meagher)

“One might almost sense the spirit of Joyce himself strolling through these tracks. Better still, you don’t have to know the stories to savour this as a musical experience in its own right.”
Hot Press Magazine (Jackie Hayden)

“Hibsen is a wonderful concept and delivered with impressive scale. It is an album that will endure and grow in status as time unfolds and, all things considered should become something of an inspiration for future generations.”
Lonesome Highway Magazine (Paul McGee)

2. Hibsen radio quotes
“This is a new one from Irish group Hibsen, folk band I suppose. The Stern Task of Living is a wonderful collection of songs, really they’re fabulous … there’s some great songs on the album, all inspired by short stories from Dubliners by James Joyce.”
John Creedon (RTE Radio 1)

“It’s just a wonderful album, inspired by the book of short stories Dubliners by James Joyce.”
Eve Blair (BBC Radio Ulster)

“Tá sé go hálainn ar fad”
Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh (RTE Radio 1)

"A beautiful new release from a brand new band called Hibsen…. What a great, great idea for an album’"
Fiachna O’Braonáin (RTE Radio 1)

“Gráinne and Jim certainly collaborate very successfully together as Hibsen”
Aedín Gormley (RTE Lyric FM)

“A lovely lovely idea”
Lynette Fay (BBC Radio Ulster)

“I like that very much!”
Lilian Smith (RTE Radio 1)

"I love that track I have to say"
Ralph McClean (BBC Radio Ulster)

Profile photo credit: Yellow Lens Photography