Sea Sew

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Sea Sew
Lisa Hannigan's Sea Sew album cover.jpg
Studio album by Lisa Hannigan
Released Republic of Ireland 12 September 2008
United States 3 February 2009
United Kingdom 4 May 2009
Recorded 3–16 March 2008[1]
Genre Folk, indie
Label Hoop (Ireland) / Barp/ATO Records (US)[2]
Lisa Hannigan chronology
Sea Sew
Singles from Sea Sew
  1. "Lille"
    Released: 25 August 2008
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating 3/5 stars[3]
Slant Magazine 4/5 stars[4]
RTÉ Entertainment 4/5 stars[5]
AW Music (mixed)[6]
Entertainment Weekly (B+)[7]
The Daily Telegraph (positive)[8]

Sea Sew is the Mercury and Choice Music Prize-nominated[9][10][11] solo debut album released by Lisa Hannigan. It was released in Ireland on 12 September 2008, with the lead single, "Lille", made available as a free download on on 25 August.[12]

Sea Sew was a critical success, earning rave reviews and being named by some music critics amongst the best Irish albums of the year.[13][14] It garnered airtime on American radio station KCRW and earned early praise from press across the US, including the western Los Angeles Times, which called it "charmingly idiosyncratic" and the eastern publication, The New York Times, which described it as "exquisitely ethereal".[15][16]

Lead single "Lille", released on 25 August 2008, became an airplay hit on Irish and American radio stations.[17] Her song "I Don't Know" was also featured as free single of the week by iTunes UK in 2009.[18] The admiration of Jason Mraz led to Hannigan supporting the Grammy-nominated Californian singer-songwriter on a 42-date US tour in late 2008[19] Hannigan signed with ATO Records in the US, where the album was released on 3 February 2009.[20]

Sea Sew was released in the United Kingdom in May 2009, where The Daily Telegraph described it as "wonderfully creaky and raw", a record of "welcoming intimacy and ear-pleasing consistency".[21]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Lisa Hannigan except for track 7 by Bert Jansch[22]

No. Title Length
1. "Ocean and a Rock"   4:21
2. "Venn Diagram"   4:20
3. "Sea Song"   3:23
4. "Splishy Splashy"   3:16
5. "I Don't Know"   4:56
6. "Keep It All"   4:11
7. "Courting Blues"   4:06
8. "Pistachio"   3:25
9. "Teeth"   4:08
10. "Lille"   4:06

Recording and production[edit]

The album was recorded in a cold barn in the Irish countryside and produced in the studio of one of Hannigan's friends over the course of a fortnight. Jason Boshoff produced, recorded and mixed the whole album.[21]

Prior to its release in Ireland, Hannigan previewed tracks "Lille", "Pistachio", "Some Surprise" and "Sea Song" on her MySpace page.[23] The album also features musical personnel such as Donagh Molloy, Tom Osander, Shane Fitzsimons, Lucy Wilkins, Vyvienne Long and Gavin Glass,[24] whilst Cathy Davey provides backing vocals on some of the songs.[24]


Hannigan knitted the needle-work featured on the sleeve herself along with her mother, Frances.[21][24][25] US television host Stephen Colbert quizzed Hannigan on this when she appeared on his show The Colbert Report, asking if she had sewn the instruments as well[26] – Hannigan is reported to be sewing Colbert a note of thanks for asking her to perform on his show.[16]


Hannigan chose to call the album Sea Sew because of the amount of references to the sea in the lyrics.[25]

Chart performance[edit]

Sea Sew entered the UK Albums Chart at number 58 after an appearance on Later... with Jools Holland in May 2009.[27]

Chart (2008) Peak
Irish Albums Chart 3 Platinum[28]
UK Albums Chart 58[29]
U.S. Billboard 200 Album Chart 135
U.S. Billboard Heatseekers Chart 3


Sea Sew was nominated for both the Choice Music Prize[30][31] and Best Irish Album at the Meteor Music Awards[32][33] in January 2009, with Hannigan's artistic prowess leading to her recently obtaining tax-free status from the Office of the Revenue Commissioners in Ireland.[34]

Choice Music Prize[edit]

Sea Sew was nominated for the Choice Music Prize in 2009. It lost to Jape's third studio album, Ritual.[35][36][37][38][39][40][41]

Year Recipient/Nominated work Award Result
2009 Sea Sew Irish Album of the Year 2008 Nominated

Meteor Music Awards[edit]

Sea Sew led to Hannigan receiving two nominations in the Best Irish Female and Best Irish Album categories at the Meteor Music Awards in 2009.

Year Recipient/Nominated work Award Result
2009 Sea Sew Best Irish Album Nominated
2009 Lisa Hannigan Best Irish Female Nominated


  1. ^ Sea Sew at AllMusic
  2. ^ "Discography - Lisa Hannigan". Billboard. Accessed 4 February 2009.
  3. ^ review
  4. ^ Slant Magazine review
  5. ^ RTÉ Entertainment review
  6. ^ AW Music review
  7. ^ Entertainment Weekly review
  8. ^ The Daily Telegraph review
  9. ^ "Choice Music Prize Shortlist". Hot Press. 2009-01-14. Retrieved 2009-01-16. 
  10. ^ "Choice Music Prize - Shortlist Announced". IMRO. 2009-01-15. Retrieved 2009-01-16. [dead link]
  11. ^ "Choice Music nominees announced". RTÉ. 2009-01-15. Retrieved 2009-01-16. 
  12. ^ "Lisa Hannigan heads out on US tour, confirms album date". Hot Press. 2008-08-01. Retrieved 2009-02-02. 
  13. ^ "He came, he busked, he conquered... How Hansard wooed Hollywood". Irish Independent. 2008-12-27. Retrieved 2009-01-23. 
  14. ^ "2008 This year in music". Irish Independent. 2008-12-19. Retrieved 2009-01-23. 
  15. ^ "Loaded: 21/11/08". Irish Independent. 2008-11-21. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  16. ^ a b "Hannigan shenanigans". The Irish Times. 2009-05-02. Retrieved 2009-05-06. 
  17. ^ "Lisa musters the chutzpah to go solo in spotlight". Irish Independent. 2008-12-15. Retrieved 2009-01-23. 
  18. ^ "Latest Lisa News". "Bebo". 2009. Retrieved 2011-03-05. 
  19. ^ "Music: Jason Mraz * *". Irish Independent. 2009-01-09. Retrieved 2009-01-23. 
  20. ^ "We just wanted to let you know that the US release date has been postponed until February 3rd". Official site of Lisa Hannigan. 2009-01-29. Retrieved 2009-02-02. 
  21. ^ a b c Magee, Matthew (2009-05-08). "Lisa Hannigan interview for her album 'See Sew'". London: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2009-05-15. 
  22. ^ "Lisa Hannigan - Sea Sew (CD, Album) at Discogs". 2009-02-03. Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  23. ^ "WORLD EXCLUSIVE: Lisa Hannigan Irish tour of small towns announced". Hot Press. 2008-04-30. Retrieved 2009-02-02. 
  24. ^ a b c "Lisa Hannigan confirms album track-list". Hot Press. 2008-08-09. Retrieved 2008-08-11. 
  25. ^ a b "Lisa Hannigan's DEBUT Album 'Sea Sew' Shortlisted For Barclaycard Mercury Prize". Top40-Charts. 2009-07-22. Retrieved 2009-07-26. 
  26. ^ "Lisa Hannigan". 2009-03-09. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  27. ^ "Lisa Hannigan moves up the UK charts". Hot Press. 2009-05-20. Retrieved 2009-05-22. 
  28. ^ Irish Certification
  29. ^ UK charting
  30. ^ "The Choicest cuts ...or are they?". Sunday Tribune. 2009-01-18. Retrieved 2009-01-23. 
  31. ^ "Loaded: 16 January 2009". Irish Independent. 2009-01-16. Retrieved 2009-01-23. 
  32. ^ "Meteor Awards 2009 - Presenter & Nominees Revealed". Hot Press. 2009-01-28. Retrieved 2009-01-28. 
  33. ^ "Meteor Music Awards nominees revealed". RTÉ. 2009-01-29. Retrieved 2009-01-30. 
  34. ^ "Tax break gives Cecelia more cash to play with". Irish Independent. 2009-01-11. Retrieved 2009-01-23. 
  35. ^ "Jape the surprise choice as Ritual takes the plaudits". The Irish Times. 2009-03-05. Retrieved 2009-03-05. 
  36. ^ "Dublin musician Jape wins Choice Music Prize". Irish Examiner. 2009-03-05. Retrieved 2009-03-05. 
  37. ^ "Jape album wins Choice Music Prize". RTÉ. 2009-03-05. Retrieved 2009-03-05. 
  38. ^ "Dublin musician Jape wins Choice Music Prize". Irish Independent. 2009-03-05. Retrieved 2009-03-05. 
  39. ^ "Jolly Jape admits he's surprised to scoop Choice gong". Irish Independent. 2009-03-05. Retrieved 2009-03-05. 
  40. ^ "Dublin band Jape wins overall prize at Choice Music awards". The Irish Times. 2009-03-05. Retrieved 2009-03-05. 
  41. ^ "UPDATED: Jape wins 2009 Choice Music Price". Hot Press. 2009-03-05. Retrieved 2009-03-05. 

External links[edit]