The Swell Season

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The Swell Season
Hansard and Irglová, in Derry, Northern Ireland, in April 2006
Hansard and Irglová, in Derry, Northern Ireland, in April 2006
Background information
Also known asGlen Hansard & Markéta Irglová
OriginDublin, Ireland
Years active2005–2011, 2015 (one-off) 2022 (reunion tour)
LabelsPlateau, ANTI-, Spunk, Sony
Associated actsThe Frames
Past membersGlen Hansard
Markéta Irglová

The Swell Season is a folk rock duo formed by Irish musician Glen Hansard and Czech singer and pianist Markéta Irglová. "The Swell Season" name is derived from Hansard's favourite novel by Josef Škvorecký from 1975 bearing the same title. Their debut album, released in 2006, carried the same name.

The duo rose to prominence following the success of the 2007 film Once, directed by John Carney, in which the pair starred depicting a dramatised version of their own musical pairing. Their song "Falling Slowly" from the film took the Oscar for Best Song at the 80th Academy Awards. They increasingly referred to themselves as "The Swell Season" in promotion of their performances until it became the formal name of their collaboration in 2008. (They still used their separate names when they contributed their cover of Bob Dylan's "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" to the 2007 soundtrack of I'm Not There.)

From 2007 through 2010, a documentary film was made about Irglova and Hansard called The Swell Season. The documentary premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in June 2011 to positive reviews.[2][3][4]


The self-titled first album came about after Hansard and Irglová were approached by the Czech film director Jan Hřebejk while touring in the Czech Republic, and were asked by him to record songs for his upcoming film Beauty in Trouble. It was the first album that Hansard, the singer for The Frames, had released independent of his band.

The tracks from the debut album "Falling Slowly" and "When Your Mind's Made Up" also appeared on The Frames' album The Cost, and "Falling Slowly", "When Your Mind's Made Up", "Lies" and "Leave" from the album also were on the Once soundtrack.

A follow up album, Strict Joy, was released on 27 October 2009 in the United States.[5] Three singles from the album have been released: "In These Arms", "Low Rising", and "Feeling the Pull".

Spin Magazine's review of Strict Joy gave the album 4 out of 5 stars. "If Glen Hansard's and Markéta Irglová's roles in the hit Irish indie film Once unintentionally wove the tale of their real-life falling in love, their second album as the Swell Season weaves the story of their falling out of it."[6]

In August 2010, The Swell Season covered Neutral Milk Hotel's "Two-Headed Boy" for The A.V. Club.[7]

At a concert of 19 August 2010 at the Mountain Winery, a concert attendee leapt to his death from the roof of the venue onto the stage. The death was deemed a suicide.[8] The band provided and paid for group counselling sessions for concert attendees who witnessed the event.[9]

In a December 2011 interview in the Huffington Post with Irglová, she revealed that the Swell Season would probably release a third album when Hansard finishes with other commitments, but no third album was ever made by the duo.[10]

Hansard and Irglová parodied their roles from Once in The Simpsons 2009 episode, "In the Name of the Grandfather".

On 10 and 11 January 2015, to celebrate re-releasing Once in South Korea, The Swell Season reunited for two-night concert at Sejong Center[11]

In 2019, Hansard said there were currently no plans for the duo to go on tour again.[12]

In 2021, Hansard confirmed to Variety that The Swell Season would be playing six dates in the U.S in 2022.[13]




  • "Falling Slowly" (2007)
  • "When Your Mind's Made Up" (2007)
  • "Falling Slowly" (2008, re-release, No. 61 Billboard Hot 100)
  • "Into the Mystic" (2008, part of "Before the Goldrush", the Teach For America Covers Project)
  • "In These Arms" (2009)
  • "Low Rising" (2009)
  • "Feeling the Pull" (2010)


  1. ^ Outhier, Craig. "The Swell Season's Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova Carry on a Tradition of Music-Making Exes". Phoenix New Times. Archived from the original on 16 July 2017. Retrieved 16 July 2017.
  2. ^ Walsh, Barry (21 June 2011). "Silverdocs' "Swell" opening". Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  3. ^ Gaffney, Frank J. "Communities – Voices and Insights". The Washington Times. Retrieved 5 June 2015.
  4. ^ Holmes, Linda (21 June 2011). "'The Swell Season': How Documentaries Can Tell Stories We Don't Want To Hear". NPR. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  5. ^ The Frames Newsletter Archived 2 August 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "The Swell Season 'Strict Joy' Review". Spin. 27 October 2009.
  7. ^ Padgett, Ray (10 August 2010). "The Swell Season Bring Their Oscar-Winning Hollers to Neutral Milk Hotel". Retrieved 8 March 2015.
  8. ^ Berton, Justin (26 August 2010). "Apparent suicide at Saratoga concert". The San Francisco Chronicle.
  9. ^ Evans, Rob (25 August 2010). "Swell Season urges counseling for fans who witnessed concert death". Retrieved 8 March 2015.
  10. ^ Ragogna, Mike (21 January 2012). "A Pomegranate & Billy Jack: Conversations with Once's Marketa Irglova and honeyhoney". HuffPost. Retrieved 23 December 2011.
  11. ^ "스웰시즌 (The Swell Season) 내한공연". 4 January 2015. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  12. ^ Bernstein, Jonathan (23 May 2019). "Glen Hansard is tired of being an earnest balladeer". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
  13. ^ Bernstein, Johnathan (5 November 2021). "Once duo Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova Plan First Tour Together In 11 Years". Variety.

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