Clara Tracey has announced that her magnetic debut album Black Forest will be released for the first time on vinyl in June 2023. Described as one of the “finest releases” of the year by RTE Arena, this album is an elevated, intimate glimpse into her magic realist world where women reign, stained glass masterpieces come to life and fantasies are playfully erotic. To celebrate the physical release, Clara will be doing an instore tour of Ireland and the UK including a show in Rough Trade West, in London, on 14th June 2023 with more dates to be announced.
A genre-bending album, with superlative vocal range, Black Forest infuses jazz with French nouveau pop, bringing “a libertarian, feminist and theatrical slant” (The Irish Times) to both her melodies and lyrics. Infused with a sense of sexual liberation that can be attributed to the decade she spent living in Paris in the posthumous company of Colette, Anaïs Nin and Angela Carter, Clara deliberately provokes her nineties Catholic upbringing in Northern Ireland and the sense of repression that for some, is still palpable there. There is an ethereal elegance to her work.
Now residing in Dublin, the Fermanagh-born artist first fell in love with the piano at a young age. Her music career took a detour while she studied Law and French in Belfast and it was only after moving to France and experiencing life in a Parisian law firm, that she submerged herself in a more artistic lifestyle and started performing in jazz cafes around Paris.
In 2015, she moved back to Dublin, continuing her musical evolution, and has since performed at Electric Picnic, Body & Soul, Another Love Story and the leading Dublin venues under various names and guises, playing with Aoife Nessa Frances, Maija Sofia and Paddy Hanna. Clara has also toured internationally, playing solo shows in Montreal, Paris, London and New York.
The spellbinding Black Forest, was produced by Daniel Fox (Gilla Band) and was recorded between lockdowns at Sonic Studios, Stoneybatter and is the culmination of years of experimentation and expansion in her writing. It was released in October 2022 ahead of the vinyl drop in June 2023. Her soundscapes and lyrics draw subtle cues from the erotic heroes and heroines of French chanson and literature, from Gainsbourg and Birkin to Colette and Despentes.
The visual world of the album is made up of direct references to Irish art deco stained glass window painter, Harry Clarke, together with Georgia O’Keefe’s suggestive florals in ‘Strange Flowers‘ and Jane Birkin’s androgynous sixties style. When Salvatore of Lucan offered to paint the album cover, her Harry Clarke lyric and “painted lady” aspirations came true in three sittings. See the stunningly raw piece below:
Recording between lockdowns meant there was no access to high fidelity piano takes so serendipitously, the organs and synths on the album took on more of a 70s/90s Gainsbourg meets Stereolab vibe.
‘Black Forest’ will be released on vinyl via Pizza Pizza Records in June accompanied by an instore tour of Ireland and the UK including a show in Rough Trade West in London, on 14th June with more dates to be announced. soon.
See details of The Rough Trade West show here: Clara Tracey: Stripped Back + Signing Tickets | From Free | 14 Jun @ Rough Trade West, London | DICE
Listen to Clara Tracey here: