Emma Langford wraps up her US tour in Milwaukee

Emma Langford wraps up her US tour in Milwaukee

LIMERICK City based Emma Langford closed out her Winter 2024 US tour with an outstanding performance at Milwaukee’s Irish Cultural & Heritage Center. Brooke Billick reports

EMMA LANGFORD has been increasingly capturing the hearts of audiences worldwide with her sumptuous voice and songwriting. Her music offers deep insights into her soul and experiences, yet often also portrays a humor and playfulness reflecting a refusal to take herself too seriously.

Emma Langford fits right in as a consummate Irish weaver of tales. She draws upon numerous inspirations for her music ranging from family, personal struggles, and relationships, to Irish history and culture. She ably represents a newer age and style of Irish singer whose writing and singing in a universalist way broadens her appeal well beyond the scope of Celtic music.

Langford was accompanied by members of Carswell + Hope, including guitarist Nick Carswell and drummer Jason Slote. Also joining Langford were Alec Brown on cello, flute and vocals, and Hannah Nic Gearailt on keys and vocals.

The set list spanned the full range of Langford’s catalog including songs from her first and second albums, 2017’s Quiet Giant and Sowing Acorns from late 2021, to her newer compositions.

Langford performed one of her keynote songs, The Winding Way Down to Kell’s Bay. Celebrating the idyllic setting of Kells Bay in South Kerry, the song was written in loving memory of Langford’s late grand uncle.

The highlights of the show included the cello solos of Alec Brown, including An Súlán, a rather wild song beginning with the sounds of nature leading to a figurative crescendo of waves crashing along a river with a seven-year curse.

Langford closed the first set with her latest, highly acclaimed single, Abigail (Tomhas Ghobnatan), which is the first release from a new suite of work based around the lore and history of Ballyvourney, a village in the Muskerry Gaeltacht of Co. Cork, where she was an artist in residence in 2021.

In the a cappella version of the wistful A Song for My Younger Self, Langford was joined by Hannah Nic Gearailt and Alec Brown.

Emma Langford and band

Langford’s music celebrates the strength of women and the power to overcome adversity, even reflecting on that theme, shown by her song You Are Not Mine. An ode to a “Lying bollix”—a guy she described as “a waste of space—a waste of oxygen”.

Emma Langford’s show concluded with a couple of songs off of Sowing Acorns. Birdsong, one of Langford’s odes to inner strength and resolve, again featured superb accompanying harmonies.

Cellist Alec Brown (image Brooke Billick)

As an encore, Goodbye Hawaii sent the crowd off on a high note, with Langford’s trademark lip trumpeting.

It was quite fitting for Emma Langford to conclude her tour in Milwaukee—a city with a deep appreciation for Irish music and culture. As she relayed early in her set, Milwaukee is also the city where Langford had her first U.S. appearance—at Milwaukee Irish Fest several years ago.

Follow Emma Langford’s musical journey at her website, including upcoming tour dates


Emma and cellist Alec Brown (image Brooke Billick)