Grounded, hopeful and steeped in the dexterities of a songwriter deeply connected to her purpose, Leah Flanagan’s music resonates like sweet moments of peace amidst the chaos of a crowded room.
Growing up in the tropics of Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory, Flanagan was raised by a community of cultures bolstering her proud Italian, Aboriginal (Alyawarre) and Irish heritage. She has never been a stranger to narrative. In many ways, the stories have found her: classically trained and navigating the margins between soul, jazz and lovingly crafted pop stylings, Flanagan’s sound is her own. Space is redefined as an instrument in its own right, used with care to bind an offering that’s equal parts fearless and elegant. Echoes of Norah Jones, Corinne Bailey Rae, Joan As Policewoman and Martha Wainwright ring true in Flanagan’s delivery, while the experiences that shape her form the affecting subject of her lyricism.
While her individual accomplishments are many, it’s collaboration that rests in Flanagan’s heartland. Flanagan has delivered a variety of works for major arts festivals including Leonard Bernstein’s Mass for the Adelaide Festival and her own work for stage, Midnight Muses at the Adelaide Cabaret and Sydney Festivals. Her recent collaborative projects include Archie Roach’s 25th Anniversary reissue of Charcoal Lane, Shane Howard’s Exile: Songs and Tales of Irish Australia, the Mission Songs Project, Yothu Yindi Treaty Project, Songs For Those Who’ve Come Across The Seas, The Spirit of Churaki, and Buried Country 1.5: The Story of Aboriginal Country Music (2015). Flanagan’s song Speak Your Language was covered by singer-songwriter, Alice Skye for ABC Music’s Compilation Deadly Hearts #2.
Leah Flanagan is a proud APRA Ambassador and active mentor for young and emerging First Nations Australian songwriters.