Lucia Comnes

Lucia Comnes

 San Francisco, California, USA
SoloFolkSinger/Songwriter

Lucia Comnes is an American singer, songwriter, fiddler and guitarist with a 'singular voice' (SF Chronicle) and ‘a powerful imagination’ (C. Poling) whose atmospheric roots music crosses genres of Americana, folk, Celtic, bluegrass & alternative.

Biography

Award-winning songwriter, Lucia Comnes, celebrates the diversity of musical cultures from around the world through her singing, songwriting, fiddling, and guitar playing. She’s known for her contemporary interpretations of Irish, Balkan, and American folk music, and for her original songs, which reflect her many influences. Her song 'No Hiding Place' was recently awarded First Place in the Americana genre and Grand Prize for Best Song Overall by the Dallas Songwriters Association at their Annual Song Contest.  

Her ability to seamlessly blend different styles results in music that draws from the past but is refreshingly contemporary. Lucia’s fiddling is a powerful and emotional expression of her musical vision – a vision that demonstrates that she isn’t afraid to take chances. Her voice, crystal clear but with a hint of mystery, was described by the San Francisco Chronicle as “singular… embedded with soul and spirit.”

Perhaps her most valuable talent is her powerful imagination. An imagination that breathes vivid imagery into the lyrics of her songs and infuses her fiddling with the spirit of the ancient tones, be they from Kilkenny, Kentucky, or Kosovo.

Lucia has recorded three full-length albums, and a fourth is slated for release in early 2015. Love, Hope & Tyranny was recorded at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley and produced with Gawain Mathews and Jeffrey Wood (Luka Bloom, Penelope Houston).  It features 11 of Lucia’s original songs and an impressive list of contributors including background vocals from the delightful T Sisters.

She also finds time to front Lucia and Her Rockin’ Irish Band, delivering new takes on the Irish sound, with hair-raising vocal harmonies, soul-shaking harmonica solos, fierce melodies on the fiddle and songs in Irish Gaelic. Driven by a powerhouse rhythm section of drums and bass, jigs and reels have never been so danceable.

As a solo performer Lucia recently accompanied Joan Baez in concert, was selected to perform ‘America The Beautiful’ on solo violin at the Oakland Coliseum to open the Raiders/Steelers Football game, opened for Paul Brady (an Irish legend whose songs are hits for Bonnie Raitt, Tina Turner & Cher), collaborates with Irish artist, Liam Ó Maonlaí (Hothouse Flowers) and modern dance pioneer, Anna Halprin.

Born in San Francisco, Lucia Comnes started her professional career in 2002 as a vocalist with Kitka – the Oakland-based women’s a cappella vocal ensemble specializing in Balkan/Eastern European folk music. At the same time, she began delving deep into Irish music and studied with many fiddle masters (Martin Hayes, Kevin Burke, Oisín MacDiarmada) in the U.S. and Ireland. She also attended the Traditional Irish Music Program at University College, Cork, to study spoken Gaelic and sean-nos, or “old-style,” singing.

Lucia attended UC Berkeley and graduated from Long Island University’s Global Studies program in 2006 with a self-designed interdisciplinary degree called Music, Culture and Nature, following her research in Ireland, Greece, Turkey, and Bulgaria. An avid traveler throughout her life, Lucia has studied, visited, and performed in more than 20 countries, including remote parts of Siberia.

Along with her passion for music, Lucia has made lifelong commitment to meeting the environmental challenges of our time. In her compositions, Lucia strives to bring people back in connection with nature and with their own roots.

- Artist Biography written by Chuck Poling, California Bluegrass Association, 2014



Lyrics

How The Moon Made Me

Written By: Lucia Comnes

Like a star invisible by day
I hang in hiding very small
And though the constellations are many
I am alone and I have fought for this autonomy

Let me spread my wings they will carry me
As midnight strikes against the sea
I'll escape from rules of gravity
How the moon made me

From this place I cannot rise nor fall
Below the deep ocean calls
Dare I cut the ropes that pull and keep me
From returning into the mystery

Let me spread my wings they will carry me
As midnight strikes against the sea
I'll escape from rules of gravity
How the moon made me

Beyond the jagged coast
Two bodies collide
Father let me go
Lasso the tides

With a face of silver cupped by black
A lantern of memory in tact
Centuries of sailors tracked her satellite
In orbit glowing through the night

Let me spread my wings they will carry me
As midnight strikes against the sea
I'll escape from rules of gravity
How the moon made me
How the moon made me

Lie With You Tonight

Written By: Lucia Comnes

My door is broken, only the walls
Give me shelter, at least they are tall

The roof is cracked, and cold blows through
Then Orion, drifts into view

Come in closer, there's more than meets the eye
I want to lie with you tonight

My body's built, of stained glass
Light a candle, you'll see my past

In the shadow, your hands are maps
Steal me gently, let me be the last

Come in closer, there's more than meets the eye
I want to lie with you tonight

Call me a fool
I don't care
Feeling this way for you
I'm falling it's true

Love's a flame, so say the wise
Is that how you, you shine from inside

Come in closer, there's more than meets the eye
I want to lie with you tonight

Through The Dark

Written By: Lucia Comnes

At the crossroads, I stand
Amidst bloodshed, in a foreign land
I am marching, to nowhere
The scent of smoke, fills the air

chorus:
This time is not to hurry
Slowly depart
Take only what you can carry
You'll be guided through the dark

The road splits and, I cannot hide
One way leads, across the great divide
Fallen heros, haunt this place
Frozen tears fall from my face

chorus

Its been long, we've come far
Remember who you are

In the silence, ballast attained
I'm suspended, between the reins
Who will answer, for what went wrong
The forest is burning, but we carry on

chorus
You'll be guided through the dark

End of the Line

Written By: Lucia Comnes

Darkness on the horizon, you're lucky if you see at all
This is the last station, ain't no one to catch you when you fall

Those who came before you, only shadows remain
Voices echo off the platform, they will call you by your name

chorus:
In the final hour
No changing the time
Who will cross you over?
This is the end of the line

At the bridge awaits your maker, the toll to cross is high
Your record's on the table, make your sacrifice

Around the bend we'll settle, no guarantees
You've played all your best cards, better get down on your knees

chorus

Darkness on the horizon, you're lucky if you see at all
This is the last station, ain't no one to catch you when you fall

The tracks are lined with roses, blackened by the night
Surrender your armor, and face into the light

chorus x2

Potpourri

Written By: Lucia Comnes

She came from flowers or so its told
He was born in shadows turning to gold

Our point of origin is in a dream
Two stories move through miles filling a stream

Where sunlight lingers on
Where sunlight lingers on

You are the water I am a stone
Run me over, route unknown

Dry my petals into potpourri
The sweetest fragrance you know I’ll always be

Where sunlight lingers
Where sunlight lingers
On and on, just beyond your reach

Water

Written By: Lucia Comnes

Dew
Left by the night
Vanishes
Dawn breaks to day

Sweat
On your brow
Under the sun
Only salt remains

chorus
// Wa-a-te-er // // A yia yia yia yia yia //

Tear falls
From one who cannot cry
No way to buy
Rain from the sky

A spring
From deep within
That which fills our wells
Who can own, who can sell?

chorus

Private are the rights
To land, to oil
Who is next
To fall?

chorus

Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone

Written By: Lucia Comnes,Gawain Mathews, Gawain Mathews

Meet me by the moonlight when the evening sun goes down
Near the old dirt road on the outskirts of town
I got something to tell you and I think you’d want to hear
Let me look upon you let me hold you near

Will you miss me when I’m gone
When the days are growin’ long
These lips will never press upon your brow
We may never meet again, but I’ll be with you at the end
Will you love me then as you do now?

A drifter stole my money and I had to let him down
Somehow I escaped without makin’ a sound
You know they’ll be lookin’, they’ll be chasin’ on my tail
They’ll wanna track me down and lock me up in jail

Will you miss me when I’m gone
When the days are growin’ long
These lips will never press upon your brow
We may never meet again, but I’ll be with you at the end
Will you love me then as you do now?

The night is gettin’ shorter and its time for movin’ on
Gotta catch an eastbound train before the break of dawn
When they come around I trust you’ll keep my story safe
Hold me one last time, my love, and send me on my way

Will you miss me when I’m gone
When the days are growin’ long
These lips will never press upon your brow
We may never meet again, but I’ll be with you at the end
Will you love me then as you do now?

I’ll you miss you when you’re gone
When the days are growin’ long
Your lips will never press upon my brow
We may never meet again, you’ll be with me at the end
And l will love you then as I do now

No Hiding Place

Written By: Lucia Comnes,Gawain Mathews

// She will set your fields on fire, She will burn your valleys clear
Oh make me a little sparrow, There’s no hiding place down here // x2

Who's that knocking at my window, Knocks so loud and won't come in
It is your own true-hearted lover, Rise you up and let him in
Go away don't wake my mother, Love's a thing she can't endure
She's been the ruin of many a lover, She'll be the ruin of many more

// She will set your fields on fire, She will burn your valleys clear
Oh make me a little sparrow, There’s no hiding place down here // x2

I'm gonna whisper in your ear, love, Do you think it any harm
I'm gonna win you of your mother, Trust yourself in your darling's arms
Go away don't wake my father, He is on his bed of rest
And on his breast is a weapon, To kill the one that I love best

// He will set your fields on fire, He will burn your valleys clear
Oh make me a little sparrow, There’s no hiding place down here // x2

With the wings of a sparrow - There’s no hiding place down here
I’d fly so far away - There’s no hiding place down here
I didn’t kill no one - There’s no hiding place down here
No I didn’t kiss and tell - There’s no hiding place down here

Who's that knocking at my window, Knocks so loud and won't come in
It is your own true-hearted lover, Rise you up, and let him in

// He will set your fields on fire, He will burn your valleys clear
Oh make me a little sparrow, There’s no hiding place down here // x2

Burning Eden

Written By: Lucia Comnes

My mother has a fever, it's more than she can bear
If love alone could cool her, she'd recover in my care

The clay that sculpts her body, we bake her valleys dry
And mine her hidden treasures, to build castles in the sky

We are burning eden, and the waters rise
Many will perish as they fight for their lives, how will we survive?

I asked how to I could serve her, she looked me up and down
She said there are millions of ways, to gently kiss the ground

We are burning eden, and the waters rise
Many will perish as they fight for their lives, how will we survive?

// Down, down, turn it down, we’re gonna turn the fire down
Down, down, turn it down now // x2

We are burning eden, and the waters rise
Many will perish as they fight for their lives, how will we survive?

There Must Be A Reason

Written By: Lucia Comnes

It feels unbearable to walk this road alone / Heartache penetrates my bones
The sky might as well come crashing down / Gonna take this broken heart and drive it underground

To a hidden place it’s safe to bring my wounds / Take it easy for a while before love can resume
I wish all this rage would up and turn to smoke / What will it take to hang on to any hope

There must be a reason
That it hurts so bad
I’m counting the days that pass
How long will this last?

With the right bait you are bound to get a catch / No guarantee that it will match
There are many fish in the deep blue sea / Make sure he’s honest and bring him to me

The tide goes out but it rises again / There’s no tellin’ what’s around the bend
I’m gonna follow my desire let it lead me to more /
It’s when you least expect that love comes to the door

There must be a reason
That it hurts so bad
I’m counting the days that pass
How long will this last?

// Love will find you when you let go, love will find you // x2

Only the ripest apples fall from the tree / Only when you’re ready can you let yourself be free
I’d rather be alone than with the wrong one / I’m gonna cast my net wide and face into the sun

There must be a reason
That it hurts so bad
I’m counting the days that pass
How long will this last?

Give In To Grace

Written By: Lucia Comnes

A single bird flies overhead
No need to be afraid
Call your footprints in
Look at the path that you've made

For all that you've given
For all that you've saved
Like water falls
Give in to grace

Hold on and make your way
You may need to crawl
I'll be here to meet you
Beneath the canyon walls

For all that you've given
For all that you've saved
Like water falls
Give in to grace

From the highest ridge
You'll see beyond what you know
Your weight no longer heavy
The view makes you whole

For all that you've given
For all that you've saved
Like water falls
Give in to grace

If You Knew How Much I Love You

Written By: Lucia Comnes

In between the broken windows, the abandoned ships at sea
We were held by love, enough to believe
And how the sky did open and all our fear dissolved
But brief the moment, before the fog horn called

If you knew how much I love you, could you really walk away?
I'm kneeling at your altar and all I can do is pray
I would cross a hardened desert I would fast for ninety days
For a night inside the cradle of your arms beneath your gaze

I'm ruled by forces that govern the river
They forbid me to seduce you unless I can deliver
I've given you the treasure of my loaded heart
But you want the key and with this I cannot part

If you knew how much I love you, could you really walk away?
I'm kneeling at your altar and all I can do is pray
I would swallow the poison of cold hard jealousy
If that would bring me closer to your company

Still I'd cross the widest ocean, in a hundred days of rain
For a morning waking by your side just to call out your name
I would fly the great migration I would shed my outer skin
For a close encounter granted of your tenderness again

If you knew how much I love you, could you really walk away?
I'm kneeling at your altar and all I can do is pray
So I carry the burden of all that could have been
And I burn the delusion that you'll gather me in

If you knew how much I love you, could you really walk away?
I'm kneeling at your altar and all I can do is pray

Because They Never Do

Written By: Lucia Comnes,Larry K. Potts, Larry K. Potts

First he smelled the rot, said death be on the run
All the crops lay blackened, in the year of '41
He asked himself 'Will the English help? Will they see us through?
Then he answered 'No, because they never do'

Beside the burning hearth, his mother feared the worst
Her son would leave by morning, to escape the famine's curse
He promised that he'd return, as all the young men do
She knew better than to hope, because they never do

Like leaves torn from an ancient oak
We scattered far and wide
For the millions and the land we lost
The longing never dies

'Aweigh the anchor mates!' the captain did demand
Their final tether with the past, was hunted from the land
Not an eye was dry as Ireland disappeared from view
They’d likely never return again, because they never do

Like leaves torn from an ancient oak
We scattered far and wide
For the millions and the land we lost
The longing never dies

Many years would pass but their thoughts always turn home
A son to his father says, upon a wall of stone
'Da - are we going back?' 'My son, yes I promise you'
But he turned his eyes away, because they never do

Like leaves torn from an ancient oak
We scattered far and wide
For the millions and the land we lost
The longing never dies

Discography

Love, Hope & Tyranny (full length album) - releases February 2015

How The Moon Made Me (single) - 2013
Through The Dark (EP) - 2012
Cable Car (single) - 2011
Potpourri (single) - 2010
Across The Wide Ocean (full album) - 2009
On the way (full album) - 2008
Violets & Roses with Lily Storm (full album) - 2007

Set List

Example set list for a 30min solo or duo opening set:

1. No Hiding Place

2. Burning Eden

3. There Must Be A Reason

4. How The Moon Made Me

5. Lie With You Tonight

6.  If You Knew How Much I Love You

7. End of the Line

8. Because They Never Do 

9. Sweeney's Buttermilk Set (Traditional Irish Reels)

10. The Day Love Dies

11. Give In To Grace

12. Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone