Niamh Kavanagh


THREE years after winning the Eurovision, Niamh Kavanagh is finally making her bid for the big time with her debut album, Flying Blind, recently released on BMG Records. She's currently on tour around the country, but she still has to carry the Eurovision tag around, along with the amps and instruments. At Dublin's Olympia Theatre last night, the former bank worker proved that she has the voice to carry her beyond the cabaret circuit, but she also demonstrated an unnerving passion for bland, smoothly polished Adult Contemporary sounds.

Niamh might have left the Eurovision behind, but she's still got a long way to go to catch up with the likes of Celine Dion, and it will take more than a few carefully chosen covers to catapult her into the big time. The problems are apparent after just a few numbers: Kavanagh has an immaculate voice, but the songs are nondescript.

The backing band, although competent and workmanlike, demonstrate a marked lack of personality.

Kavanagh covers songs by J.D. Souther, Eddi Reader, Mary Chapin Carpenter and her own heroine, Bonnie Raitt, and though she does them justice, they seem condemned to stand in the shadows of the originals.

Every now and again, however, Niamh selects a song which suits her right down to the ground. Bill Whelan's Plying Blind, for instance, has found its home in Niamh's sympathetic interpretation, and Romeo's Twin, the tune which features on the soundtrack of Christian Slater's new movie, Bed of Roses, shows that Niamh can match the poetry with emotion.