When Marketa Irglova took the stage at a New York City theater recently to trill with the cast of the Tony-winning “Once-The Musical” on a curtain call, it felt like things had come full circle. “Because this has all been totally unexpected,” says the Czech Republic-born singer, who formed the duo The Swell Season with her Irish mentor Glen Hansard before starring with him in the movie “Once,” which earned them Academy Awards for Best Original Song (“Falling Slowly”). Connecting with the Broadway spinoff of “Once” was the first thing she did upon returning from her new home in Iceland, where she gave birth to daughter Arveig and tracked “Muna,” her ethereal second recording.
Seeing the musical must have been strange. It’s a show based on a film, based on an actual band.
Yes. It was very surreal, but in the best possible way. I never expected to act in a movie, or that the movie would do as well as it did, or that I’d end up touring with a bunch of Irish guys all around the world. The wonder of all this keeps getting more and more unbelievable.
Do you have your Oscar with you in Reykjavik?
I do, actually. After the Oscar ceremony, me and Glen got one each, and we’d brought our families over to be with us. So when my family was leaving for the Czech Republic, I gave my Oscar to my mom to keep. But whenever I came home to visit, I would ask my parents “OK, so where is the Oscar?” And they said they hid it because they were so scared that somebody would steal it. So I just took it. And now it’s in our home studio in Iceland, and when I’m working on something, it’s very inspiring to have it there. It’s a reminder where I’ve been and all the places I have yet to go.
You initially went to Iceland to record. Then you dropped off the radar for a year.
Yeah. Initially, it was supposed to be a 10-day session. But I ended up prolonging my stay because I was enjoying Iceland so much. I had been living in New York and feeling a bit overwhelmed by the busy-ness of the city. But after a few months of my quiet life in Iceland, I realized that I wasn’t going back to New York. So I had the time and the resources to devote to “Muna,” until I was all geared up to release it, and I realized I was pregnant. So that was another year of just taking it easy. So now it feels really lovely to finally be sending my album out into the world.
IF YOU GO
Where: Bimbo’s 365 Club, 1025 Columbus Ave., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Oct. 23
Contact: (415) 474-0365, www.ticketfly.com