Sister Spotlight: Irena Lysiuk
Golden girl Irena Lysiuk is no stranger to Little Red audiences! After rising to national attention as a core cast member of Little Red’s online variety show The IsoLate Late Show in 2020, Irena has become a regular returnee and fan-favourite, celebrated for her vocal agility and girl-next-door charm. Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves marks Irena’s fifth main stage production with Little Red, following appearances in There’s Something About Music, Skyfall, Your Song and Christmas Actually.
Tell us about your earliest memory of the Sister Act films:
I remember watching them when I was young and then performing “Joyful, Joyful” with my dance school every Christmas. Some other chick, Anjali (stunning voice and we’re still friends today), ALWAYS got to do the Lauryn Hill solo at the beginning every year without fail! Furious!
2022 marks the 30th anniversary of the original Sister Act film. In your opinion, what makes the franchise so timeless?
A) The music is so uplifting and iconic! B) Sisterhood and women coming together to make change or help others without male approval is fierce. C) The birth of Lauryn Hill is glorious. D) Whoopi at her best.
Sister Act is widely credited with helping usher in a new era of gospel music, with strong hip-hop and R&B influences. How has this genre influenced your own musical journey?
I’m a little white half polish gal who grew up Catholic. Though church music was around growing up, I didn’t love singing it. But I was rather taken with the Samoan choir who would sing every now and then and they were AMAZING. Growing up, I always sang and liked lots of different types of music. I remember being obsessed with Missy Elliott and had her poster on my wall. Her album “This is Not a Test” was in my CD player on repeat. When I was starting to write my own music aged 16/17, I always gravitated to R&B grooves and hip hop beats with soul melodies because that was my favourite music to listen and groove to.
What is your favourite song from the franchise and why?
“His Eye Is On The Sparrow” – Lauryn Hill singing that completely live in one take just sitting in the church is pure magic.
What does ‘Sisterhood’ mean to you?
Sisterhood to me is a deep connection that only women can understand. The shared experience of what it means to be a woman and what we go through biologically or in society subconsciously binds us.
Who’s a ‘Sister’ within your own life who’s had a profound impact?
My best friend Chi has always built me up and made me feel like I could conquer the world. I could climb the highest mountain with her support. She is there for me no matter what which has had a profound impact on my self-worth and belief.
In ‘The Gospel According to Irena’, what would be your message?
And as Irena said unto the apostles, “Life’s too short, baby! Be kind to others, live freely and love with your whole heart.”
What can audiences expect from Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves?
Four powerhouse women, an amazing band, feel-good energy, nostalgic songs with electrifying arrangements.
Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves premieres at Brisbane Powerhouse on 17 February. See here for information and tickets.
[Image description: a young blonde woman stands inside a modern church, dressed in white ruffled gown and extravagant black lace hat that ties around the neck. She smiles demurely at the camera.]