Although he identifies himself as a Hare Krishna, Hansard said he still feels a strong connection with the culture of mysticism that is so powerful in Celtic traditions.
“It's written in our history books,” he said. “I make art and that's great, but digging in the hole and growing potatoes is a higher calling. In Ireland, the land is pulsing.”
Perhaps it’s this cultural resonance that prompts Hansard to keep an open mind, including with his Catholic upbringing. He has walked the pilgrimage of the Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain, four times. While touring, he constantly meets fans from other religious backgrounds.
“You're defined by your beliefs, and I want to be fluid because there are so many people who follow different religions,” he said. “You have to give up a little bit of what you believe to understand that.”