Since the release of their 1997 recording debut LÚNASA and the band’s first tour of the U.S.—when word-of-mouth led to SRO shows and rave reviews (“This is the hottest Irish acoustic group on the planet” said The New York Times)—the all-star quintet has become one of the most popular bands on the international Celtic music scene.
Since coming together in 1996, Lúnasa has performed over 1500 concerts and achieved a worldwide reputation as a different kind of Irish traditional music band. The all-instrumental quintet is noted for double bass and guitar-driven rhythms, original
compositions mixed with material from Celtic regions such as Brittany, Galicia and Asturias and a surprising focus on slower melodies involving three-part harmonies played on the traditional pipes, fiddle and flute.
Comprising Seán Smyth (fiddle and low whistles), Kevin Crawford (flute, low whistles and tin whistles), Cillian Vallely (uilleann pipes and low whistles), Trevor Hutchinson (double bass) and the group’s newest member Ed Boyd (guitar), Lúnasa delivers music with a passion that informs every note and continues to define and redefine the genre. Their innovative arrangements and unique approach to the music create a singular sound that has propelled Irish acoustic music from familiar ground into surprising and exciting new territory.
‘Lúnasa is a very different Irish band in many ways,’ explains Cillian Vallely. ‘It’s an all-instrumental band. We have a double bass. We play a very diverse selection of music, including our own compositions, melodies from other Celtic regions such as Brittany, Galicia, Asturias, and Scotland, and slower melodies, often involving three-part harmonies. The melodies are played on the traditional instruments of pipes, fiddle and flute, but the rhythmic and harmonic style—the bass and guitar style—give the band a very contemporary sound.’
It’s a sound that moves beyond the long established boundaries of traditional music, and it has earned the group a following that encompasses music fans of all ages and tastes around the world. Lúnasa is also a collective that courts opportunities to grow and change, to try something different. With eight albums already in its discography, as well as solo CDs and recording and performing credits with many of Ireland’s and the world’s most well-known talents, the quintet ‘s latest release is LÚNASA WITH THE RTÉ CONCERT ORCHESTRA. A glittering collection of tunes sparked from a brilliant union of two of Ireland’s brightest musical stars—a remarkable traditional Irish music band and Ireland’s treasured national orchestra which has long prided itself on its dynamic programs and stylistic range. Their first joint effort was a sold-out performance at Dublin’s National Concert Hall on June 19, 2012 that was later broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1 and followed by the recording of the album
In the years since those early concerts and CDs catapulted the band to the forefront of traditional Irish music, the members of Lúnasa have gathered a long list of credits and honors in addition to the legion of fans that spans the globe, fitting achievements for a band that takes its name from the old Celtic harvest festival in honour of the god Lugh, patron of the arts.
Where: The Factory Theatre, Sydney NSA with Altan – the Ultimate Irish Double Bill
When: Sunday 2nd March
Bookings: The Factory Theatre; ph (02) 9550 3666
Where: The Thornbury Theatre Melbourne Vic
When: Thursday 5th March
Bookings: The Thornbury Theatre; ph 1300 762545
Where: Port Fairy Folk Festival Port Fairy Vic
When: Friday 7th March & Sunday 9th March
Bookings: Port Fairy Folk Festival