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Event Archive - Lunasa Live: Lunasa

Thu. November 1st 2012 The Upstairs Cabaret (No Minors)
TBA - TBA doors at 7pm
Tickets at: Tba
Presented by: Threesixty Entertainment Ltd
Lúnasa is the single most influential and innovative band performing Irish instrumental music today. What Lúnasa has accomplished in their now decade-plus career has deeper precedent in jazz and progressive bluegrass, and has made them entirely unique in Celtic circles. Simply put, Lúnasa welds the ancient soul of traditional instrumental Irish music to a new rhythmic framework, one which breaks down the barrier between soloist and accompanist and creates a dynamic polyphony that preserves the dignity of their sources while fiercely thrusting them into the modern age.

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Named for an ancient Celtic harvest festival in honor of the lrish god Lugh, patron of the arts,
Lúnasa is a gathering of some of the top musical talents in Ireland. Its members have helped form the backbone of some of the greatest lrish groups of our time, including The Waterboys, Sharon Shannon Band, Donal Lunny's Coolfin, Moving Cloud, Karan Casey Band and Riverdance.

Called an "lrish music dream team" (Folk Roots) and "the new Celtic royalty” (Boston Herald),
Lúnasa has performed across North America, Europe, Japan and Australia, including the Montreux Jazz Festival, London's Guinness Fleadh, the Hollywood Bowl, Dublin’s National Concert Hall and the Chicago Celtic Festival.

From day one, the double bass of Trevor Hutchinson has been the band’s fulcrum. The presence of more young Irish bands featuring the double bass – a relative stranger to the genre – is testament to Hutchinson’s commanding presence on the instrument and his ability to invent an integral role for it where once there was none. Previously with the Irish roots-rock band the Waterboys, Hutchinson first met future Lúnasa guitarist Donogh Hennessy in the band of accordionist Sharon Shannon – herself no stranger to innovation. Hennessy’s peerless playing carries with it both drive and sensitivity, acting almost as a drummer, sympathetically stating the pulse while providing a shifting harmonic undercurrent around Hutchinson’s monolithic lines.

Their inventive arrangements and bass-driven grooves are steering Irish acoustic music into surprising new territory. Like the younger generation of Nashville musicians such as Bela Fleck or Edgar Meyer pushing the boundaries of bluegrass into jazz and beyond, Lúnasa redefines Irish music by going right to the heart of its rhythms. "There are lots of great melodies in Irish music but often people don't hear the rhythms underneath," says founding member Sean Smyth. "We try to relate the swing or energy out of the music, using new rhythms, letting each instrument add its own unique layer. We let the music find its pulse." The result is a sound that, though distinctly Irish in flavor, touches on jazz and other improvisational music forms.

Lúnasa was always conceived as an instrumental outfit – a decision which some initially thought would put them at a disadvantage. But artistically, critically, and commercially, it proved to be a boon – as the band’s skill and musicality quickly disarmed any potential naysayers. “The notion of adding a singer never really took hold,” explains Trevor Hutchinson, “although we have worked with a few over the years. It's something that has been very rarely suggested by anyone who has seen the band perform live…In a way it makes us work that bit harder to communicate the music. It's certainly more challenging to perform without vocals and I think it has contributed to the sound and identity of the band.”

Lúnasa bring it all up and let it all down with an appetite for grace and danger that Van Morrison once held so dear.” - Siobhán Long, The Irish Times

“This is the hottest Irish acoustic group on the planet.” - The New York Times

“To beauty of sound and dazzling precision Lúnasa adds the arranger's art of textural variation, and to the music as a whole is added the raconteur's art of risible patter…Don't miss them.” - John Shand, The Sydney Morning Herald

“Lúnasa's rhythm-rich music reaches a new level of virtuosity…” - Earle Hitchner, The Wall Street Journal

Their recently released eighth album Lá Nua was ranked #2 in The Irish Echo’s Top 10 Traditional albums of 2010. That year the band was also named “Performers of the Decade” in the LIVIES ( awards.


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