Lunasa Biography

Named after the ancient Celtic harvest festival in honour of the Irish god Lugh, patron of the arts, Lúnasa was formed by members of some of the most important traditional/roots bands of the 90s. Inspired by the Bothy Band, Seán Smyth (Straide, County Mayo, Eire; fiddle/whistle, ex-Coolfin), Kevin Crawford (b. Birmingham, England; flute/whistle/bodhrán), Trevor Hutchinson (b. Cookstown, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland; bass, ex-Waterboys, Sharon Shannon Band), and Donogh Hennessy (b. Dublin, Eire; guitar, ex-Sharon Shannon Band) first played together in early 1997.

Lúnasa uses wind and string instruments, pairing flutes, fiddle, whistle and pipes in breathtaking instrumental arrangements. The result is a sound that, though distinctly Irish in flavour, touches on jazz and other improvisational music forms. Their debut, Lúnasa, became an immediate bestseller in Ireland, topping the Hot Press Folk Charts and named one of the year’s Top Ten Albums by The Irish Echo. International festivals across Europe, Japan and Australia included a main stage performance at London’s Guinness Fleadh. On their first US visit, word of mouth led to sell-out shows and rave reviews. The band’s follow-up album, 1999’s Otherworld, which featured new member Cillian Vallely (b. Armagh, Northern Ireland) was hailed as one of the most refreshing recordings of Irish music in years, and described as ‘moving, pulsating and thrilling to the very marrow’, by Folk Roots. The album was released by the Green Linnet Records label.

Lúnasa carried on where they left off with their first album of the new millennium, the scintillating The Merry Sisters Of Fate. The album was awarded the British/Celtic Album of the Year award by the Association for Independent Music in the USA. The band’s final album for Green Linnet, Redwood, was recorded during a short break in the band’s 2002 US tour. The follow-up was recorded in front of a live audience in Kinnitty Castle, Co. Offaly.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.