Súnas: Definitive Celtic from Australia


Australian Celtic quartet Súnas offers something mystical, relaxing and rich to all listeners.

The strongest asset of Australian quartet Sunas is their use of tight vocal harmonies. This is followed by enchanting and captivating melodies. In the world of fast and loud music, Sunas is a great find. This is suited for people who like their Celtic tunes more relaxing and mystical. For someone who discovered Celtic music through the likes of Clannad, Loreena McKennitt and Connie Dover, the emphasis on female voices is really a plus point. I love them!

They took all the influences from the Celtic nations and mix those with the unique sounds of Australia.  The vocals float between the world of folk and classical pop, making the songs accessible to all listeners. Even to those who don’t listen to Celtic music. Sunas has four members: Sarah Calderwood, Paul Brandon, Mannie McAllister and Michael Patrick. Each plays different instruments and also sings in solo or in harmony. They credit Kate Rusby,  Karan Casey, Pauline Scanlon, Flook. Liam O’ Manolai, Dougie MacLean,   Altan, Solas, Peter Gabriel and The Bothy Band as musical influences. No wonder they are so good. It’s because of the eclectic mix of sounds from different and amazing artists.

It is hard for me to chose any song as a personal favorite because there’s never one I don’t like. I am serious! There are tunes that you probably hear interpreted by other artists like for example Black is the Color and The Demon Lover. Reels, jigs and also a wider European sound are all over the recordings of Sunas. Instruments like whistles, fiddles and even didgeridoo embellish the recordings. But they are done tastefully. There are songs that use minimal instruments because perhaps, the band feels that the song demands it. There are fast and slow tunes: a good amount of balance.

My big thanks to percussionist Jeremy Sibson for bringing this terrific band to my attention.


Súnas is a fiery four-piece Celtic band featuring multi-instrumentalists and exquisite four-part vocal harmonies.

Súnas is a fiery four-piece Celtic band featuring multi-instrumentalists and exquisite four-part vocal harmonies. They play a unique and unforgettable blend of original, contemporary and traditional tunes and songs.

The band has been in existence for more than a decade and has established a strong presence on the Australian folk festival circuit. In addition to performing at many popular venues around Queensland regularly and touring, Súnas has headlined the Cygnet, Tamar Valley and Fleadh Ceol Folk Festivals interstate and were chosen to perform their own music at the ’09 Woodford Festival opening ceremony. They have also appeared at the National, Snowy Mountains of Music, Wintermoon and Port Fairy Folk Festivals, Fête de la Musique (which was broadcast to France), the Queensland Multicultural Festival, Music by the Sea and Brisbane City Council events, and receive regular radio airplay in Australia, the BBC in the UK and worldwide. In late 2009 they toured folk clubs all over the UK, finishing with Dougie MacLean’s Caledonia Concert which was broadcast by the BBC as part of the Homecoming Scotland celebrations. 2010 has already seen them play in several states and even Russia for St Patrick’s Day.

In 2008 Súnas released their debut album ‘A Breath Away from Shadow’, awarded four out of five stars by the Courier-Mail, and five stars by iTunes. They have just finished recording a new album, ‘Celtic Road’ and accompanying live DVD with the ABC/Universal Music that will be released in Feb 2011 and is already receiving airplay nationally.






I am revising my blogging style again. Instead putting too many artists in my feature I decide to just take one and then just talk about anything in my Huzzah! section. That way I can concentrate on a particular band or artist and not drown my readers with too much information. After all I am going to post as often as possible now so no need to wait too much.

  Qristina and Quinn Bachand
Qristina and Quinn Bachand

For Qristina and Quinn Bachand, music is a Family affair in 67 Music

Yes folks my new album review for 67 Music is up so please read. And also don’t forget to subscribe to 67 Music because they always come up with interesting reviews as well as Celtic music oriented events. Take note: I made an error of writing debut album when what I meant was second album. Anyway, here’s the excerpt from the review:

The shared creativity of siblings Quinn and Qristina Bachand in Family is a testament to the fact that Celtic music is and has always been a family affair.   And it is no accident that the title is their second album is exactly that: Family.  This album was released around late 2011 which catapulted the two into international live shows and countless youtube footage uploaded by fans.  All the tracks are brilliant, well produced and display tight musicianship.  But let us not ignore the other merits that Family has in store for those who are trying to pick up their Celtic albums. Red more….

Kevin O'Donnell
Kevin O’Donnell

Here’s the third teaser for the Kevin O’ Donnell album:

The Irish-American Experience

While there are many strong connections and instances where American folk songs and tunes can be traced back to Ireland, and many fine songs written about the Irish experience abroad by Irish expatriates – especially in America – the experiences of their subsequent generations has gone virtually ignored. There has never been a collection of songs written exclusively from such a perspective.

This is the impetus behind the DEEP IS THE WELL project – uniquely American story-songs that are the specters of a common Irish past.


Wild Irish Poet: Alan Cooke
Wild Irish Poet: Alan Cooke

I feel I need to plug this because I am one of the callers. The show is based in New York and Wild Irish Poet a.k.a Alan Cooke who is the show’s guest is in Ireland. I called in from the Philippines. Crazy isn’t it? But the internet makes the world small. Anyway this is a radio interview about his book Naked in New York and I was talking to him earlier that day and told him I’d be calling. The show is Called Away with Words hosted by Victoria Valentine. It’s an interesting show so I encourage you to listen until the end. I called in around 14:28 and please don’t tease me about my nervous voice lol! http://www.blogtalkradio.com/aww1/2013/03/27/alan-cooke-irish-emmy-winning-writer-actor-filmmaker

And now for events….

Click to enlarge


Click to enlarge



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