RUNA’s May 2015 Tour

| May 2, 2015 | 0 Comments
RUNA will perform at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, May 10 at Sweetwater Union High School, located at 2900 Highland Avenue in National City.

RUNA will perform at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, May 10 at Sweetwater Union High School, located at 2900 Highland Avenue in National City.

Irish music and culture in America has always been a two-way street, moving music and musicians back and forth across the watery main. Philadelphia’s Irish-American roots band, RUNA, embodies this movement, drawing equal inspiration from both the deep and ancient roots of the Celtic tradition and the modern reality of the Irish in America.

RUNA takes inspiration from their own family history, the stories of the Irish in America, old songs from the Old World, and the Americana and bluegrass influences, ever present in the shaping of Celtic music in the US. With members hailing from three countries (US, Canada, Ireland), they’ve cast wide nets to pull in these very different influences, but their sound meshes perfectly.

That’s a testament to the vision of RUNA and to the ties that bind the Irish on both sides of the Atlantic, and an engrossing approach that has garnered them several recent Independent Music Award Nominations–including best Bluegrass Song.

They will share this vision on a whirlwind Midwestern and western US tour this May, including a performance at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, May 10 at Sweetwater Union High School, located at 2900 Highland Avenue in National City. Tickets can be purchased at (619) 303-8176, AMSD Concerts.

Recording their latest album “Current Affairs” gave RUNA the chance to consciously push the tradition in new directions, bringing fresh ideas from American roots music into their signature sound. On the album, a working class American folk song learned from Pete Seeger (“The Banks Are Made of Marble”) rubs shoulders with a beautiful Gaelic ballad (“Aoidh Na Dèan Cadal Idir”) and a song from modern singer- songwriter Amos Lee, while an old British ballad (“The False Knight Upon the Road”) blends into an eerie American gospel classic (“Ain’t No Grave”).

These different songs are laid atop a bed of lush Celtic instrumentation by RUNA’s powerhouse musicians, and it’s these same musicians who also represent each region of RUNA’s influences. Dublin- born guitarist/vocalist Fionán de Barra grew up speaking Irish Gaelic, immersed in the old traditions. His guitar work, inspired by various open tunings, propels the rhythm of RUNA’s songs. Nashville based but Kentuckian by origin, young fiddle champion Maggie Estes White uses her bluegrass and Texas fiddle heritage to make soaring melodies and solos sing and swing. Galway mandolin/banjo player Dave Curley weaves in and out of the accompaniment playing deft, sparkling melodies and bolstering the rhythm with his powerful bodhran (Irish frame drum) playing. Montreal’s Cheryl Prashker’s percussion brings a refined force to the music. Philadelphia-born bandleader Shannon Lambert-Ryan is an actor, singer, step-dancer, manager, and world music vocalist. In RUNA, her cool, clear vocals move between the clarion Celtic song style and earthier American song styles with ease.

With so many very different musicians, it would be a disservice to call RUNA’s music simply “Celtic.” This is music conceived in the New World, but with distinct ties to the Old World, music that looks forward as much as it looks back; and music inspired by tradition, but unafraid of a bright new future.

Category: Entertainment, Events, Local News

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