In 1987, Dublin composer Michael McGlynn founded ANÚNA. The ensemble's name, originally An Uaithne, derives from the collective term for the three ancient types of Irish music Suantraí (lullaby), Geantraí (happy song) and Goltraí (lament).
While many of performers in ANÚNA come from the island of Ireland its members are drawn from across the world, currently Iceland, the Netherlands, Italy, Slovenia and the USA. The repertoire is created by Michael McGlynn, and includes reconstructions of medieval music from Ireland, traditional song arrangements and original music. This is in an atmospheric ambience that allows the group to connect at a very fundamental level despite the eclectic nature of the music that they sing. They perform with twelve singers, unconducted, in any performance. ANÚNA are equally at home in an amplified theatrical setting or an unamplified concert hall.
They have appeared at the World Sacred Music Festival in Fes, Morocco three times including this year. They also headlined the first ever Irish prom at the BBC Proms in the Royal Albert Hall. ANÚNA have sung in many of the finest spaces in the world including the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing, Shanghai Oriental Arts Centre, Muziekgebouw Eindhoven, De Doelen Rotterdam, Orchard Hall in Tokyo, Town Hall New York and in Minneapolis Symphony Hall.
The versatility of ANÚNA has resulted in some extraordinary collaborations over the decades.
In February 2017 the group performed in collaboration with a Noh theatrical company for the play Takahime, a Japanese adaptation of W.B. Yeats' At the Hawk's Well. The performance was directed by Gensho Umewaka (Japanese National Treasure) and Michael McGlynn who also composed an original score for the production.
ANÚNA created the atmospheric vocal sound of Riverdance from 1994 until they left the stage show in1996. That year the album Riverdance the Show, won a Grammy Award. While curating the Meltdown Festival at London's South Bank, Elvis Costello invited ANÚNA to perform with him as featured guests at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Their 1998 collaboration with Costello and The Chieftains The Long Journey Home was the title track of the Grammy Award Winning album of the same name. In 2011 they featured on DVD and CD with the pioneering Australian children's entertainers The Wiggles.
In February 2018 the group won the Outstanding Ensemble category of the Annual Game Music Awards for their contributions to the soundtrack of the hugely successful video game Xenoblade Chronicles II (Square Enix). In 2012 they appeared as the "Voices of Hell" on the video game Diablo 3 [Blizzard] gaining a Game Audio Network Guild nomination for the Best Original Choral Performance in February 2013.
A number of past singers singers have gone on to carve very successful careers as solo artists including singer-songwriter Hozier and six of the lead soloists from the phenomenally successful Celtic Woman.
The unique nature of the group’s performance has resulted in the creation of a ground-breaking and highly successful Education & Outreach programme that has been responsible for workshops across China, Japan, Spain, Belgium, Israel, Sweden, Canada, Poland, the UK and The Netherlands. In 2015 McGlynn gave a major presentation of that work as part of the American Choral Directors Association National Conference in Salt Lake, Utah, USA. Their ANÚNA International Summer School, now in its sixth year takes place in Dublin, and musicians from all over the world. The second ANÚNA Winter School will take place next February in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
ANÚNA have released eighteen albums since 1991 and have been featured artists on three Grammy Award-winning albums.
Invocation won a National Entertainment Award for classical music in 1994, while Deep Dead Blue was nominated for a Classical Brit Award in 1999. Celtic Origins (2007), also an award-winning PBS show and DVD, became the number one selling CD on the US World Music Charts that August while the album Christmas Memories reaching the Hot 100 of the Billboard Album Chart in 2011.
They have been signed to some of the world's major record labels including Decca, Universal Classics, Polygram, E1 and Philips.
Michael McGlynn's sheet music is available from www.michaelmcglynn.com.