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 the majority of singers come from the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland many of its members are drawn from all over the world including the Iceland, the Netherlands, Italy, the USA and Slovenia. Their repertoire is written or arranged for the group by McGlynn, and includes reconstructions of Early and Medieval music from Ireland and beyond presented in a candle-lit, costumed ambience that allows the group to connect with a very wide variety of audience despite the eclectic nature of the music they sing. Anúna perform with between twelve and fourteen singers, unconducted, in any performance. They 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, the BBC Proms in the Royal Albert Hall, the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam, The Netherlands), 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.
Anúna created the atmospheric vocal sound of Riverdance from 1994 until they left the stage show in1996. The track Riverdance spent 18 weeks at number 1 in the Irish Singles Chart and gained a top 10 single in the U.K. Singles Chart. The album Riverdance the Show, which features the ensemble on four songs, 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 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. 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. In February 2017 the group participated in an extraordinary collaboration with Noh Theatre entitled "Takahime", a Japanese adaptation of W.B. Yeats' play "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.
A number of Anúna singers have gone on to carve very successful careers as solo artists including singer-songwriter Hozier (2007 - 2012) and six of the lead soloists from the phenomenally successful Celtic Woman. Anúna singer Eimear Quinn won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1996.
Anúna have an active 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 2012 they presented at the Shanghai Conservatory. In 2015 the group presented an interest Session as part of the American Choral Directors Association National Conference at Salt Lake, Utah, USA. In 2019 their sixth highly successful annual ANÚNA International Summer School in Dublin, which attracts professional and amateur choral musicians from all over the world, will take place in Dublin preceded by the first ANÚNA Winter School in February in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Anúna have released eighteen albums since 1991 and have been featured artists on three Grammy Award-winning albums. Invocation (1994) won a National Entertainment Award for Classical music, while Deep Dead Blue (1996) was nominated for a Classical Brit Award. 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 September 2011 saw their album Christmas Memories reaching the Hot 100 of the Billboard Album Chart. In 2008 the choir released Invocations of Ireland, McGlynn's self-made film, an evocative depiction of the Irish landscape and its relationship to his music. This has been broadcast extensively in Australia/New Zealand, with the DVD being released on Australia's DV1 and Columbia Music Entertainment in Japan.
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.