Daithí Ó Nuanáin


Plainchant specialist, Irish language speaker and a singer/instrumentalist of all styles from Early Music to Grunge.

Daithí Ó Nuanáin (Image Michael McGlynn)

Having been raised in a family with a strong musical background, I was exposed to music from a wide range of genres. However, I never felt that I was strongly connected or linked to any particular type of music. Dublin, where I'm from, is a centre for all cultures to connect and merge. The city doesn’t have a particular stylistic influence like that of the sean-nós style heard in the Gaeltacht areas (primarily Irish speaking regions) of Ireland. As a result I felt like a form of musical nomad, always travelling between genres.

I tried my hand in all sorts of musical genres in one form or another. During my school years I became the default musician in concerts to fill up a rock band or accompany a singer. My time in college was spent between large choral societies, cathedral choirs, mini-musicals, and solo or unison chant. As a result, I somewhat felt like a musical nomad, always travelling between styles of music. These diverse experiences I had did add to my personal development. Although, I was missing the feeling of a common passion for what the music meant.

The Donegal Gaeltacht was my cultural sanctuary while in school – not for the music heard, but for the Irish language. There was a connection there not always found in my musical experiences. The language became part of my identity, and I found that Michael McGlynn combined music and language in such a unique way, forming Anúna's identity. I discovered this in 2011 when I heard Anúna sing with Clannad in Christ Church Cathedral. Anúna brought 1000 years of music into the modern day with a presence and a sound that transcended time and culture. I then went on and started singing with the group in 2016 – a group I now view as a leamhach or ‘safe space’.

Performing with Anúna has taught me to connect with all music in a way that my two degrees in music could not. Singing to international audiences, with singers of diverse nationalities proved to me that, once the music and language connect and make sense together, anyone can understand the meaning of the text. We are no different than the bards and storytellers of centuries past, or the 3-piece Seattle band that spoke to an entire generation in 1991. Anúna has created its own language in music, and it endures.