Gavin Brennan

Sound is all around us. Music, as one form of sound, is everywhere in our daily lives, influencing us both consciously and unconsciously.

Gavin Brennan (Image Michael McGlynn)

Gavin Brennan (Image Michael McGlynn)

I was always fascinated by music and what it can do. As a child I couldn’t resist reacting to the sounds I was hearing, responding to every beat, phrase, or colour with movement. Although I don’t come from a musical family, I come from a creative one. My parents encouraged my natural response to music initially through dance before I took up playing the saxophone at age ten.

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I was always excited by the performance of new, or ‘contemporary’ music, particularly music composed in Ireland. It was an exciting prospect to create as opposed to recreate. I always felt Irish music shouldn’t be restricted or defined by genre so I went on to curate a number of concerts designed to blend traditional and contemporary Irish music. Michael McGlynn’s instrumental music was the perfect way to link everything together, transcending the boundaries of genre.

As a saxophonist I’ve always been drawn to Michael McGlynn’s compositions. They live in a musical space within which I love to perform. It did what I always felt music should do, it told a story. This in turn led me to explore the vocal music of ANÚNA, a wonderfully diverse community of expression upon itself. As a singer the majority of my experience, a college choir aside, has been sitting at my piano singing pop songs. However from my first rehearsal with ANÚNA I felt at home

Two things define ANÚNA for me; storytelling and the breath. These two aspects are so crucial and natural in our daily lives, but yet are rarely held with such importance in music. These two factors, both of which I always tried to harness for my own performance, were my gateway into ANÚNA. The breath is key. It's such a fundamental aspect of life. And it informs the music, linking performer, composer and listener in a moment.

I'm a huge believer in the ability for music to tell a story without words. Even though there are beautiful texts in the pieces we perform, ANÚNA does just that. The music and intent alone can tell the story. When combined with the words, it can then be extremely powerful. No matter what language ANÚNA perform in, there is still a connection or experience to be found for each listener.

If the island of Ireland could sing, I really believe ANÚNA would be its sound.