LIVE REVIEW

Anúna : Vocal Magicians from Mystical Ireland

By ARDEN VELDKAMP

From De Meppeler Courant March 19th 2009

Steenwijk. Theaterzaal 'De Meenthe', Woensdagavond.

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It felt as if I were under hypnosis. When the piece 'Jerusalem' began, the six female singers walked up and down the aisle holding burning candles and wearing black robes. Their voices echoed, creating a quadraphonic sensation that touched my soul. This was the same feeling I had when they sang 'Sanctus', another sensational climax for this Irish choir yesterday, who also have five men on stage.

Well known for its collaboration with the world-famous Irish dance-show Riverdance, if the audience had expected more songs from this show their hopes were disappointed. Only 'Our Wedding Day' reminded us of the Eurovision 1994 when Anuna accompanied the Irish dancers.

This concert was mostly about a cappella singing, except for the inclusion of Irish whistle at the beginning and the occasional use of the bodhrán (a traditional Irish drum). The voices bound together by composer, leader of the choir and tenor Michael McGlynn, don’t really need instruments to accompany them. They sound like music to our ears and words like “crystal-clear”, “gossamer”, “harmonious” and 'in the clouds’ can’t even do justice to it.

The music of Anúna, inspired by old Celtic songs, medieval traditional songs and religious songs came across as subtle as well as powerful. Mystical angel-voices, songs with mysterious titles like: “An Oíche”, “Geantraí”, “Dúlamán”, “Ardaigh Cuan”, “Ríu Ríu” and “Fionnghuala”.

There wasn't one note off key. These vocal magicians visibly enjoyed their performance in Steenwijk… and the Dutch audience, according to Michael McGlynn '”are more Irish than the Irish themselves”. Anúna, the place to be for anyone looking for a relaxing moment in these turbulent times with songs to dream away with. For example, close your eyes while listening to 'Wild Song'… and you'll imagine the open seas, cold winds and even hear a lonely bird.