Atlantic Arc is a collaborative ensemble of renowned traditional musicians and singers from Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland, under the musical direction of Dónal Lunny, one of Ireland’s most accomplished performers, composers and producers.
Having formed in 2016 for a series of one-off collaborations, the members of Atlantic Arc discovered they shared a deep interest in exploring and cultivating contemporary expressions of traditional music. This connection set Atlantic Arc on a course of openness and curiosity which over the past 5 years has led to a powerful live repertoire of original, traditional, re-arranged and shared material, drawn from their musical ancestry. “Our synergy is truly exceptional and the musical vibrancy a pure sensation, Atlantic Arc a musical joy for me” Dónal Lunny
Their debut single, ‘My Son David’, was released in April earlier this year to an outstanding media response; their debut album will follow in Spring ’22.
Dónal Lunny on bouzouki and guitar
Pauline Scanlon on vocals
Jarlath Henderson on vocals, guitars uilleann pipes and whistles
Alan Doherty on whistles
Tara Breen on fiddle
Sharon Howley on cello
Davie Ryan on drums
Ewen Vernal on bass
Graham Henderson on keyboards
“Lunny gathers some of the finest musicians in Ireland and Scotland to create a fresh new sound – yet again – while keeping the continuum of the tradition so crucial to his own musical journey“. Brian O’Donovan, WGBH Boston
“Our Song of the Day is My Son David, the sublime new single from Dónal Lunny’s Atlantic Arc featuring the man himself and Pauline Scanlon, Jarlath Henderson, Aidan O’Rourke, Sharon Howley, Davie Ryan, Ewen Vernal, Graham Henderson. Outstanding” Folk Radio UK
“Dónal Lunny’s musical curiosity is indefatigable. He’s the ultimate collaborator: always exploring new territories, and well-worn paths too, where he inevitably unearths sparkling new possibilities in old sounds“. The Irish Times
“effortlessly straddled the ancient and contemporary. From an enormous respect for traditional music, he has always mined its depths to reveal fresh perspectives, so that it sounds utterly in step with the times, always at the cutting edge”. The Irish Times
MEET THE MEMBERS Read on to meet the members of Atlanic Arc
Dónal Lunny – Ireland | bouzouki + musical director / producer
A gifted guitar and bouzouki player, composer and producer, Dónal Lunny is the figurehead of Irish traditional music and a house-hold name in the Celtic music scene. He has been at the forefront of the evolution of the tradition for more than 35 years and is popularly regarded as having spearheaded its renaissance over the last three decades. Since the seventies, Dónal has founded legendary seminal Irish bands Planxty, The Bothy Band, Moving Hearts, Coolfin and recently Mozaik. Much sought after in studio, he has produced albums for artists such as Kate Bush, Baaba Maal, Paul Brady, Elvis Costello, Mark Knopfler, Rod Stewart, Eddi Reader, Indigo Girls and Clannad. || www.donallunny.com
Jarlath Henderson – Northern Ireland | uilleann pipes, whistles, guitar, vocals
The youngest-ever winner of the BBC Young Folk Award, back in 2003, Tyrone-born multi- instrumentalist and singer Jarlath Henderson is popularly known for his firebrand duo with Scottish piper and whistle player Ross Ainslie. Renowned primarily for his extraordinary prowess on uilleann pipes and whistles, while fast emerging as an equally gifted vocalist, Henderson has performed and recorded in such illustrious company as Lau, Capercaillie, Paddy Keenan, Phil Cunningham and Michael McGoldrick. His hotly-anticipated solo debut, Hearts Broken, Heads Turned, was launched to critical acclaim at Celtic Connections 2016. || www.jarlathhenderson.co.uk
Pauline Scanlon – Ireland | vocals
With a voice described as “a superb mix of china cup fragility and steely strength” (Irish Times), Pauline Scanlon is one of Ireland’s most cherished traditional singers and one half of the celebrated duo Lumiere. Hailing from the Irish tradition yet equally versed in contemporary music, Scanlon has a gift of making the oldest ballads sound fresh while gracing a timeless resonance to newer material. 2016 saw the release of her fifth album Gossamer, produced by long-time collaborator John Reynolds (Sinéad O’Connor, Seun Kuti, Herbie Hancock, Damien Dempsey).
Tara Breen – Ireland | fiddle
A highly talented multi-instrumentalist from Co. Clare, Tara has achieved All-Ireland titles on fiddle in every age category over the years, culminating with the senior Oireachtas fiddle title in 2011 and the All-Ireland Senior Fiddle Title in 2012. She achieved her Dip. ABRSM in 2007 in classical flute, and also qualified as a Traditional Irish Music teacher with Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, achieving her TTCT in 2011. Tara’s live work started as an original member of Ciorras. She then went on to join the Galician piper Carlos Núñez and in 2014 she joined the Chieftains. One of the most in demand session musicians in music at the moment, Tara regularly tours as a member of the Chieftains and has recently toured with the well-known dance show, Heartbeat of home. In 2011 Tara was one of the musicians chosen to perform the Queen of England’s visit to Ireland.
Graham Henderson – Ireland/UK | keyboards
Graham is a multi-instrumentalist and experienced producer and composer. He began his professional career playing the accordion, guitar, piano & mandolin with Fairground Attraction which brought international touring and 2 Brit Awards. Graham joined Coolfin in 1996 and since then has continued to work with a wide array of Irish artists such as Iarla O’Lionaird, Paul Brady and Declan O’Rourke, as well as being a member of the legendary Moving Hearts and was Sinead O’Connor’s keyboard player and MD for over five years. In 2019 Graham produced the latest album ‘The Great Irish Songbook’ by Dervish (recipients of the 2019 ‘lifetime achievement award’ / BBC Folk Awards) featuring guest vocalists David Gray, Steve Earle, Vince Gill, Imelda May, Abigail Washburn & Rhiannon Giddens.
Ewen Vernal – Scotland | bass
Scotland’s Ewen Vernal has enjoyed an eclectic global music career. From worldwide success with Deacon Blue (4m album sales, 12 UK Top 40 singles, 2 No.1 albums) to joining ground-breaking folk band Capercaillie, with whom he remains an influential member. Ewen has worked with Scottish progressive-rock singer Fish to English folk star Kate Rusby and has appeared with Lou Reed, Michael Brecker, Chris Rea, and many more. || www.capercaillie.co.uk/the-band/ewen-vernal/
Davie Ryan – Ireland | drums
Davie is a graduate of both UCC and of Cork School of Music. He has extensive experience both nationally and internationally as a touring and recording musician in a range of diverse genres including jazz, folk, pop, rock, world and traditional music. Davie’s impressive reputation has led to high profile collaborations with renowned studio producers, including Grammy award-winning Jay Joyce (Tragedy Tragedy Studios, Nashville), Kieran Byrne (Cauldron Studios, Dublin), Christian Best, and John Fitzgerald.|| www.davieryan.com
Sharon Howley – Ireland | cello
Sharon Howley is a multi-instrumentalist from Kilfenora, Co. Clare working both as a performer and educator. Sharon began playing the cello at the age of 10 and is now one of the pioneers of cello within Irish traditional music, receiving the 2020 Young Musician of the Year Award (Gradam Ceoil). A member of the Kilfenora Ceili Band, she credits her unique style of traditional cello playing to her deep immersion in Irish music growing up, drawing on techniques from other Irish traditional instrumentalists to create an authentic ‘traditional’ sound. A primary teacher, with two first-class honours Masters degrees in Music, Sharon works with a variety of musicians, groups and organisations as a performer, tutor, composer and arranger. She is currently recording her debut solo traditional cello album.
Alan Doherty – Ireland | whistle
Alan Doherty has gained a reputation as the whistle player on the Lord of the Rings soundtrack. Besides that, it’s worth mentioning his work with the band Grada, another great trad group. Alan is great on low whistle and flute too and has an exciting playing style, which originates from Celtic music all the way to crossovers that sound quite modern, even jazzy.
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