Lúnasa performing at the Cornouaille Festival in Quimper, Brittany (France)
|Genres||Irish folk, Celtic|
|Labels||Lúnasa, Compass, Green Linnet|
Lúnasa is a traditional Irish music group, named after Lughnasadh, an ancient harvest festival. They tour and perform internationally, and have recorded a number of albums of both traditional and contemporary Irish instrumental music.
Lúnasa was founded in 1997 when Sean Smyth, John McSherry and Steve Cooney teamed up to tour Sean's solo album The Blue Fiddle. They called in Mike McGoldrick who was a friend of McSherry's and toured as a four-piece. As the band was taking off Cooney bowed out.
In the meantime Smyth was touring in Scandinavia with the rhythmical duo Donogh Hennessy and Trevor Hutchinson, and recruited them to join the band. Calling themselves Lúnasa, they began performing and touring; the first album, Lúnasa, was recorded while the group was on tour in 1996 and released to critical acclaim.
McGoldrick and McSherry were becoming increasingly busy with other projects and left the band. Kevin Crawford then joined the band and various other pipers stepped in for McSherry. McSherry and McGoldrick were again called upon to record the second album Otherworld. It was after this album that piper Cillian Vallely joined the band.
In 1999, the group signed a three-year contract with Green Linnet Records, and that October released their second album, Otherworld. After releasing The Merry Sisters of Fate and Redwood with the label, they terminated their contract. In 2000 they appeared on A Thistle and Shamrock Christmas Ceilidh.
In 2004, Lúnasa signed up with Compass Records and recorded The Kinnitty Sessions before a live audience in Kinnitty Castle, County Offaly. That same year, Donogh Hennessy left the group. He subsequently recorded an album as a duet with Pauline Scanlon - previously of the Sharon Shannon band - the culmination of a project entitled 'Deora De', an album comprising tunes and songs. Hennessy was eventually replaced by Tim Edey and Paul Meehan who each played half the tracks on the album Sé. Tim Edey left shortly after, and Paul Meehan became the band's guitarist.
Released in April 2010, the band released an album, Lá Nua, the first release on the band's own record label, Lúnasa Records. That same month, the band also performed on the Natalie Merchant album Leave Your Sleep. Meehan left the group in late 2011 and was replaced by Ed Boyd.
In 2018 the band released another album CAS.
The group tours for a majority of each year and has performed in the Americas, Europe and Asia.