Susan McKeown

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Rock - General | New York, United States
Total Song Plays: 2,026   
Member Since: 2009
   Last Login: over 30 days ago

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Susan McKeown - Press Reviews

Editorial Reviews
Susan McKeown not only has one of the finest voices in contemporary Irish music, she has wedded a profound under¬standing of the traditional songs of Ireland with an adventurous musical spirit. On Lowlands, her second collection of traditional songs, her connection with the roots of Celtic music is so deep that when she mixes instruments like the kora (African harp), erhu (Chinese fiddle), and tabla (Indian drum) with the less exotic violin, guitar, and tin whistle the results sound absolutely right. McKeown moved from her native Dublin to New York in 1990, an event that she says paradoxically made her feel more Irish. Songs like "The Snows They Melt the Soonest," which features the fiddling of Johnny Cunningham, and "The Lowlands of Holland," a lament about a lover's death at sea, are infused with the sense of loss and longing that haunt the emigrant in a new land. On Lowlands Susan McKeown performs a rare feat of artistic alchemy by transforming sorrow into beauty. -Michael Simmons

From Rhythm Magazine
One of the strongest, most expressive voices in Celtic music belongs to Dublin native Susan McKeown. Her powerful pipes mix equal parts Sandy Denny and Siniad O'Connor, creating a primal sound that would guarantee stardom if she sang pop or rock. That inevitable climb may take just a little longer since Ms. McKeown is not content to sing obvious songs in a typical way. She looks for buried traditional treasures and then adds interesting instrumentation to massage her supple tones. Johnny Cunningham, Joanie Madden, Glen Moore, Jamshied Sharifi and other special guests are outstanding, but it is McKeown's voice that demands attention. Lowlands is this artist's fifth release but her first for Green Linnet. Poised to win a larger audience, Susan McKeown is ready for the spotlight she so definitely deserves, and will undoubtedly get. -James Rodgers

"A singer of passion, grace and striking presence; she seems to personify both past and present."
Irish Examiner

"Music that lives and breathes in the wider world." Q MAGAZINE

"Think Frida Kahlo crossed with Oumou Sangare." - The Irish Times

"McKeown grabbed both song and audience by the throat, dragged them through heaven and hell and back again, and left the stage to the loudest applause heard all evening." - Rolling Stone

"one of the most powerful and distinctive voices in Irish music" - The Irish Voice

Susan McKeown - Biography

She walks on the wild side of Gaelic melody.
- BOSTON GLOBE

Once heard, you would never take Susan McKeown for anyone else. This year's Grammy-winning album 'Wonder Wheel' from The Klezmatics, features Susan on lead and harmony vocals throughout; her strong, richly colored contralto soaring on the dramatic survival anthem "Gonna Get Through This World".

A singer of passion, grace and striking presence with the ability to capture both the essence of a traditional folk song or the more hard-edged domain of contemporary adult rock; she seems to personify both past and present.
- IRISH EXAMINER

After singing on the streets of her native Dublin as a teenager, Susan left for New York with a bursary from The Arts Council of Ireland and a scholarship to the American Musical & Dramatic Academy, and soon became a regular performer at the legendary East Village club Sin-É. The enlivening intelligence of her songs marked Susan as a distinctive talent. Her debut album 'Bones' (1995) garnered wide critical acclaim, established her reputation as an inventive songwriter with a powerful voice, and set her on the road to an international touring and recording career.

Along the way she has boldly yet lovingly re-imagined Celtic music, bringing it immeasurably enhanced - yet spiritually intact - into the new era of world music. Her album 'Sweet Liberty' (2004 World Village/Harmonia Mundi) drew accolades and a BBC Music Award nomination for her beautiful arrangements and collaborations with the groups Mariachi Real de Mexico and Ensemble Tartit. Audi licensed a song from her "Bushes & Briars" (1998 Alula) album for their national 'Father & Daughter' television campaign.

Ten albums later Susan has a catalog of music that solidly spans the realms of world music and rock and along the way she has worked with such luminaries as Natalie Merchant, Linda Thompson, Pete Seeger, Mary Margaret O'Hara, Billy Bragg, Arlo Guthrie, Andy Irvine, Flook, Lúnasa, and the Scots fiddle master Johnny Cunningham.

If there's some dividing line between Celtic traditionalism and eclectic contemporary songwriting, McKeown refuses to acknowledge it. And with a voice as warm, resonant and versatile as hers, why should she?
- THE OREGONIAN

McKeown has been praised in the pages of Time Magazine and Rolling Stone and has appeared on various NPR programs (All Things Considered, A Prairie Home Companion, New Sounds Live, Mountain Stage and The Infinite Mind) as well as on the nationally televised CBS This Morning and Sessions at West 54th Street. Her powerful, emotive delivery and unique approach to a lyric have made Susan the vocalist of choice for documentary film soundtracks on CBS, Discovery Channel and PBS American Masters, as well as for prestigious theatre companies such as San Jose Repertory Theatre and Mabou Mines: Susan contributes lead vocals to the latter's production of Peter & Wendy which plays Arena Stage in Washington, DC in May and June of 2007.

"McKeown grabbed both song and audience by the throat, dragged them through heaven and hell and back again, and left the stage to the loudest applause heard all evening." - ROLLING STONE