Canter Single Release Úna Monaghan & Lyra Pramuk

Úna Monaghan, harpist, composer and sound engineer in collaboration with Berlin-based artist Lyra Pramuk release their new single CANTER on 9 July 2021. The two artists met in the United States in 2013. In the intervening years Úna has held artist residencies in Paris, Montréal and Cambridge, releasing her debut album ‘For’ in 2018. Lyra released her debut album ‘Fountain’ in 2020. They sought to reconnect to explore possibilities for collaboration and during a weekend of experimentation this track CANTER came to be. A moment of time encapsulating a personal and professional relationship of respect and curiosity.

Speaking on the release Úna says:

“I wanted us to meet up without expectation or pressure and see what we produced, so we organised to meet at Lyra’s studio in Berlin for some experimentation. There wasn’t necessarily a requirement or a certainty that we would have an outcome, or that anything would be released. It is great when that is possible – things are wide open –  and this track came out of that time. We both enjoy combining acoustic and electronic elements. It doesn’t have a specific theme or subject matter; instead it captures that weekend – elements of a feeling, a relationship, and a time.”

Lyra says:

“It was a beautiful moment of reconnecting spontaneously – meeting each other at different points on our creative journeys after a few years, meeting again. I really wanted to try to help bring out the voice of Úna and her harp within the musique concrete language I work in. And I am still so happy we did it. For me I really wanted to facilitate Úna’s sound blending in some elements of my production voice to create something that would feel both new and timeless, and reverent toward the musical histories Úna represents.”

The track was mixed by TJ Allen, who brought a new perspective to the open texures and sounds. Artwork for this track was produced by visual artist Fionnuala McGowan. CANTER featured as part of The MAC Belfast’s video series “Home – Noli Timere”; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcGquZxHP4w&t=35s .

Úna Monaghan is an Irish harper, composer and sound engineer. Harnessing her background in Irish traditional music, live electronics, experimental music and improvised music, Úna creates a unique sound.  Úna performs with harp and electronics and released her debut album ‘For’ in 2018.

Lyra Pramuk fuses classical vocalism, pop sensibilities, performance practices and contemporary club culture in what can best be described as futurist folk music. Citing musical collaborators such as Holly Herndon and Colin Self, collaborations with the visual artist Donna Huanca, freelance writing projects, and an ongoing international performance schedule, there are a variety of creative nodes that come to feed back into Lyra’s practice. Lyra is based in Berlin, Germany. Previous works include ‘Fountain’ (2020).

CANTER will be released digitally on Bandcamp and on all streaming and online stores on Friday July 9 2021.

Visit: https://unamonaghan.bandcamp.com/releases for more information.

Úna Monaghan – Harp

Lyra Pramuk – Soundscape, Samples

Produced by Úna Monaghan & Lyra Pramuk

Composed by Úna Monaghan & Lyra Pramuk

Mixed by TJ Allen

Mastered by Shawn Joseph

Artwork by Fionnuala McGowan

Sound Experiment

Ita Monaghan and Úna Monaghan

16-18 June 2018

This month I collaborated with Ita Monaghan to produce “Sound Experiment” in the Old Labs at Newnham College.

 

The Old Labs at Newnham College was built as a chemical laboratory towards the end of the 19th century. Women students were not permitted to access the main laboratories in Cambridge University, which was only open to men.

With this installation we think of the overlap between science and creativity. Creativity, often imagined as being magical and spontaneous, may have process and structure. Scientific enquiry, characterised as methodical and logical, can have moments of realisation and sudden unexpected ideas.

The Old Labs at Newnham are now used as an arts venue, but some artefacts still remain on display in the foyer. Chief among these is an original fume cupboard, in which we conduct our sound experiment.

What byproducts, no longer extracted, influence the observers? Samples of sound are taken by our sample in the test tube, and the other microphone observer. We think of interactions between elements and interactions between people.

We think of the unintended consequences of experiments which lead to other unexpected discoveries; our work as artists lead to responses from audience that we may never discover. A fume cupboard is one of the few places we can control a reaction.

Air protected, floating test tubes. Controlled environments for experiments and gallery environments for art.
Is the fume cupboard open? Is the gallery closed? Is the artwork accessible? Is the methodology accepted? Are the standards rigorous?

There are limitations to our experiments, our language and our communication.
The control experiment is fleeting – we cannot tell what you take away because we don’t know what you are bringing.

You can hear thoughts on this topic from Cambridge researchers at the listening post opposite. We are all both scientists and artists. We all sample, isolate, investigate, consider, test, expect, combine, define, compare and classify.

Live Sound Engineering Mentorship Scheme for Women

I am so happy to present this in partnership with An Droichead Belfast. If you are a woman who would love to work in live sound engineering, read the information below and get in touch. You don’t need experience. You do need passion and energy. I will give my time and knowledge. Trad / acoustic gigs, on the job. Please share so that we can contact everyone who might want to take part, by 20th April.

 

TÁ AN DROICHEAD, LE TACAÍOCHT Ó ÚNA MONAGHAN AG CUR AN DEIS SEO AR FÁIL DO BHEAN THAR 18 A BHFUIL SUIM AICÍ BHEITH AG OBAIR LE CEOL BEO. CUIREANN MUID FÁILTE ROIMH IARRTHÓIRÍ A BHFUIL SUIM ACU I GCÚRSAÍ FUAIME AGUS I LÉIRIÚ IMEACHTAÍ CEOIL.

An Droichead in partnership with Úna Monaghan are looking for a woman aged 18+ to take part in a pilot mentoring scheme, as an assistant sound engineer at An Droichead. Úna Monaghan is a live sound engineer specialising in traditional music and experimental music. She has worked for some of the biggest names in Irish traditional music worldwide. www.unamonaghan.com

This is a casual role, and will involve working at the An Droichead concert series. We are looking for someone who wants to work in sound engineering to help at the gigs, and hope to combine this with learning and training in a career path that can be difficult to access, especially for women.

Previous experience is not necessary, but would be an advantage. You must be very keen to work in live sound with primarily acoustic instruments and with music technology, with a view to a career in this area. We need someone who is energetic, enthusiastic, pro-active and willing to listen and work hard.

Other desirable qualities are:

· Irish language speaker or learner

· specific interest in traditional music

· ability to play a musical instrument

Please send a CV and 500 words on what your existing level of knowledge is and why you want to take part in the mentoring scheme to Claire@androichead.com before 12pm Friday 20th April.

Fee will be provided, amount to be finalised and training will be provided free of charge. (Where possible in a live gig environment!)

We will hold interviews on Wednesday 25th April 2018.

http://www.androichead.com/whats-on/2018/4/9/deis-women-engineer-mentorship-scheme

What Haven’t We Heard?

I wrote a new piece called “What Haven’t We Heard?” about gender balance in Irish traditional music. It had its first performance at IMBOLC Festival on 31 January 2018. I am very grateful to IMBOLC and Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin in Derry for comissioning the piece, with assistance from Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Here is a video about the work, and a video of the first performance.

What haven’t we heard?
voice, harp, live electronics, tape

Composed by Úna Monaghan, 2018
Written for and Performed by Pauline Scanlon  http://www.paulinescanlon.net
Song lyrics from a poem by Maureen Boyle, named ‘Weather Vane’

This is a piece about gender balance in traditional music.
It is in three parts, which I call Data, Context and Experience.
I. Data
This section uses the percentage gender splits in different contexts in traditional music in 2017; the percentages of women and men involved in festivals, awards and performances. I imagine the notes of a tune as voices, and what we might hear when those voices aren’t equally represented.
II. Context
The song in this section uses words from the poem ‘Weather Vane’ by Maureen Boyle. The events are very recent, and are a result of attitudes that are still painfully slow to change.
III. Experience
I asked people involved in traditional music to share with me their stories of inequality, on an open online call. I received many accounts, in public and in private. The piece allows for a few to be heard from the pile of cards on which I’ve written them. This section calls for lines from the repertoire of the performer, which counteract the stories. The performer must improvise between statements, the live capturing and processing of her voice, and her own song.

I am grateful to Maureen Boyle for permission to use her poem. ‘Weather Vane’ won the Strokestown Poetry Competition in 2007 and is to be found in her debut collection ‘The Work of a Winter’ published by Arlen House Press, Dublin, in 2017.

I am grateful to the people who shared their stories of recent times when they felt things weren’t quite fair. While some are shocking, most are subtle. It is the many small instances over the course of a life that result in the big glaring reality, so we need many voices, and to view them collectively.

This piece was commissioned by IMBOLC International Music Festival, Derry, 2018, with assistance from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. This video was recorded a the premiere on 31 January 2018.

 

FairPlé

 

FairPle

FairPlé is a movement that aims to achieve gender balance in the production, performance, promotion, and development of Irish traditional and folk music. We advocate for equal opportunity and balanced representation for all.

 

The website and mission statement are here: https://www.fairple.com/home-3/

While there is a marked imbalance in representation professionally and on festival lineups, I believe that the roots of the problem begin very early.  Body language in sessions; the methods of sharing or playing traditional music favour confidence; expectations that women look or sound a certain way, or even play a certain instrument.  This movement is for all, and I hope it impacts on all the ways in which we play, learn and share traditional music. Get in touch here: https://www.fairple.com/contact-1/   or on Facebook and Twitter: @fairple

In an effort to provide a resource for festivals, promoters, venues, musicians and educators, we are compiling a directory of female folk and traditional musicians worldwide. Please submit your details here: https://www.fairple.com/submissions/

And support us on social media using the #FairPlé !

This movement is for everyone.

IMBOLC Festival, Derry

I have written a new piece for fiddle and live electronics, called Who Do You Play For?, first performed by Paddy Glackin at the IMBOLC festival in Derry, 31 January 2017. In addition to text I had written, the piece also featured the voices and words of poets Ciaran Carson and Cathal Ó Searcaigh. Here is a short video about the event!

Montréal Music

I really enjoyed giving an artist talk and performance yesterday. The venue, Casa del Popolo, is a super place, with new and experimental music on every night, and seems very artist orientated. Peter Burton and the staff there are great, and they host the Suoni per il Popolo festival every summer. Highly recommended. Anyway, after the talk and some jigs, I played several of my pieces with improvisation, electronics, motion sensor, pitch detection, Max MSP. I have had a new motion sensor delivered here by x-io technologies, and it has been very reliable, as well as providing new functionality, which I used in the new piece Luas Láimhe, written while in Montréal. Thanks to audience for their feedback, and interesting and thought provoking questions – we covered sean nós drones, existing improvisation in Irish traditional music,  feedback in electronics, embracing / improvising around technological inconsistencies, lots of great artists and musicians doing related work, control of silencing the electronics, potential tension between the contemporary and traditional parts of practice. I then spent the evening trawling an extensive record collection and listening to Alice Coltrane and John Cage. A highlight was The Piano Music of Henry Cowell, his 1953 record referencing lots of Irish traditional music in fascinating ways and through really innovative sounds. That was a suggestion from the audience too!

Thanks to everyone who came and contributed, the atmosphere was indicative of the scene as I’ve experienced it here in Montréal – inclusive, interested and warm, with vibrant, diverse artwork going on everywhere. Special thanks to Prof. Eric Lewis and Dr. Sheetal Lodhia at IPLAI for the invitation, and providing me with an inspiring place to work this summer. I also appreciate the support of the Ireland Canada University Foundation and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

Una Monaghan and Eric Lewis Una Monaghan

Artist Talk + Performance

I will be giving a talk about my work (30 min) and a performance of some of my works for irish harp, and harp + electronics (30 min) followed by short discussion / Q&A. This will include information from my recently completed PhD on New Technologies and Experimental Practices in Contemporary Irish Traditional Music, previous artistic projects in sound art and music, and my ongoing work begun during this residency at the Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas (IPLAI), supported by the Ireland Canada University Foundation and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland..

Thursday 14th July

Casa del Popolo: 4873 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Montreal, Quebec H2T1R5

Doors @ 3.15pm, Event starts @ 3.30pm
Free + All welcome!

 

I’m in Montréal!

I am very happy to be in Montréal as an artist in residence and visiting researcher at the Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas, at McGill University (IPLAI). I will be developing my work for Irish harp and live electronics. This visit is made possible through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s Support for the Individual Artist Fund, and the Ireland Canada University Foundation’s James M. Flaherty Research Scholarship.