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”; .

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: 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

Úna Monaghan in the Sculpture Gallery at Hugh Lane

I’m playing in the sculpture gallery at the Hugh Lane gallery Dublin on Saturday 15 August – two sets of harp + electronics at 1pm and 3pm. It’s brilliant to have an opportunity to play out again! Will be bringing some special new bronzes by Nóirín Nic Alastair to play to – installed for one day only.

The gallery is free. Audience will be moving past due to Covid restrictions. Do join if you’re around.



Aonaracht I is a collection of six pieces for solo traditional musician and computer. Each piece is a unique combination of the traditional musician, their instrument, and electronics.

Úna Monaghan harp, electronics, composition
Paddy Glackin fiddle
Saileog Ní Cheannabháin piano
Pauline Scanlon voice
Jack Talty concertina
Nóirín Nic Alastair sculpture

Sound Engineer: Tim Matthew
Producer: Emily Moore

27 Feb, 21:30 – 22:45
The Studio & Carolan Room, National Concert Hall, Earlsfort Terrace, Saint Kevin’s, Dublin 2, Ireland

“Group playing is another modern fashion to be avoided….Traditional playing, it must be remembered, is of its very nature a personal expression, and the restraint demanded in playing in a band or other ensemble kills the spirit which animates it.”
From Breathnach: Folk Music and Dances of Ireland, 1971.

“Traditional music is often thought of and enjoyed in group contexts. I wanted to think of the traditional instrument as it is to the player – first and foremost a private relationship between one person and their instrument. What might it be like if something of that relationship was heard alongside the acoustic instrument? Can technology be used to sound the world of traditional music beyond the tunes?
Each piece has a different theme. Each features a custom-made relationship with the computer, involving fixed media, electroacoustic sound, field recordings, improvisation and live electronics. I worked on this collection with specific players in mind, and shaped the coding and sound for each.” Úna Monaghan

This is an interdisciplinary project involving poetry, sound and visual art, fixed media, field recordings, improvisation and live electronics.
Aonaracht was developed as part of Úna Monaghan’s Liam O’Flynn Award. The Liam O’Flynn Award is a joint initiative of the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon and the National Concert Hall/An Ceoláras Náisiúnta as part of their partnership for the promotion, appreciation and enjoyment of traditional arts.

Part of New Music Dublin Festival 2020

NEO NEO #9 Úna Monaghan w/ Conan McIvor & Nóirín Nic Alastair

NEO NEO #9 Una Monaghan feat. Conan McIvor & Noirin Nic Alastair
Saturday 15 February, 8:30 pm
Suitability: 18+

This very special improvised performance in surround sound combines traditional music, sound art, movement sensors, surrounded by the bronze sculptures of Nóirín Nic Alastair and reacting to Conan McIvor’s stunning visual piece “My Heart’s a Flutter.”
Support from NEO NEO DJ’s.

NEO NEO showcases high quality contemporary music and visual art through live events with a focus on experimental electronic performance, new technology and collaborative practices. Each curated event features music creators and artists commissioned to respond to each others’ practice and present work or works in progress in the format of a unique immersive experience for both performers and audiences.

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.

House Taken Over

I have a fixed media piece in this super art event happening in a house in Belfast over a weekend. The history behind it is fascinating, and the artwork will be equal to it. I am personally fizzing inside to have some work in it. My experience so far in life, is that it’s generally a super thing to be asked to do anything by any of the Hickey family. Great people, great curators and a great project. Take a peek:
A weekend of talks, performances and artist responses within a historical home in South Belfast curated by Hickey + Hickey.

Exhibiting Artists
Sighle BHREATHNACH-CASHELL, Joseph BEUYS, Declan CLARKE, John D’ARCY, Irina GHEORGHE, Allan HUGHES, Tom HUGHES, Dorothy HUNTER, Alexey KRASNOVSKY, Gillian LAWLER, Julie LOVETT, Roseanne LYNCH, Colin MARTIN, Lorcan McGEOUGH, Una MONAGHAN, Maeve O’LYNN, Tullis RENNIE, Penelope WARD, AMINI (Artist’s Moving Image Northern Ireland)

This exhibition is made in response to a recent unexpected discovery about the house. During WW2 it held a secret function as the Northern Irish Intelligence Headquarters for a covert operation involving a network of secret listeners who tuned in to their radio sets in homes across the province listening to enemy communications. The logs recorded by the listeners were forwarded to ‘Heathcote’, where they were transferred directly to codebreakers in Bletchley Park to be decrypted.

For more information, to view the exhibition or to book an event please email us at

Hickey + Hickey is the collaborative curatorial practice of sisters Ciara Hickey (Learning Producer at Hillsborough Castle since 2017, Co-Director of Household Belfast and former Curator at Belfast Exposed) and Nora Hickey M’Sichili (Director of the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris, Ireland’s International Arts Centre, since 2013 and former Director of Mermaid Arts Centre in Bray).

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 at the link 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.

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.



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.

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 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.

Úna Monaghan: Concert at Anglia Ruskin University

Harp + Electronics performance as part of the Anglia Ruskin University Lunchtime Concert Series.

Concert of my compositions for harp, harp and tape, and harp and live electronics…. and maybe also one for concertina and electronics!




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
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.