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
One of the strongest, most expressive voices to have come out of Ireland belongs to Dublin native Susan McKeown. Her powerful pipes create a primal sound that comes from an adventurous musical spirit. The strong, richly colored contralto and the enlivening intelligence of her songs marked Susan as a distinctive talent upon the release of her debut album Bones (SNG 1995). The GRAMMY award-winning vocalist and BBC Folk Award nominee has gone on to record eleven more albums spanning the realms of world music and rock and has performed with Pete Seeger, Natalie Merchant, Mary Margaret O'Hara, Linda Thompson, Billy Bragg, The Klezmatics, Mariachi Real de Mexico, Ensemble Tartit, Flook, Lúnasa, Andy Irvine and Johnny Cunningham. Susan’s own music has been featured in documentary programs on PBS, BBC, RTE, and ABC (Australia) and she has frequently performed on NPR and PRI.
She walks on the wild side of Gaelic melody.
- BOSTON GLOBE
Susan grew up in Dublin, Ireland where she was greatly influenced by her mother, an organist and composer. As a teenager she abandoned a promised opera career, choosing instead to sing folk and original songs on the streets of her native city. In 1990 with a Travel Bursary from The Arts Council and a Kaliber Arts Achievement Award she left for New York City to take up a scholarship to attend The American Musical & Dramatic Academy.
Settling in the East Village in 1990 Susan started out as an actress but soon gained a reputation as a vocalist and songwriter. She has forged her own creative path in a personal journey of self-discovery, drawing influences from sources as far flung as the words of Chief Seattle, the poetry of Emily Dickinson and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and the epic Irish legend of The Táin.
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 The New Victory Theatre in
New York in May 2010.
"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
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