Cynara

by ANÚNA

/
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    CDNow Review :

    "The Irish choir Anúna is much more than a mere participant in the spectacle that was Riverdance. However, as the wave of interest in that show ebbed, the choir's profile in the U.S. became smaller...Cynara has made it across the Atlantic on the group's own label, and all lovers of accessible, mellifluous choral music should take note.

    Once again, the focus is largely Irish but includes a ringer that fits the overall feel. This time, it's "Riu Riu," a Spanish villancico from the 16th century with lively rhythms but the same ethereal tone as on the group's specialties. It's given an attractive, updating arrangement by director Michael McGlynn, like all the older material here, which includes Irish chants from the 12th and 14th centuries.

    More than on previous albums, McGlynn's original compositions are featured here. Sometimes he sets old texts, one example being "Armarque cum Scuto," a short religious text by Ninth Century Irish writer Sedulius Scottus. More recent texts include the title track, using the poem of the same name by Ernest Dowson (1867-1900).

    The choir's smooth blend and McGlynn's lovely harmonies combine for a most attractive sound that's captured well in an atmospheric recording. It would not be surprising for McGlynn's work to start showing up in the repertoire of other choirs, such is its quality, but it's hard to imagine any other group singing it better."

    Includes unlimited streaming of Cynara via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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about

_________________________

Cynara
Irish Times December 2000.

Choral music is largely confined to the periphery of music, trad included. Michael McGlynn's Anúna cast another stone against the barriers that see medieval church music ghettoised in the festive season and other periods, largely funereal in nature.

Cynara boldly goes where even Anúna has feared to tread before: confident male voices asserting themselves alongside female counterparts, complex harmonies woven in tapestries more vibrant than ever.

The title track is a lonesome ode that strikes a shape both chilling and mournful, while Buachaill Ón Éirne is beautifully unadorned.

On this release, Anuna has finally begun to recognise that less can often be much more.

Siobhán Long
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Cynara
Hot Press December 2000

They may well have danced with the showbizz devil during their Riverdance days, but you can't deny that few Irish bands are keeping it as real as Anúna. Cynara – their first album in nearly five years – sees them return to their original blueprint in impressive style. With material dating from the sixth to the twentieth centuries, this is about as far from the manufactured nonsense of daytime radio as you can possibly get.

The tone of high drama is set from the off with the 14th century chant Igitur Servus, one of the many Irish songs included. While they do certainly drift a little close to the middle of the road at times – I Dreamt that I Dwelt in Marble Halls is just too cutsey – there are enough truly dramatic pieces to make up for it.

Perhaps the best thing about Cynara is that it sets this music in its proper place in the global picture [the drone on Christus 2000 has more than a touch of Tibetan throat singing about it] and it reclaims it from the godawful world of Celtic New ageisim. And in their own quiet way, Anúna are just as radical a band as the likes of At The Drive In and Atari Teenage Riot.

Phil Udell
_________________________

Cynara
CDNOW Senior Editor, Classical March 6, 2002

The Irish choir Anúna is much more than a mere participant in the spectacle that was Riverdance. However, as the wave of interest in that show ebbed, the choir's profile in the U.S. became smaller.

Finally, its 2000 album Cynara has made it across the Atlantic on the group's own label, and all lovers of accessible, mellifluous choral music should take note. Once again, the focus is largely Irish but includes a ringer that fits the overall feel.

This time, it's "Riu Riu," a Spanish villancico from the 16th century with lively rhythms but the same ethereal tone as on the group's specialties. It's given an attractive, updating arrangement by director Michael McGlynn, like all the older material here, which includes Irish chants from the 12th and 14th centuries.

More than on previous albums, McGlynn's original compositions are featured here. Sometimes he sets old texts, one example being "Armaque cum Scuto," a short religious text by Ninth Century Irish writer Sedulius Scottus. More recent texts include the title track, using the poem of the same name by Ernest Dowson (1867-1900). The choir's smooth blend and McGlynn's lovely harmonies combine for a most attractive sound that's captured well in an atmospheric recording.

It would not be surprising for McGlynn's work to start showing up in the repertoire of other choirs, such is its quality, but it's hard to imagine any other group singing it better.

Steve Holtje

credits

released November 30, 2000

Produced by Brian Masterson & Michael McGlynn

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ANÚNA Dublin, Ireland

"...thrilling, life-affirming..."
"...enchanting sonic tapestry..."
"...a place where the heavens meet the horizon..."

Falling into no category easily, Anúna remain at the fringe of contemporary music after over a quarter of a century of life. Timeless, ancient and simultaneously relevant to this world.
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