On Thursday 2 October we welcome Andrew Cronshaw & SANS to Cecil Sharp House. Having released their first album as a collective, SANS Live, in April this year, this unique ensemble draws inspiration from musical traditions found across the globe.
"A subtle, at times gently unsettling album in which ancient laments from around the Baltic are fused with themes from England, Scotland and Armenia. Exquisite." Robin Denselow, The Guardian
This multiculturalism is clearly reflected in the instrumentation; Andrew handles an intriguing array of instruments including the zither, the Slovak fujara, the Chinese ba-wu and many more from countries as diverse as Finland and Madagascar. Tigran Aleksanyan plays the duduk, the oboe-like national instrument of Armenia, a sound used notably in a number of film soundtracks including Gladiator, Harry Potter and Avatar. The addition of Ian Blake’s bass clarinet, soprano saxophone and other instruments from closer to home makes for a truly global sonic world.
The line-up is completed by singer Sanna Kurki-Suonio, who has a doctorate in ethnic vocal techniques to her name. Her voice is very much as an instrument in its own right, complementing her bandmates’ instrumental soundscapes with her unique vocal sound, informed by her deep understanding of ancient Finnish runo-song. These diverse timbres come together to create music influenced by Armenian melodies, ancient Finnish songs and English folksong; a sound which is both haunting and intimately beautiful.
Their performance at WOMAD this summer was met with excellent reviews; their album given the highest praise. Expect an evening of music that will captivate, enchant and transport you to a whole new musical landscape.
"SANS, Andrew Cronshaw’s quartet of UK, Finnish and Armenian personnel, are riveting. Taking their place on the Ecotricity stage among the trees of the arboretum, they play weightless drifting drones and soundscapes that pick you up and deposit you somewhere else entirely. Twin wind instruments – reeds and duduk – interact with Cronshaw’s zither, fujara and kantele and the Finnish folk voice of Sanna Kurki-Suonio. Categorise as 'otherworldly'." The Irish Times, of SANS's WOMAD set