Despite challenges posed by Covid-19, the past year has been an exciting one for Ambient Neoclassical Pianist/Composer Úna Keane. A classically trained pianist with a background in Tech, she mines deep. Her work lives + breathes in a unique, multi-disciplinary space incorporating piano, electronics, field recordings, movement & film.
The Dubliner released critically-acclaimed Live Album ‘Collaborations’ at the end of 2020 on digital format. Named Irish Album of the year by Broadsheet.ie, it garnered a glowing 8.5/10 review from Hot Press and 4 stars from The Irish Times. It features work from her last 2 LPs, as well as some new work and in-the-flow improv. She played a headline show at Dublin’s Pepper Canister Church on March 5th 2020 (a week before lockdown), and was joined on the night by some very special guests: Stephen Shannon, Liam Ó’Maonlaí, Lōwli, Gareth Quinn Redmond & Ronán Conroy. What ensued was a lot of improv, between musicians playing with one another mostly for the first time. Something special happened, and everyone felt it. The concert was recorded, mixed and mastered by Adam KJ, and Úna and Adam co-produced.
Bolstered by the warm reception to the record, she founded a record label, UKM with a couple of friends, and ‘Collaborations’ gets its Vinyl / CD / Streaming release via UKM on 16/7/21.
Just a few months before Covid hit, at the end of 2019, Úna released sophomore instrumental Album ‘In the Deep’ with shows at D-Light Studios in Dublin and Servant Jazz Quarters in London. Lauren Murphy, reviewing for The Irish Times drew comparisons to the work of Ólafur Arnalds and Max Richter, citing her use of looped tracks and field recordings, while RTE 2FM’s Dan Hegarty heralded it as a “stunning piece of work that will have you floating from tears to joy“. Of her work over the past few years, Tony Clayton-Lea has named her “probably one of the best exponents of instrumental music that comes from a quiet, calm place”.
She’s been wearing quite a few hats the past few years: composer, musician, producer, graphic designer, film editor, PR and radio liaison. This all ties in with Keane’s self-sufficient, DIY approach. It’s not that she would necessarily choose to do all these things, but necessity, as they say, is the mother of invention.