Musikfest Performer Profile: Runa

Irish folk band will play at Liederplatz tonight.

It’s a chance for the residents of Bethlehem to get caught up in the “green wave” of Irish music that has been flooding pop-culture and pop-music. Tonight, the Irish folk band Runa will perform at Musikfest's Liederplatz stage at 9 p.m.

For the past year, thanks to bands like Mumford and Sons, The Script, the Two Door Cinema Club and, of course, U2, the American music scene has embraced the music and musicians from the “Emerald Isle” and Runa is thrilled to ride the proverbial wave.

“It is really nice to see that there is a place for Irish music and Irish music done well,” said Shannon Lambert-Ryan, of Runa. “There is a real move to contemporize the genre but keep it to its traditional roots.”

She said that many Irish performers have incorporated jazz, bluegrass and even African and Spanish sounds to give it an eclectic feel. “This is the sort of music that people from any generation can understand and identify with,” said Lambert-Ryan, who grew up in Allentown. “It’s the kind of music that is uplifting, that people can dance to it and it is the kind of music people like to hear.”

People are hearing the music of Runa as Lambert-Ryan said that her band has traveled all over the country, including Michigan, Colorado, Ohio and Kansas and even into Canada. The band has performed at festivals and concerts and the feedback has been amazing. “We just signed with a manager from Arizona,” she said. “And we are really excited about it.”

She said that 2011 has been a big year for Runa as they released their latest album “Stretched on Your Grave” in March and the band just celebrated their third anniversary earlier this month.

Runa began performing together of 2008. It consisted of Lambert-Ryan, her husband, Fionan de Barra (who worked with the famed Maire Brennan) and drummer Cheryl Prashker. Along the road, the band added violinist Tomoko Omura and Isaac Alderson on pipes.

Lambert-Ryan said that the Saturday night performance would be sans pipe-player but the band will still put on an amazing show. “We are really are looking forward to this,” said Lambert-Ryan. “I know the area really well after having grown up in Allentown nearby and also I went to Muhlenberg College.”

To get a feel for Runa and their music and to see why the band is part of the wave of Irish music, Lambert-Ryan is encouraging people to stop by Runa’s website here and visit their video here.

“It really is exciting to see this generation of musicians finding their roots musically, and we glad to be a part of it,” said Lambert-Ryan.


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