The date March 5th, 2020 firmly marks the Before time. Before all of this, before social distancing, before utter change. It is also the same date that pianist and contemporary composer Úna Keane played both her debut headline gig and last live show of the year in Dublin’s Pepper Canister Church.
Performing songs from critically acclaimed albums In the Deep (2019) and As I Wake, Still I Dream (2017), her lightness of touch carries through, filling us with wonder for the ethereal worlds she creates in ivory and for the command she holds over a rapt audience in a sacred space. Joined by esteemed guests Stephen Shannon, Liam Ó’Maonlaí, Lowli, Gareth Quinn Redmond and Ronán Conroy to add layers to her layers, Keane loops runs from her own piano and tussles field recordings and samples throughout, the snapping of typewriter bringing us out of a trance.
The applause reminds us of something bigger and, as notes hang, the silence accurately delivers the reverence. With birdsong draping the opening number Silvaticus//Sunrise, life flits from song to song. From soft beginnings to the deafening roar, closing number Seas Ascending comes with sound bites warning us that climate change will gnaw at everything we love eventually. A live release is a rarity in 2020 but the hush and rapture that Keane evokes is something to treasure in more ways than one.