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Dana Lyn & Kyle Sanna

“Fiddler Dana Lyn and guitarist Kyle Sanna are first-rate, versatile musicians and also concerned environmentalists” – The New Yorker

“Ground-breaking” – folklorist Mick Moloney

“Bursting with creativity” – fiddler Kevin Burke

“Dana Lyn and Kyle Sanna have figured out how to express Irish music as a truly universal music language.” – fiddler Martin Hayes

Hailed as “first-rate, versatile musicians” by The New Yorker and “a top-notch fiddle-and-guitar duo” by The New York Times, Dana Lyn and Kyle Sanna connect the dots between their experience as composers and improvisers in New York City’s rich musical community and their deep admiration for traditional Irish music. Rooted in this tradition, the branches of Lyn and Sanna’s collaboration extend to include projected animations, augmented reality, dance, video, and orchestral compositions. The duo has collaborated with some of the greatest interpreters of Irish music, including Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill, Cillian Vallely, Kevin Burke, and Mick McAuley, and with choreographers Darrah Carr Byrne and Seán Curran. They have received commissions from New York’s Irish Arts Center and from Palaver Strings. Their projects “The Great Arc”, “The Coral Suite”, and “Under the Sea-Wind” are focused on themes of environmental fragility.


Brooklyn-based visual artist and composer Dana Lyn has performed with Tony Award-winning songwriters Stew and Heidi Rodewald, actor-directors Ethan Hawke and Vincent D’Onofrio, 2017 MacArthur Fellow Taylor Mac, D’Angelo, Bruce Springsteen, Natalie Merchant, and Irish poet Louis de Paor, among others. She has received commissions from Brooklyn Rider, the National Arts Council of Ireland, the Apple Hill String Quartet, violinist Johnny Gandelsman, violist Nicholas Cords, A Far Cry, Palaver Strings and the New Orchestra of Washington. Her theater credits include the Public Theater’s production of Hamlet (Shakespeare in the Park, 2008); The Cherry Orchard and The Winter’s Tale (The Bridge Project at BAM, 2009), Clive, (The New Group, 2013); Family Album (Oregon Shakespeare Festival, 2014). She currently plays in the band of the Tony and Grammy Award-winning musical, Hadestown.

She has made eight albums as a bandleader or co-bandleader and has created album art for five of them; she has made stop-motion animated music videos for her own music as well as for Taylor Mac, Slim Bone Head Volt (her spoken-word and music collaboration with Vincent D’Onofrio), children’s artist Elena Moon Park, poet Louis de Paor, her duo with guitarist Kyle Sanna, and acclaimed woodwind players Ben Goldberg and Mike McGinnis. She has written music for short films, New York Times’ audio stories and for dance. Her contributions to the Ken Burns documentary American Holocaust were called “sublime” by The Boston Globe. Dana is also a well-versed fiddle player in the Irish tradition (that is a whole other story).

Her own musical projects include the sextet “Mother Octopus“, her aforementioned collaborations with D’Onofrio, Sanna, and De Paor, and a string trio with cellist Marika Hughes and violinist Charlie Burnham. She performs with Taylor Mac’s 24 Decades of Popular Music in 24 Hours and Holiday Sauce, “Notes of a Native Song” by Stew and the Negro Problem, and the Hank Roberts Sextet. Dana was an artist-in-residence at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in the Spring of 2017, a member of the Joe’s Pub Working Group in 2018, and an awardee of the American Composers Forum Create Commission, also in 2018. Most recently, she was a recipient of a 2020 NYFA Women’s Fund Award for Media, Music and Theater and a Sundance Composer Lab Fellow in 2021, and her radio play with De Paor received a Gold Award at the 2022 New York Festivals Radio Awards. Her recently released album “A Point on a Slow Curve (In-a-Circle Records)” is a suite of music for septet and four voices; “brilliantly capturing the rigours and abandon of creativity (A Closer Listen)”, it has been featured on WNYC’s New Sounds program and noted for it “singular expressionism, incorporating forms common to the modern jazz idiom alongside chamber, choir, folk, and avant-garde (Dave Sumner, The Bird is the Worm).”


Hailed by The New Yorker as a “first-rate, versatile musician”, guitarist Kyle Sanna’s musical practice includes composition, improvisation, the recording studio, coding, and the traditional music of Ireland.

His compositions have been performed at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie, the Royal Opera House in Oman, Sydney’s ABC studios, the National Recital Hall in Taipei, New York’s Carnegie Hall, and many points between. WNYC’s New Sounds and Soundcheck host John Schaefer called his music “unconventionally beautiful.”

Kyle Sanna has received commissions from Brooklyn Rider, The Knights, Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra, Palaver Strings, Beta Collide, soprano Danielle Birrittella, and flutist Alex Sopp. Festival acceptances include the International Symposium on Electronic Art, The Oregon Bach Festival, and Art Basel Miami Beach. His “ruminative and shape-shifting” (San Francisco Chronicle) work for string quartet, Sequence for Minor White, won First Prize in the 2018 Charlotte New Music Festival Composition Competition. His music appeared on the 2022 PBS documentary “The U.S. and the Holocaust” by Ken Burns, Lynn Novick, and Sarah Botstein.

Kyle Sanna has arranged music for Béla Fleck, Jan Vogler, Anne-Sofie Von Otter, Martin Hayes, and for Yo-Yo Ma on two Grammy Award-winning albums: 2010’s “Songs of Joy and Peace” and 2016’s “Sing Me Home” with Silkroad. His arrangements have appeared on The Colbert Report, NPR’s Performance Today, and on the Sony Classical, Sony Masterworks, In a Circle, and Naïve labels.

In addition to his composing and arranging, Sanna performs regularly as an improvising guitarist with Kinan Azmeh’s CityBand and Ground Patrol, and performs music based in the Irish tradition with the Seamus Egan Project, Martin Hayes and the Common Ground Ensemble, and a duo with violinist Dana Lyn. He is equally at home in the recording studio as on the stage, and has produced nine full-length albums by various artists.

Kyle Sanna studied jazz at the University of Oregon and composition at the Université Lumière Lyon II in France. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.


Lunch Hour Concert: Wednesday, September 27, 2023 @ 12:30pm in Parrish Parlors

Traditional Irish Music Workshop: Wednesday, September 27, 2023 @ 4:30pm in Lang Concert Hall

Performance of "Coral Suite" through the Fetter Chamber Music Program: Friday, November 17, 2023 @ 8pm in Lang Concert Hall

Swarthmore College encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please contact Susan Smythe, ADA Program Manager at 610-690-2063 in advance of your participation or visit.