Hailed as a “top-notch fiddle-and-guitar duo” by The New York Times, Dana Lyn and Kyle Sanna shine a light on traditional Irish music with their compositions and improvised melodies. Rooted in New York City’s musical community, they’re known for their integration of visual arts and environmental themes with traditional Irish folk music. They have worked with several renowned interpreters of Irish music such as Martin Hayes, Dennis Cahill, Cillian Vallely, Kevin Burke, and Mick McAuley. This year, the duo are featured artists for the Swarthmore Music Program, giving students and the community several chances to see and learn from them. On September 27th, they’ll perform a lunch hour concert in Parrish Parlor at 12:30 p.m., followed by a workshop on traditional Irish music in Lang Concert Hall at 4:00 p.m., and in November, they’ll perform their piece Coral Suite with a student Fetter Chamber Group.
Dana Lyn is a visual artist and composer based in Brooklyn. She’s worked with Tony Award-winning songwriters and actor-directors like Heidi Rodewald and Bruce Springsteen. Some of her accolades include awardee of the American Composers Forum Create Commission, the NYFA Women’s Fund Award for Media, Music and Theater, and a Gold Award from the 2022 New York Festivals Radio Awards. Her catalog includes eight albums from groups she has led or co-lead. Her personal projects include Mother Octopus, collaborations with Vincent D’Onofrio, Kyle Sanna, Louis De Paor, Marika Hughes, and Charlie Burnham, and more. She’s created stop motion animated music videos for Taylor Mac, Slim Bone Head Volt, Ben Goldberg and Mike McGinnis, as well as her own releases. Her work in the recent Ken Burns documentary American Holocaust was called “sublime” by The Boston Globe. You can view some of her music and videos by clicking here.
Guitarist Kyle Sanna is a musician, composer, and improviser who also works in production and coding. He studied jazz at the University of Oregon and composition at the Université Lumière Lyon II. He has had compositions performed at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie, commissions from Brooklyn Rider, and arranged music for Béla Fleck. Two of his arrangements for Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble are included in Grammy Award-winning albums, Songs of Joy and Peace and Sing Me Home respectively. He regularly performs with Kinan Azmeh’s CityBand and Ground Patrol as an improvisational guitarist. Music grounded in Irish tradition can be heard from him when he performs with the Seamus Egan Project, Martin Hayes and the Common Ground Ensemble, and, of course, Dana Lyn.
The duo’s upcoming lunch hour concert will be held on September 27 in Parrish East Parlors at 12:30 p.m. The performance will be followed by a workshop in the Lang Concert Hall at 4:00 p.m. that focuses on the unique skill set that playing an aural tradition requires. Students will learn a tune, break down its phrasing, and learn rudimentary ornamentation techniques. The common tune types (reels, jigs, hornpipes, slow airs) will be discussed. Topics may also include accompaniment, regional styles, session playing, and tensions between tradition and innovation in the 21st century. The lunch hour concert and workshop are free and open to the public. The duo will be on campus throughout the semester to work with students in the classrooms and rehearse with the student Fetter Chamber Music group with a final performance of The Coral Suite on Friday, November 17th at 8pm.