Singers don’t often come with much more history in the craft than Irish-American singer Colleen Raney. She’s been singing for more than three decades, and has been immersed in America’s Celtic music and dance scene for just as long. Raised in Seattle, previously based in New York, and now calling Portland, Oregon home, Raney is a unique and captivating voice in traditional singing.
Only in the last several years has Colleen translated the tapestry of her upbringing in Seattle's multi-talented Raney family into recordings. Her first album, 2008’s Linnet, showcases her aptitude for re-imagining classic Irish songs, as well as her own songwriting, which she manages to present as well-loved and firmly rooted in tradition. 2011’s Lark saw Colleen take on co-producing duties, and drew on contributions by Northwest music scene staples Casey Neill, Hanz Araki, Zak Borden, Ezra Holbrook, Matt Jerrell, Colm MacCárthaigh, Eddie Parente, and Matthew Hayward-Macdonald. The end of 2011 saw the release of Cuan, a duo album with master guitarist Colm MacCárthaigh, and extensive touring in the U.S. and Ireland. A forthcoming collaboration with Aidan Brennan is set for release in October of 2013 and her songs can be heard on radio from Dublin, to New York, to Maui.
Rarely is an artist as deeply entrenched in a musical niche as Colleen Raney able to present centuries-old music with an eye toward current and future listeners outside of the genre. By adapting and developing her voice, at turns lullaby-soft and intensely powerful, and by surrounding herself with a constantly-evolving ensemble of the best musicians the Northwest has to offer, Colleen manages to credit her background and stake claim as a serious presence in contemporary Celtic music.
Colleen can most often be found sharing a stage with Johnny B. Connolly, Colm MacCárthaigh, Cary Novotny, Stu Mason, and John Weed in various combinations in addition to her regular appearances with Magical Strings.