Vocalist Colleen Raney has been referred to as “among the best in her genre,” (Irish Music Magazine) and “one of America’s best traditional singers” (Tradconnect). This comes as little surprise given her dedication to the craft of performing and preserving the vibrant song tradition of Ireland. Raney is compelled by the beauty of traditional Irish songs and has committed herself to honoring the music not just with her voice, but in her tireless research of the origins, history, and story behind each piece before singing a single note. Her ability to convey this love of Irish music makes every performance a captivating experience, no matter the setting. Raney sings with an enchanting yet unaffected style allowing the listener to enjoy her selection of songs whether they are familiar or more obscure.
Born into a family where Irish music and dance were part of the fabric of everyday life, learning songs from her older siblings was very much a part of Raney’s formative years. Colleen began her musical career with her oldest brother Mark, who studied with legendary singer and song collector Joe Heaney. After attaining her MFA in Acting from the University of Washington, and working as a professional actor for a decade, Colleen dove back into the traditional music world with her first album Linnet in 2008. Her 2013 release Here This is Home is without question one of the finest works in recent years.
Colleen has toured extensively, both at home and abroad, and spent two months in 2017 singing for Irish-American supergroup Solas on their farewell tour. Other highlights have included The KVMR Grass Valley Celtic Festival, Maine Celtic Celebration, Winston-Salem Celtic Festival, Juan de Fuca Festival of the Arts, and Seattle’s respected Northwest Folklife Festival, where she was a regular performer from 1980 to 2013. Her music can be heard on radio from Italy, to Ireland, to New York, to Hawaii, to Japan and all parts in between.
What they say about Colleen:
“Among the best in her genre.” Irish Music Magazine, 2013
“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, however, and by surrounding herself with a constantly-evolving ensemble of the best musicians the Northwest has to offer (Celtic-centric or otherwise), she manages to both credit her training and history, and stake claim as a serious presence in contemporary folk music.” Katie Presley, Bitch Magazine, January 2011
“Singing with a deep love for the tradition, and for the dark poetry of Celtic song, Colleen has been drawing new life from the old ballads and renewing our love for Celtic music.” Devon Leger, Hearth Music
“Raney brings a rich, hearty, and inviting voice – unmistakably American and without affectation or pretense – to her music.” Sean Smith, Boston Irish Reporter, May 2012
“Raney has an incredibly expressive voice – powerful, yet full of emotion.” – Jamie O’Brien, The Irish Edition