Gig Seeker Pro


London, England, United Kingdom | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | INDIE

London, England, United Kingdom | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2014
Band World Alternative


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



""SANS Live" review – 'Subtle and at times unsettling' (Cloud Valley) 4 stars"

Robin Denselow
The Guardian, Thursday 17 April 2014 22.20 BST

Three years ago, the British composer and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Cronshaw released a haunting, atmospheric album The Unbroken Surface of Snow, which became a cult success in Europe. Now, he and the three other musicians involved in that project have become a band, SANS, which expands his experiment in fusing different folk influences in a quietly intense style that has the spontaneity of jazz. Each SANS performance is different, which is why this album was recorded live. Cronshaw plays a variety of zithers, along with the enormous fujara flute, and he's joined by Ian Blake on bass clarinet and saxophone and Tigran Aleksanyan, a master of the haunting Armenian reed pipe, the duduk, while vocals are provided by Finnish star Sanna Kurki-Suonio. The result is a subtle, at times gently unsettling album in which ancient laments from around the Baltic are fused with themes from England, Scotland and Armenia. Exquisite. - The Guardian

"Review quotes"

"SANS led us into a dark night of ethereal beauty. In fact it was almost perfect night music - like an evening raga, matching music to time and place and state of mind. Sanna’s powerful, supple and subtly toned voice started singing and soon the number gained a pulse, which ran through the tune until Andrew brought it all back down again, both dynamically and texturally, on his chord zither and closed the set - as delicately as a snowflake falling to the ground . . .
Quite, quite beautiful."
- from the review by Glyn Phillips in of SANS at the Home Festival, UK, June 2012

"Ancient, scary Finnish runo songs accompanied by mesmerising nets of sound woven from zither, duduk, bass clarinet, saxophone and fujara. Canberra musician Ian Blake was joined by long-term London collaborator Andrew Cronshaw, Armenian duduk player Tigran Aleksanyan, and Finnish vocalist Sanna Kurki-Suonio. Kurki-Suonio's voice is elemental, summoning mythological beings in a way that has you looking over your shoulder long after the song has ceased."
- Jennifer Gall, Canberra Times (reviewing SANS at the Australian National Folk Festival, Canberra, March 2013)

The following quotes are from the reviews of the CD The Unbroken Surface of Snow, which, while an Andrew Cronshaw album, was made by the four musicians who then formed SANS:

(The Unbroken Surface of Snow spent 3 months in the top 10 of the European World Music airplay chart (

“Delicate, haunting… glacial” – Robin Denselow, The Guardian

“Stunningly beautiful” – Fiona Talkington, BBC Radio 3

“Absolutely exquisite” – Mary Ann Kennedy, BBC Radio Scotland, BBC Radio 3

“Sublime” – Max Reinhardt, BBC Radio 3

“Music of snowflake-like singularity” – Ken Hunt, fRoots

“A palpable sense of space and peace” – Norman Chalmers, Scotland on Sunday

“Spacious, gracious, subtle, quietly surprising” - Doug Spencer, ABC Australian national radio

“Unfolds, seduces and ultimately mesmerises” – Tony Hillier, The Australian

"The music is sparse, glacial and utterly beautiful, with a wide, panoramic sense of infinite space;
you will happily lose yourself again and again in the title track, a far northern wilderness transformed into sound" - Tim Cumming, Songlines

“Ochre was already a masterpiece, but The Unbroken Surface of Snow is a musical paradise on earth” – Marius Roeting, New Folk Sounds, Netherlands

“Deep, unfolding music… and, like snow itself, it falls silently and accumulates additional weight and resonance with repeated listening” – Lee Blackstone, Rootsworld, USA

“If the BBC ever make a sequel to Frozen Planet, here surely is its emotive soundtrack”
– David Quantick, Uncut

“This remarkable, quiet, haunting piece of folk art… The 34-minute title track is a Finnish creation myth set to a musical landscape that is as close to silence as a heavy snowfall, and more beautiful”
– Tim Cumming, The Independent

“Here is a great beauty that you may not notice right away; it took me several months. The music just came flowing towards me, as if I was on a summer meadow and looked up at the sky and saw white clouds drift past. Or a winter night out in the country with the Milky Way’s glittering star ribbon. Such occasions when there is all the time in the world and no boundaries. A soundtrack for thought and feeling displaced”
– Lennart Wretlind. Swedish national radio P2

“Andrew Cronshaw is a bravely experimental British composer and multi-instrumentalist who is also a journalist. His last album, the much-praised Ochre, released seven years ago, matched English folk melodies against Middle Eastern instrumentation. Here he is joined by three other musicians, including Tigran Aleksanyan, a master of the Armenian duduk, for drifting and mostly instrumental compositions that include echoes of British or Armenian traditional melodies.
Three tracks are duets with Aleksanyan, with Cronshaw playing the gently chiming zither, whistles, pipes or the enormous Slovak fujara flute. There's a solo zither treatment of a stirring Scottish traditional melody, and the remarkable 34-minute title track, based on a Finnish creation myth, on which zither and duduk are joined by clarinet, saxophone and singer Sanna Kurki-Suonio, apparently improvising the melody that suddenly enlivens this delicate, haunting exercise in glacial mood music.”
- Robin Denselow, The Guardian

- The Guardian, The Independent, BBC Radio 3, fRoots, The Australian, Swedish Radio, Songlines, Uncut,



Cloud Valley CV2014
CD. Released 14th April 2014

(Andrew Cronshaw's 2011 9th album The Unbroken Surface of Snow (Cloud Valley CV2009), which spent 3 months in the World Music Charts Europe top 10, features all the members of SANS on its 34-minute title track, but the band formed as a result of the CD, so it isn't a SANS album as such)



"Ancient, scary Finnish runo-songs accompanied by mesmerising nets of sound woven from zithers, duduk, bass clarinet, saxophone and fujara." - Canberra Times

SANS is the quartet of English multi-instrumentalist Andrew Cronshaw (electric zither, fujara, ba-wu, marovantele, kantele etc), the great Finnish singer Sanna Kurki-Suonio, English/Australian multi-instrumental reeds player Ian Blake, and Tigran Aleksanyan, Armenian master of his country's heart-rendingly voice-like reed-pipe, the duduk. 

Formed by the musicians who made Cronshaw's most recent CD, The Unbroken Surface of Snow (which spent 3 months in the top 10 of the European world music airplay chart), SANS is an instrumental and vocal combination not found in any other band in the world, in which the four members draw deeply on their different but remarkably compatible traditions including the ancient Karelian songs that became Finland's Kalevala, the sweeping melodies of Armenia and English folk-song. They combine to make a genuinely new music of extraordinary beauty, intensity and fluidity in which each performance is a new creation. Therefore the band's debut CD SANS Live, released in April 2014,  was recorded live on its Flanders tour in December 2013. Tracks from that are on the 'Music' page of this EPK.

Shows and tours during 2014 include WOMAD UK - for more see

Videos from earlier shows are at

Andrew Cronshaw: Electric zither, fujara, marovantele, kantele
Sanna Kurki-Suonio: vocals
Tigran Aleksanyan: duduk
Ian Blake: bass clarinet, soprano sax

"SANS led us into a dark night of ethereal beauty. In fact it was almost perfect night music - like an evening raga, matching music to time and place and state of mind. Quite, quite beautiful" - reviewing SANS at Home Festival, UK, 2012

A subtle, at times gently unsettling album in which ancient laments from around the Baltic are fused with themes from England, Scotland and Armenia. Exquisite." (4 stars) - Robin Denselow in the Guardian, 17th April 2014, reviewing the CD "SANS Live"

"Beautiful, spacious, haunting, visceral" - Rachel Nelken of Arts Council England, of the "SANS Live" CD, April 2014. 

Band Members