Sarah Dinan

Sarah Dinan

 Texas, USA

Often compared to Mary Black and Sinead O’Connor, Sarah’'s clear alto voice is perfect for the lilting songs and haunting ballads she sings. Sarah and her band are a tour de force that performs a diverse repertoire of songs and tunes from around the world.


The music of Sarah Dinan is planted in the loamy soil of Ireland and then opens up into an Irish Americana sound thats all her own. Blessed with a crystalline alto voice, she brings a new vision and energy to the Celtic tradition that mixes it with the American styles it seeded and other strains to create a vibrant and vivid musical blossom that has been charming listeners of all stripes across the state of Texas and beyond.

When Sarah begins to sing, ears perk up, hearts are charmed, and imaginations piqued. Since she first took the musical stage in 2003, Austin-based Dinan has earned praise and gathered fans and followers with her inborn vocal agility and charming presence. "Her voice and interpretation of Irish music, particularly Gaelic verse, is nothing short of majestic," notes Donnelle McKaskle, host of the Celtic Storm show on Austin s KOOP-FM radio. That quality has won her multiple appearances at prestigious Celtic festivals and listener venues across the Lone Star State, while at the same time Dinan has also taken her music to broader stylistic pastures and a range of venues and audiences.

She boasts a dual career as both a traditionally based modern musical artist and a childrens entertainer, backed by the versatile talents of her band. Her latest CD release, For a Little One I Love, is a collection of kid friendly songs that captivates the child within listeners of all ages with its panorama of childrens songs, Irish tunes, lullabies, folk and Western numbers and standards, some familiar and other delightful surprises. It follows her 2004 debut, From The Ashes, on which Dinan displayed her handy facility with Celtic music both centuries old and written by such contemporary Irish music songwriters as Eric Bogle and John Spillane.

Raised in a family of five children with Irish, Scots and Welsh roots on both sides, Dinan regularly sang with her parents and siblings from an early age. An avid fan of all sorts of music, she never gave thought to singing professionally until soon after graduating from college, when she was listening to the Irish singer and songwriter Enya and was prompted to learn how to sing like her. "I'm very much the kind of person who when I get interested in something, I just do it", she notes.

So Dinan answered a musicians classified ad for an Irish band that read: "Experience not as important as the ability to learn." She auditioned for the Austin pan-Celtic group, Poor Man's Fortune, who invited her to join them for a ceilidh, or tune session, at a local pub.

"I sang this song called How Can I Live at the Top of a Mountain", she remembers. "There was no microphone, and a basketball game was playing on the TV. I started singing, and after the third or fourth word out of my mouth this hush just fell over the place. They turned the TV down. The windows were open and people were stopping on the street to listen and then coming in. It was this moment when time just floated. I thought even if nothing happens with this band, I should still focus on this music", she explains. She continued going to the tune sessions and was hooked. Poor Man's Fortune eventually asked her to join as their singer, and Dinan wowed a packed house at her first show with them at Austin s legendary Cactus Cafe.

After getting immersed in Irish music singing for the group, she struck out on her own in 2003 and won immediate praise. "Dinan carries herself with a confidence that belies her newcomer status, yet her Irish ballads, vocal rounds, and engaging stage presence are as welcome and refreshing as blue skies over the Emerald Isle," raved the Austin Chronicle. Similarly, Music Austin noted how Dinan's clear alto is perfect for the lilting Irish and Celtic tunes she sings, and rivals the quality of more famous singers in the genre such as Clannad and Sinead OConnor.

Playing the Austin Celtic Festival and winning her first booking at the North Texas Irish Festival, Dinan studied the music, was tutored in Gaelic, and added to her sound Scottish, Welsh and Cape Breton variations of the music. Over the years to follow she began drawing songs into her repertoire from folk, country, cowboy music, contemporary artists and other genres.

And her band adds even more to the mix: Guitarist Dana Martin brings shades of rock, country and contemporary folk to their sound. Fiddler Alexis Buffum studied Irish music as well as classical and jazz. Percussionist Nick Mitchell is a bagpipe band veteran who injects polyrhythmic Afro-Caribbean accents to it all. And having been a Montessori teacher, it was only natural for Dinan to branch out into childrens music, becoming a regular headliner at the Serendipity Childrens Festival in Georgetown as well as other events and parties for youngsters.

Set List

In addition to performing traditional Celtic songs and songs by Celtic composers, Sarah performs Americana and Folk music and songs from many of today's singer-songwriters. Sarah has a wide ranging repertoire of music, spanning many hours and is therefore able to tailor her selections to best suit your requirements, including performing a fully Celtic program.