Karan Casey has long been one of the most innovative provocative and imitated voices in Irish traditional and folk music. Her career has spanned twenty years from the early days as a jazz performer in Georges bistro in Dublin to her heady days in New York with the band Solas to her now blossoming solo career she has sold over half a million albums. Karan released her first album with the group Solas, which quickly became the most celebrated Irish band in the U.S., and her four years with the group were pivotal. Following their groundbreaking early releases Casey struck out on her own.
Since embarking on her solo career Karan has released 5 solo albums as well as an album for children and numerous contributions to other artists' projects. She has toured constantly throughout North America, Europe and Japan, performing with her own band as well as with such diverse musicians as Tim O’Brien, Karen Matheson (Capercaille) the Michael McGoldrick Band and Lunasa.
Karan has won awards for “Best Folk Album” and “Best Folk Female” from Irish Music Magazine and been nominated for the BBC Folk Awards and the Danish Grammys and was a key member of Paul Winter’s Grammy-award winning “Celtic Solstice”. She has appeared at festivals such as WOMAD USA, the Cambridge Folk Festival, Celtic Connections, the Philadelphia Folk Festival, Festival Cornouaille and Merlefest as well as appearing at many prestigious venues including the Kennedy Centre (Washington DC), New York’s Symphony Space, Nashville's Grand Ole Opry, the Hollywood Bowl, Dublin’s National Concert Hall, the Cathedral of St John the Divine, the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and many others. She has made many TV and radio appearances on both sides of the Atlantic and has been a frequent guest on Garrison Keillor’s ‘A Prairie Home Companion’.
Recent years have seen Karan appearing with Folk legends James Taylor, Liam Clancy, Peggy Seeger and Mick Moloney as well as performances with Solas and Lunasa, and collaborations with pianist/composer Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin and with Breton guitarist Gilles le Bigot’s ‘Voix de la Terre’ project. New ventures during 2008 included The Vallely Brother’s Big Band and Niall Vallely’s “Turas na dTaoiseach/Flight of the Earl’s” event, which was premiered in Belfast’s Grand Opera House and later performed in Louvain, Belgium. She was also involved in Tommy Hayes’s “Apples in Winter” multimedia project and filmed a TV special on songs associated with the Irish Labour Movement.
In 2009 Karan released her fifth solo album entitled “Ships in the Forest” on the Crow Valley Music label. Produced once again by Donald Shaw, the new album focuses largely on the traditional repertoire. The album was recorded at Karan’s home in County Cork and features the members of her current touring band, Caoimhín Vallely (piano), Kate Ellis (cello) and Robbie Overson (guitar) along with some special guests, including Kris Drever and Niall and Cillian Vallely.
"Exile's Return" a duet album with former Solas band-mate John Doyle was released to widespread critical acclaim in early 2010. Karan has continued to tour with her own band and as a duo with John Doyle, and has started to record a new album with Crooked Still singer Aoife O'Donovan.