Marc Gunn is an Irish and Scottish folk singer with a strange affinity for Celtic ballads, drinking songs and cats, and he is the lead singer for the Brobdingnagian Bards.
Cats. Irish music. Drinking songs. Nowhere else but from the bright imagination of Marc Gunn would those three elements be so neatly integrated. Yet Gunn, sometimes called ïthe hardest working man in Celtic musicï around his hometown in Austin, is an accomplished musician and entrepreneur who not long ago headlined at the Oscar party for Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
For Gunn, it started small, though not inauspiciously, wearing a kilt on campus at the University of Texas. As the autoharp-playing half of the Brobdingnagian Bards, Gunn and partner Andrew McKee developed a loyal following with weekly performances on campus. This quickly led to gigs at renaissance fairs, science fiction conventions, and Celtic music festivals as well as parties and weddings for the pair.
With the Bardsï calendar busy, Gunn began producing the duoïs recordings. Their first effort in 1999 was Marked By Great Size followed by Gullible's Travels in 2000. The third release was 2001ïs instrumental Songs of the Muse, then two theme CDs A Faire To Remember and A Celtic Renaissance Wedding. 2002 saw the release of Songs of Ireland and in 2003, Memories of Middle Earth. A long-awaited solo album, Soul of a Harper, brought Gunn accolades in 2004; he then embarked on work for Irish Drinking Songs for Cat Lovers.
Gunnïs activities are not restricted to musical performance alone. He is the brains behind an online resource called the Celtic MP3s Music Magazine. The weekly publication reviews Celtic music of all varieties from Irish traditional music to Celtic rock. Two free, full-length MP3s are offered for download every week on the site. Additionally, Gunn publishes The Bards Crier's Music Marketing and Promotion Tips Ezine, a newsletter that teaches musicians about marketing and promotion, and handles webmaster duties for a variety of sites including the Austin Celtic Association.
All that hard work and effort has hardly gone unnoticed. Fans have downloaded more than five million MP3s from him; over one million of those were for the hugely popular ïTolkien (The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings).ï The Brobdingnagian Bards were voted ïBest Renaissance Menï in the Austin Chronicleïs 2003 Best of Austin poll. In March of 2005, The Bards collected an Austin Music Award for the Bards as Best Novelty Band, the first time any Celtic band has won. Gunnïs solo CD Soul of a Harper won the Best Cover Art category that year.
In a town famous for almost every musical genre except Celtic music, Marc Gunn has raised the bar and held it high. Using the musical past and a vivid imagination bolstered with ambition and drive, he blazes trails from terra firma to cyberspace, encouraging others to follow.
I perform with the Brobdingnagian Bards at Sci Fi Conventions and some Renaissance festivals throughout the nation. Occasionally, I perform solo in Austin, but I have played at Cat shows in Portland, fantasy faires in The Netherlands, Irish pubs in Switzerland, house concerts in New York, and youth hostels in Italy.
Elvis Presley, Fabrizio de Andre, Jars of Clay, David Garza, Bryan Bowers, Enya, The Dubliners, Sinead O'Connor, U2, Clannad, Altan, Pete Seeger, Tom Paxton, Mozart, Beethovan, Al Grierson, Roger Miller, Rogers & Hammerstein, Bill Joel, Paul Simon, Wierd Al Yankovich, Clandestine, Ed Miller, Bing Crosby, Barenaked Ladies, They Might Be Giants, Jackopierce, Angelo Branduardi, The Beatles, Bjork, Cat Stevens, Johnny Cash, Leonard Cohen, Radiohead, Stone Temple Pilots, The Wolfe Tones
I play the autoharp and sing a cappella. The autoharp is not a common instrument, but I'm happy to hear that more and more people are taking an interest in learning to play it thanks to people like me and many other out there.
I was born on St. Patrick's Day (March 17), the Irish holiday. To top it off, that is also St. Gertrude's Day, patron saint of cats. I think I was destined to play Celtic music about cats.