In 2012 we were lucky enough to host an evening concert by the internationally acclaimed world music band Sans.

Sans are a unique, dramatic new quartet comprising zither-playing multi-instrumentalist Andrew Cronshaw, Armenian duduk master Tigran Aleksanyan, multi-instrumental reeds-player Ian Blake and the great Finnish singer Sanna Kurki-Suonio.

Andrew Cronshaw (UK) – zither, marovantele, fujara, ba-wu etc.
Sanna Kurki-Suonio (Finland) – vocals
Tigran Aleksanyan (Armenia) – duduk
Ian Blake (UK/Australia) – bass clarinet, soprano sax etc.

Some reviews of Sans’ work:

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