Úna Palliser

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Una Palliser
Birth nameÚna Palliser
BornCork, Ireland
GenresClassical, Balkan, Rock, Pop, Irish Folk
Instrumentsviolin, viola, voice, strohviol, piano, accordion
Years active2002–present

Úna Palliser is an Irish born, London based violinist, violist, singer and multi-instrumentalist who as well as being classically trained, is recognised for her proficiency in many musical genres, including rock, jazz, Balkan and Irish folk. She is best known for her collaborations and role as guest soloist with many high profile artists, including Shakira, A.R.Rahman, Leona Lewis, Terrafolk and Otis Taylor and as the singer of Irish folk song Mo Ghile Mear on the Specsavers 'Collie Wobble' advertisement.[1][2][3] Úna is also the solo Irish singer on the end credits of BBC 6 part tv series My Mother and Other Strangers[4] and the singer of the theme tune for BBC 6 part series Kat and Alfie: Redwater[5]


Early life[edit]

Una was born in Cork, Ireland where she began learning the violin at 4 years old at the Cork School of Music.[6][7] She also studied piano and viola and later was a member of the European Union Youth Orchestra under Vladimir Ashkenazy[8] Palliser won a number of awards including Wolfson Trust Award, a Royal Philharmonia Martin Musical Scholarship Award, and was a string finalist in the RTÉ Millennium Musician of the Future Competition. She won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music in London where she studied with Garfield Jackson of the Endellion Quartet for 4 years before graduating with a 1st Class Hons Degree in performance.[9][10]


Una has recorded and performed as a session musician with many artists such as The Killers, Michael Buble, Dionne Warwick,[11] Melanie C, Emma Bunton, P Diddy, Buena Vista Social Club, Robbie Williams, Ariana Grande, Josh Groban, Gwilym Simcock, Tim Garland, Maxim Vengerov, Liam Gallagher,[12] The Noisettes, and Elbow.[10][13] She has performed on a number of television shows including Later With Jools Holland, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Top of the Pops and Friday Night with Jonathan Ross[14] She also appeared in music videos with Mark Ronson'Valerie'.[15] Richard Ashcroft and Josh Groban

She toured Europe as part of Cee-lo Green and Danger Mouse (musician)'s band Gnarls Barkley in 2006, and as solo violinist/violist on Patrick Wolf's The Magic Position tour of the US and Europe in 2007.[16] Later that year she performed as featured violist on Take That's Beautiful World Tour 2007.[15][17][18]

In 2008 Palliser was the featured lead singer and violinist/violist on the single 'Still Resist The Storm' on BBC World Music Award Winning band Terrafolk's record Full Circle,[19] which topped the radioplay charts in Slovenia.[20] This led to many international tours and performances as a featured guest artist with Terrafolk.[21]

Palliser toured as violinist with Moby on his 2009 summer tour.[16][22]

In August 2011 she joined Dresden Dolls' Amanda Palmer as guest violinist on her UK tour.[23][24] She rejoined Palmer as guest artist in 2013 at Koko, London and again in November 2017 at Union Chapel, London, also performing with Neil Gaiman[25]

In October/November 2011 she performed at the Tribeca Film Festival in Qatar as the solo violinist with Leona Lewis. She rejoined Leona in Kuala Lumpur in March 2012 to perform to the King and Queen of Malaysia[26] Palliser appeared with Lewis again in December 2014 at The Fayre of St James' Christmas Concert in aid of Rays of Sunshine[27][28]

In May 2012 Palliser joined Avalanche City playing violin, glockenspiel, accordion and backing vocals for their UK shows.[29]

In October 2012 Palliser toured with George Michael on his Symphonica Tour[30]

Palliser performed as guest violinist with Otis Taylor at the FMM Sines – Festival Músicas do Mundo in Lisbon[31] and Le Duc des Lombards in Paris[32] in July 2012. She rejoined Taylor at La Defence Jazz Festival in Paris in July 2013[33]

In 2014 Palliser featured in "The Secret Life of Materials", a documentary by Met Films[34] in which she tried out and performed on one of the world's first 3D printed violins[35]

In 2016 Palliser performed on violin and as singer in the All Irish production of Taming of the Shrew at Shakespeare's Globe[36] where she also sang one of her own compositions in the role of Kate's absent mother[37] She later performed in Sam Wanamaker Playhouse in Inn at Lydda[38]

In 2018 Palliser returned to Shakespeare's Globe as musical director and violinist of All's Well That Ends Well at Sam Wanmaker Playhouse.[39]

Palliser's solo vocals and playing was featured in Jez Butterworth 's The Ferryman (play) directed by Sam Mendes at Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre on Broadway in 2018-19 following a multi award winning run in London’s West End at Royal Court Theatre and Gielgud Theatre[40]

In 2017 / 2018 she toured as backing singer and violinist with Elbow (band).[41]

Palliser performed as guest violin soloist with Indian composer and singer A.R. Rahman at Wembley Arena in July 2017 to celebrate 25 years of his music.[42] She later performed with Rahman at the International Indian Film Academy Awards at the MetLife Stadium in New York[43] In October 2017 Palliser rejoined Rahman on his Australian and New Zealand tour[44] and later on his Canadian tour[45]

Palliser has been described as an 'extraordinary violinist' by the UK's The Independent newspaper.[46] and her voice has been described as 'haunting' by both Metro (British Newspaper) and Songlines (magazine)[47][48]


In 2010, Shakira invited Palliser to feature as the solo violinist on her 2010 / 2011 The Sun Comes Out World Tour where she also sang back up vocals as well as played the accordion, whistles and strohviol.[6][49] She had a 4-minute improvised solo intro to the last song of Shakira's main set, 'Ojos Asi'.[50]


Palliser's recording of the Irish folk song "Mo Ghile Mear" has been used on the Specsavers 'Sheep' advert since 2008.

She is the lead singer and violinist in the four-member band Una & the Balkan Bears which completed its first UK / Ireland tour in May 2010, ending with a performance at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in London.[13][51][52] Una returned to Ireland in 2013 with her Balkan duo Balkish with accordionist Marko Hatlak to perform alongside Capercaillie (band)[53]

Una is the solo Irish singer on the end credits of BBC 6 part tv series My Mother and Other Strangers[4] and the singer of the theme tune for BBC 6 part series Kat and Alfie: Redwater[5] Her voice can currently be heard as the unseen Banshee and also singing a setting of The Stolen Child by WB Yeats in the multi Tony Award winning play the Ferryman (play) on Broadway NYC.

Personal life[edit]

Palliser currently lives in London. She is married to chef James 'Jocky' Petrie,[54] former Head of Creative Development at The Fat Duck and current Group Executive Chef for Gordon Ramsay[55] They have two daughters[56]Her brother Conor Palliser is a conductor and pianist[57][58] and brother Ronan Palliser is a photographer.[59] Her father plays Irish folk music including harmonica and whistles.



Small Island - (pre-recorded viola) - 2019 Royal National Theatre

All's Well That Ends Well - (musical director, violin, viola) - 2018 Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

The Ferryman (play) (pre recorded solo vocals, violin/viola)

- 2018-2019 Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre Broadway

- 2017/18 Gielgud Theatre

- 2017 Royal Court Theatre[40]

The Inn at Lydda - (strohviol, violin) - 2016 Sam Wanamaker Playhouse[38]

The Taming of the Shrew (actor-musician + singer) - 2016 - Shakespeare's Globe[60]

Macbeth (dep /understudy singer) - 2016 - Shakespeare's Globe

Tribute to Stefan Zweig (improvised violin) - 2015 - Arts Theatre[61]

Reading with Bach (violin with contemporary dance choreography) - 2014 - Trinity Laban[62]

María de Buenos Aires (actor-musician) - 2013 - Cork Opera House[63]

Pagliacci (actor-musician) - 2012 - Everyman Palace Theatre[64]

Abba The Show (violin) - 2012/13 - European tour[65]

Lord of the Rings (musical) (dep viola) - 2007/8 - Theatre Royal, Drury Lane

I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change -St Andrew's Theatre Dublin Kings Head Theatre + Edinburgh Festival Fringe[66]

Graffiti Classics World Tour (actor-musician)[67]



Specsavers 'Collie Wobble' advertisement (solo vocals, arranger) – Soundtree Music – 2008[68]

Kat and Alfie: Redwater BBC television series (solo vocals, violin) - 2017

My Mother and Other Strangers BBC television series (solo vocals, violin) - 2016

With Birdy (singer)

  • Growing Pains - Beautiful Lies album (erhu), 2016

With Tom Hickox

  • Angel Of The North - War, Peace and Diplomacy album (stroh violin, 2014)

with Kelli Scarr

  • Dangling Teeth (violin, 2012)

with Shakira

  • Je ľaime a mourir (solo violin, string arranger, 2011)
  • Live From Paris (solo violin, vocals, accordion, strohviol, 2011)

with Terrafolk

  • 'Still Resist the Storm' (solo vocals, violin, viola) – single – Full Circle Album- Music Net, Menart (2008)[69]

with Take That

  • Beautiful World Live – Universal (viola, 2008)

with Smoke Fairies

  • Troubles – Music For Heroes Records (solo fiddle, viola, 2008)

Other recordings[edit]

Hold the Sunset BBC series soundtrack (Musical Director/coach, violin, 2019)

With Judith Owen

  • I Still Dream of America single (viola, 2019)

The Dumping Ground BBC series soundtrack (viola, 2016–19)

With Beverley Craven

  • Let It Be Me - Woman to Woman album (viola, 2018)

with Elbow (band)

  • Golden Slumbers - John Lewis Christmas Advert - (violin, viola, 2017)[70]

Three Girls (miniseries)

BBC television series soundtrack - (violin, viola, 2017)[71]

with Liam Gallagher

  • For What Its Worth - live from Air Studios (viola 2017)

Funny Girl (musical) London Cast Recording - (violin, viola, 2016)

with Ghostpoet

  • Shedding Skin - Play It Again Sam[72]
  • Be Right Back, Moving House - Play It Again Sam (viola 2015)
  • Nothin In The Way - Play It Again Sam (viola 2015)

with Celeste

  • Celeste (violin, 2015)

with George Michael

With Elsten Torres

  • The Only One (violin, string arrangement, 2013)

with Russell Watson

  • Anthems album – Sony (violin 2012)

with Katie Melua

  • Secret Symphony Dramatico (viola 2012)

with Carl Barat

  • So Long My Lover – PIAS Recordings, Arcady Records (violin, viola 2010)
  • Ode to a Girl – PIAS Recordings, Arcady Records (violin, viola 2010)

with The Killers

  • A Dustland Fairytale – Live at Abbey Road – Channel 4 (viola 2010)[10]

with The Choirgirl Isabel

  • The Choirgirl album – Universal UK (violin, viola, 2010)

with Aled Jones

  • Aled's Christmas Gift album (viola, 2010)

with Lisa Lois

  • Smoke album – SBC/Sony BMG – (viola, 2010)

with Paloma Faith

  • Do You Want The Truth Or Something Beautiful? – Sony Music (viola, 2009)

with Noisettes / Radio 1's Live Lounge CD

  • When We Were Young (Killers cover) BBC Radio (viola, 2009)

with Brian Eno

  • The Lovely Bones Soundtrack (viola, 2009)[73]

with Mark Ronson ft Amy Winehouse

  • Valerie video (viola, 2008)

with Tony Christie

  • Made in Sheffield album (viola, 2008)[74]

with Peter Kay / Geraldine McQueen

  • Once Upon a Christmas Song – Polydor Records (viola, string arrangements, 2008)

with Gary Barlow / Eliot Kennedy

  • Without You / Brittania High soundtrack – Polydor Records – (viola, string arrangements, 2008)

with Peter Raeburn

  • You and Me album – Nowever Records (violin, viola, 2008)

with Gnarls Barkley / Later with Jools Holland CD

  • Crazy – BBC (viola/violin, 2007)

with All Angels

with The Shapeshifters

  • Beautiful Heartache – Positiva, EMI (viola, 2006)

with Hugh Cornwell

  • Gingerbread Girl – Koch Entertainment (viola, 2000)

Trident 'splash' advertisement – Soundtree Music (composer, string arranger, violin, 2008)

Smirnoff ' Sea' advertisement – Soundtree Music (violin, viola)

Royal Mail 'Grow' advertisement – Soundtree Music (violin, viola)

Nokia 'Harmony' advertisement – Soundtree Music (vocals)

BBC One's 'Let's Dance' TV theme – BBC (violin, viola)

'Love on a Saturday Night' TV theme – London Weekend Television / ITV (vocals)

Eva Short Film Soundtrack – Jeva Films[75] (solo vocals)

By Hook Short Film Soundtrack – Virgin Media Shorts / Laura Evers Johns (solo vocals)[76]

Every Good Boy Does Fine Short Film Soundtrack - Factory Gate Productions (solo violin)[77]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "visit4ads.com". www.visit4ads.com.
  2. ^ Credits for Specsavers advertisement.
  3. ^ "Specsavers advertisement".
  4. ^ a b "magazine interview with composer". M Magazine.
  5. ^ a b "Metro review".
  6. ^ a b "ShakiraMedia.com - News - Read our Interview with Shakira's Band Member - Una Palliser". www.shakiramedia.com.
  7. ^ "She's a classical musician who trained at the Royal Academy of Music in London, but has since conquered the pop world. Una first picked up a violin at the age of four. As an adult performer she has toured the world with Gnarls Barkley, Take That and Arcade Fire. She plays in a classical string quartet and has branched out into folk, joining the Slovenian group, Terrafolk. - Sunday Independent (Dublin, Republic of Ireland) - HighBeam Research". web.archive.org. 6 November 2012.
  8. ^ European Youth Orchestra Member Registry
  9. ^ Mo Ghile Mear Research Article
  10. ^ a b c "Una & The Balkan Bears...Pavilion Cork... - Peoples Republic Of Cork Discussion Forums". www.peoplesrepublicofcork.com.
  11. ^ Úna Palliser [@unapalliser] (29 October 2012). "With Dionne Warwick on Radio 2 yesterday quartet acting as full string section" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  12. ^ Úna Palliser [@unapalliser] (12 September 2017). "Playing with @liamgallagher and @UrbanSoulOrch at @AIRStudios recently" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  13. ^ a b "Information from Mermaid Art Centre Playbill" (PDF).
  14. ^ "Cork Independent Newspaper Article".
  15. ^ a b "Daily Record & Sunday Mail - Scottish News, Sport, Politics and Celeb gossip". www.dailyrecord.co.uk.
  16. ^ a b "Una Palliser". Discogs.
  17. ^ unapalliser (5 March 2010). "TAKE THAT - Beautiful World tour interview featuring Una Palliser" – via YouTube.
  18. ^ direct, artist. "Artist". ARTISTdirect.
  19. ^ "Still Resist The Storm Feat. Una Palliser by Terra Folk on Amazon Music - Amazon.co.uk". www.amazon.co.uk.
  20. ^ "Slovenian News Article on Terrafolk Tour".
  21. ^ "Terra Folk". www.terrafolk.org.
  22. ^ "Promo photo with bio info".
  23. ^ "Amanda Palmer website".
  24. ^ MrMichaelchik (29 August 2011). "Amanda Palmer ft Una Palliser @ HMV Picturehouse Edinburgh - Missed Me" – via YouTube.
  25. ^ "Una Palliser on Instagram: "Last night @unionchapeluk : @amandapalmer and I interrupting @neilhimself for a kazoo/violin solo battle.... Playing with her always leaves…"". Instagram.
  26. ^ Palliser, Úna (22 March 2012). "With Leona Lewis before our performance in Kuala Linpar...to the King and Queen of Malaysia...and Owen Wilson of Cars!pic.twitter.com/jnQZsstS".
  27. ^ "Una Palliser's public Facebook Page t".
  28. ^ "review". Daily Mail.
  29. ^ Una Palliser Twitter status update
  30. ^ "George Michael Symphonica Tour Blog".
  31. ^ "Google Translate". translate.google.com.
  32. ^ "A propos - Nipany.com".
  33. ^ Palliser, Úna (30 June 2013). "Anyone going to be at La Defence Jazz Festival in Paris tomorrow? I'll be playing there with Otis Taylor".
  34. ^ "Imbd".
  35. ^ "Documentary Home website".
  36. ^ "blog review".
  37. ^ "subject's Facebook page".
  38. ^ a b "Shakespeare's Globe website".
  39. ^ "Una Palliser". en-gb.facebook.com.
  40. ^ a b "subject's instagram page".
  41. ^ "Una Palliser". www.facebook.com.
  42. ^ "YouTube". www.youtube.com.
  43. ^ "Una Palliser on Instagram: "Dressing room at #iffaawards #internationalindianfilmacademyawards #soloviolin #arrahman #musicianlife #tour #newyorkcity"". Instagram.
  44. ^ Úna Palliser [@unapalliser] (24 September 2017). "Looking forward to joining @arrahman as solo violinist on stadium tour of Australia +New Zealand over the next 2 we…" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  45. ^ Úna Palliser [@unapalliser] (22 October 2017). "Having a bit of an Irish moment with @arrahman Sir this weekend in Toronto #ARRahmanlive #violin…" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  46. ^ "North Sea Scrolls, Cabaret Voltaire, EdinburghBeardyman, Assembly". The Independent. 28 August 2011.
  47. ^ "link to Songlines review".
  48. ^ "Metro review of Redwater".
  49. ^ "ShakiraMedia.com - News - Pop Festival 2011: Shakira's violinist Una Palliser -Video-". www.shakiramedia.com.
  50. ^ "Review of Shakira Concert in Costa Rica".
  51. ^ Event Listing for Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club
  52. ^ "Fiddling with friends at Baltimore fair". Independent.ie.
  53. ^ "Fiddle Fair Website".
  54. ^ "Una Palliser Music instagram page".
  55. ^ "Big Hospitality article".
  56. ^ "Guardian Article".
  57. ^ RTÉConcertOrchestra (17 August 2011). "@unapalliser @ronanpalliser @NCH_Music it was a fantastic concert, Conor was great!".
  58. ^ Review of RTÉ Concert Orchestra
  59. ^ "Ronan Paliser website".
  60. ^ "blog".
  61. ^ "Word Theatre website".
  62. ^ "Arts Trust Website".
  63. ^ "Line Up Now website".
  64. ^ "Irish Examiner".
  65. ^ Abba The Show. "Abba The Show".
  66. ^ "youtube link".
  67. ^ "discogs.com".
  68. ^ "tv spots website".
  69. ^ "Shazam website".
  70. ^ Úna Palliser [@unapalliser] (11 November 2017). "Played violin + viola with some of my favourites @Elbow on my favourite Christmas advert. #johnlewis" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  71. ^ "una palliser facebook page".
  72. ^ "Ghostpoet Discogs".
  73. ^ "2010 Baltimore Fiddle Fair - Artist Bios". www.fiddlefair.com.
  74. ^ direct, artist. "Artist". ARTISTdirect.
  75. ^ "'Eva' Short Film Description".
  76. ^ "'By Hook' Short Film".
  77. ^ "Every Good Boy Does Fine (2011)". BFI.

External links[edit]