The Shan Vans are a newly formed Indigenous Indie-Punk band. The five-piece came together in April 2023 and is made up of Irish speakers from West Belfast, whose bilingual decolonising rock music shines a light on the Irish language and on decolonisation in Ireland and around the world. The band is channelling the hopes and frustrations of working-class Belfast youth, confronting the intergenerational trauma they've experienced growing up in a post-conflict society, and using it as a catalyst for their work.
They released their debut track ’Inside’ in April 2023, an anti imperial rock anthem with lyrics inspired by Patti Smith and the Irish language poetry of Pádraig Pearse. In early August the band released their second single, ‘This is Our Religion’, a celebration of Éire’s landscapes and the interconnectedness of the land with the wisdom contained in the Irish language and in Irish mythology.
Emerging in spring with their epic debut single, The Shan Vans have since appeared on local and national TV multiple times, recording shows with UTV, BBC, RTÉ, TG4, and NVTV, alongside multiple newspaper, radio, and podcast appearances. In early August the band headlined at their first live gig as part of Féile an Phobail in Raidió Fáilte, Belfast. A week later they played the Main Stage Falls Park at Féile an Phobail, supporting headliners Kneecap alongside The Whistlin' Donkeys & Gemma Dunleavey. In late august, The Shan Vans co-headlined at Irish language festival Liú Lúnasa, and that same week, they made their debut at Electric Picnic. In December 2023, The Shan Vans participated in a collaboration with John Spillane, Barry Kerr, Beoga, Clare Sands & more, performing at an Irish Artists for Palestine event in Belfast.
In January, The Shan Vans showcased a number of unreleased tracks at Maddens Bar in Belfast city centre as part of their solidarity work on behalf of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society. Looking ahead, 2024 will see the release of ‘An tSeanbhean’, their magnum opus third single which will be accompanied by a short Irish Language music film spanning 10 minutes. The band are set to headline at Raidió Fáilte’s Imbolc Festival in February. In May, they will headline the Indigenous Arts Festival at Royal Avenue in Belfast, and in June, they bring their distinctive sound to Irish Language festival Féile na Gealaí in Ráth Chairn, Co. Meath. Later in the year, they are set to play at Féile an Phobail & Electric Picnic.