Joy Shannon © FK

Joy Shannon and the Beauty Marks

Joy Shannon and the Beauty Marks are a Celtic pagan folk band fronted by the Irish multi-instrumentalist singer Joy Shannon on Celtic harp, cello and harmonium. Together with Andy Zacharias on bass, Jon Zell on guitar, Axel Clarke on percussion and Rachel Star Albright on backing vocals, the Beauty Marks have self-released 5 studio albums: “As in the Wilderness” (2008), “The Opium Wars or Love in Lieu of Laudanum” (2009), “The Black Madonna” (2010), “Out of My Dreams and Into My Arms” (2011), and “The Oracle” (2013).

Their latest release “The Oracle,” called an “otherworldly and darkly beautiful epic of love, loss, and devotion” on iTunes, was recorded with producer Brian Frederick of Serenity West in his studio Secret Hill Studios. The album showcases Joy’s intricate Celtic harp work, supported by her layers of orchestral cello arrangements and vocals that are at times angelic and, at other times, emotionally dark and raw.

Through their 8 years together, the Beauty Marks have toured through the Southwestern United States as well as the UK. Additionally, their music has garnered them the support of radio stations throughout the US (Radio Blacklight in Washington, Indie 103.1, KPFK Los Angeles), Germany (Radio 92.5 Bremen), and Argentina (Sin Sentido Radio). The Beauty Marks were named “Artist of the Year” by Radio Bremen and one of their albums was named “Top 20 Albums of 2009″ in Argentina.

While Joy writes music that is uniquely her own, she has her roots in operatic voice training as well as Irish folk music. She began her music career in 2000, singing and playing accordion and cello in the infamous avant-garde Gothic band “The Deathblossoms.” They released an underground studio and live album of “haunted house performance art music.”

Then, in 2002, Joy went solo and began to delve into her Celtic pagan roots and write music inspired both by her own life experiences and by ancient goddesses and mythology on Celtic harp. Around 2005, she formed “The Beauty Marks.” The inspiration for the band name came from a line in Joy’s poetry which referred to “turning scars into beauty marks.” That embodied what Joy believed music and art can do in her life- turn difficult experiences into works of beautiful art- so thus the band name was born.

In addition to her band the Beauty Marks, Joy also sings with the UK-based dark ambient/industrial band “The Offering,” with which she has released 3 albums: “The Fisherman’s Daughter”(2009), “Orphan Kisses”(2010), “The Wild and the Wonderful” (2011). Joy has also recorded and performed with the Dovelles, Gitane Demone of Christian Death and Robin and Vix.

A true mixed media artist, Joy Shannon’s background is in the visual arts. She has illustrated much of the album art for “The Beauty Marks” as well as directing and designing their music videos. For the last several years, Joy has collaborated with talented photographer and cinematographer Xun Chi to create all of the visual imagery associated with the band, from the promotional photography to the music videos for the songs “The Horse Latitudes” (2011), “As You Are” (2011), and their latest collaboration for the video for “Alkonost” (2013).


© the Offering / Fierce Kitten Records 2014