Dervish

Legendary Irish folk music band Dervish, are one of Ireland’s best known traditional bands and are described by the BBC as “an icon of Irish music”. Dervish received a prestigious lifetime achievement award from the BBC in 2019, a fitting tribute to the band after over thirty years of recording and performing all over the world, playing at festivals from Rio to Glastonbury. Dervish have a line-up which includes some of Ireland’s finest traditional musicians, fronted by one of the country’s best-known singers, Cathy Jordan. Regarded by many as the most distinctive voice and finest front-woman in Irish traditional music today – the instrumental line-up of fiddle, flute, bouzouki, mandola, bodhran and accordion draw from seemingly limitless depths of talent, finesse, subtlety and fiery energy. Exceptional musicianship, breath-taking vocals, vibrant sets of tunes and instantly compelling songs all come together to make Dervish as complete a band as are to be found anywhere in the tradition. Dervish are regular visitors to the US, performing sell out shows from coast to coast. However, their fan base stretches across several continents, including Europe, Asia, and South America. They were the first Irish band to play the world’s biggest music festival, Rock in Rio, performing to an estimated 250,000 people. Over the years they’ve been on the same bill as artists such as James Brown, Neil Young, Sting and even Iron Maiden! All six members of Dervish are steeped in the musical traditions of counties Sligo and Leitrim in north-west Ireland. It’s an area which matches Atlantic coastline with storied mountains and rural landscapes. It has inspired a host of musicians, artists and writers, including the Nobel Prize-winning poet W. B. Yeats.

Recently recognised with a BBC Lifetime Achievement Award Irish folk icons Dervish will be returning to stages across England and Wales this spring, including dates in Cardiff, Cambridge and London. The six piece, who consist of Cathy Jordan (vocals, bodhrán and bones), Brian McDonagh (mandola), Tom Morrow (fiddle), Michael Holmes (bouzouki), Shane Mitchell (accordion) and Liam Kelly (flute, whistles), are globally recognised as masters of the Irish folk genre. Having devoted the last three decades to reviving and reinventing the traditional songs of their homeland, Dervish were widely celebrated in 2019 for their album The Great Irish Songbook, which featured a host of celebrated performers, including Vince Gill, Rhiannon Giddens and Steve Earle, amongst many others. The band have now announced a string of seven UK shows that will feature tracks from across their extensive back catalogue, from new arrangements from their latest critically acclaimed album, to firm fan favourites. Dervish’s founding members were childhood friends in County Sligo. As young musicians in 1989, the band members were commissioned to record an album of music from the renowned Sligo tradition. Despite a huge international response, Dervish turned down record-deal offers and launched their own label, releasing their sophomore effort Harmony Hill in 1993, which immediately climbed the Irish charts. Through the years, Dervish have appeared at some of the world’s biggest festivals, from Glastonbury to Rock in Rio, and shared stages with many heroes of the entertainment industry including James Brown, Neil Young and Sting. All the while, they have committed themselves to the art of traditional music, ultimately making their name as one of the foremost purveyors of Irish folk.

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