Dervish entertains with Irish folk music

Meghan Schmitt, Culture Editor

Dervish, one of the oldest modern Irish bands, performed folk music at 7:30pm on March 15 in the Dana Center.

According a press release given by Dana Center director Joseph Deleault, “Dervish bends the traditions of Celtic music with a muscular rhythm section that meets delicate yet earthy vocals. Whirling reels and gentle jigs are played with a peerless musicianship and a pure, lively soul born of the Irish.”

Dervish was formed in 1989 by members Liam Kelly, Shane Mitchell, Martin McGinley, Brian McDonagh, and Michael Holmes. The original name of the band was “The Boys of Sligo”, paying homage to all of the members’ hometown. Two years later, singer Cathy Jordan joined and became their front woman, adding vocals to the fiddle tunes.

They released their first album another two years later in 1993, titled “Harmony Hill.” Gaining momentum as a Celtic music group, they produced “Playing With Fire” in 1995 and “At the End of the Day” in 1996. They recorded their 1997 album “Live in Palma” in front of a concert audience. In 1998, fiddler Shane McAleer left the band. Sligo musician Séamus O’Dowd and fiddle player Tom Morrow took his place. Since 1999, they have produced an additional six albums: Midsummer Night (1999), Decade (2001), Spirit (2003), A Healing Heart (2005), Traveling Show (2007).

Described by the BBC as “an icon of Irish music”, the band hasplayed at festivals across the world. The Irish Times said their “integrity makes the group a formidable heir to the throne abandoned by The Bothy Band, if not a serious contender for The Chieftains’ international space.”

Jerry Hendricks
Left to right: Brian McDonagh, Liam Kelly, Martin McGinley, Cathy Jordan, and Michael Holmes at a Delaware concert in 2015.