The Sligo Borough Council’s decision to award Dervish the Freedom of the Borough of Sligo cemented the group’s position as preeminent band in Ireland’s wild west. It raised them into the exalted company of poet W.B. Yeats, who was the first person to be awarded the freedom of Sligo. Built upon two sturdy pillars—the hauntingly charismatic vocals of Cathy Jordan and the dazzling virtuosity of award-winning instrumentalists like Tom Morrow on fiddle, Liam Kelly on flute, and Shane Mitchell on accordion, Dervish is a solid structure of a band, its foundation in legendary pub sessions, its shape the result of years of international touring. In 2005, Ireland’s premier music magazine Hot Press voted the band Best Traditional / Folk Group. The solid rhythm playing of Brian McDonagh and Michael Holmes drives the band, whose concert performances are a myriad of tones and moods ranging from high energy tunes, played with fluidity and intuitiveness, to beautifully measured songs, from charming lyrics of life and love, to inspiring melodies that lift audiences from their seats. All the elements are drawn together by Cathy Jordan’s masterful stage presence. Her stories to the songs and her interaction with the audience draws people into the music in a way very few performers can achieve. Dervish is a band that both celebrates Irish music and has been instrumental in bringing it to a worldwide audience.
“Its 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.”—The Irish Times
“Dervish are simply brilliant…They carry Irish history with them.”—The Guardian
$53–$69, CMA members $48–$62
These programs made possible in part by the Ernest L. and Louise M. Gartner Fund, the P. J. McMyler Musical Endowment Fund, and the Anton and Rose Zverina Music Fund.