Described by the BBC as “an icon of Irish music,” Dervish boasts a lineup that includes some of Ireland’s finest traditional musicians, fronted by one of the country’s best-known singers, Cathy Jordan. The group is renowned for its live performances, which match dazzling sets of tunes with stunning interpretations of traditional songs. Their studio and live albums – 14 to date – comprise one of the outstanding catalogues in Irish music. The (UK) Guardian newspaper commented: “Dervish are simply brilliant…they carry Irish history with them.”
Dervish are long-established as one of the biggest global names in Irish music, with a fan base that stretches across various continents. The band formed in 1989 when four of the founding members met during informal sessions in the pubs of Sligo (in northwest Ireland). Shane Mitchell (accordion), Liam Kelly (flute/whistle), Brian McDonagh (mandola/mandolin) and Michael Holmes (bouzouki) were soon joined by Roscommon-born singer and bodhran (drum) player Cathy Jordan, and later by all-Ireland Fiddle Champion Tom Morrow. It’s a remarkable and electric combination – “capable of playing with note-perfect accuracy and perfect control at nearly supersonic levels” (Irish Voice, New York). Dervish marry this technical brilliance with a rare artistic sensibility developed after more than a quarter century of performing together. 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.”
On Dervish’s brand-new album (their first for the American roots label Rounder Records), the band draws on an eclectic range of voices and genres – everything from traditional dance music to love ballads. The Great Irish Songbook’s celebrated collaborators include Steve Earle, David Gray, Rhiannon Giddens and Abigail Washburn.