The Record (Troy, NY)

Dervish, one of Ireland’s leading live acts, coming to Capital Region

- By Lauren Halligan

Irish folk band Dervish is coming to the Capital Region to kick off the Passport Series at Proctors Collaborat­ive with some Irish flare.

Dervish has been bringing Irish traditiona­l music to the world for more than 25 years and was recently recognized with a Lifetime Achievemen­t Award from the BBC, which called the group “an icon of Irish music.”

The band has played at festivals from Rock in Rio to Glastonbur­y, toured with the Irish President and struck up tunes on the Great Wall of China. This Friday, March 3, the band’s current U.S. tour will make a stop in Schenectad­y, where fans can come out to hear traditiona­l music from the West of Ireland with passionate vocals and dazzling instrument­als.

The Passport Series is designed to offer locals the experience of “traveling the world one concert at a time.”

Dervish is long-establishe­d as one of the biggest names in Irish music internatio­nally, renowned for live performanc­es with stunning interpreta­tions of traditiona­l songs.

Their studio and live albums make up one of the outstandin­g catalogs in Irish music. Having devoted the last three decades to gently reinventin­g the traditiona­l songs of their homeland, Dervish were widely celebrated in 2019 for their album The Great Irish Songbook which featured such luminaries as Vince Gill, DavidGray, Rhiannon Giddens, Steve Earle and others.

Earlier this winter, the band finished recording for a new album, which is set to be released later this year. “I suppose the songs on this album, as opposed to The Great Irish Songbook album, are more excavated from the archives rather than well-known Irish standards,” frontwoman Cathy Jordan shared. The band is happy to be playing some of this new material on tour, along with fan favorite tunes.

“We’ll be expecting great things from the audience, now, singing back to us,”

said Jordan, one of Ireland’s best-known singers, as the U.S. tour gets underway.

Dervish has a line-up that includes some of Ireland’s finest traditiona­l musicians. All six members of Dervish are steeped in the musical traditions of counties Sligo and Leitrim in north-west Ireland. It’s an area that 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. The Dervish line-up is well establishe­d. In fact, it includes four members from the earliest days of the band in 1989 — Shane Mitchell (accordion), Liam Kelly (flute/whistle), Brian McDonagh (mandola/mandolin) and Michael Holmes (bouzouki). Dervish’s founding members were childhood friends in County Sligo — the same creatively fertile region that spawned a group of legendary fiddle players who emigrated to the U.S. in the 1920s, then recorded the first known Irish-music albums of any genre. As young musicians in 1989, the band members were commission­ed to record an album of music from the renowned Sligo tradition. Jordan, who is also a mean bodhran (drum) player, joined in 1991 and fiddler Tom Morrow in 1998.

Steadily making a name as the foremost purveyors of Irish folk music of their generation, these musicians are regular visitors to the U.S., where their concerts are often sold out. However, their fanbase stretches across several continents. They spend much of their time traveling across Europe, and have also toured in Asia, South America and Australia.

Looking ahead, the band’s goal for the future is simply “staying alive, and playing the music that we love to as many people as we possibly can,” Jordan said. “We’ll probably keep going until we can’t do it anymore. That’s the beauty of traditiona­l music, you don’t have to look a certain way, and I think people get better as the years go by, and get a bit more seasoned and in tune with it, if you like. You never really reach the bottom of the archive, either, it’s ongoing learning all the time. And while we’re doing that, with every breath left in our body, that’s what we’ll keep doing.”

More informatio­n about Dervish is available online at

Tickets to Dervish’s local concert, which starts at 7:30 p.m. on Friday in the GE Theater at Proctors, as well as other Passport Series events, can be purchased online at

The upcoming Passport Series schedule includes Salsa Night with Tiempo Libre on March 24 and ADG7 on May 5 at Universal Preservati­on Hall in Saratoga Springs, along with Anyur on May 4 at Proctors in Schenectad­y.

 ?? PHOTO PROVIDED/CREDIT: COLIN GILLEN ?? Dervish is scheduled to perform on Friday in Schenectad­y.
PHOTO PROVIDED/CREDIT: COLIN GILLEN Dervish is scheduled to perform on Friday in Schenectad­y.
 ?? ?? Irish folk band Dervish was recently recognized with a BBC Lifetime Achievemen­t Award. (Photo provided/credit: Colin Gillen)
Irish folk band Dervish was recently recognized with a BBC Lifetime Achievemen­t Award. (Photo provided/credit: Colin Gillen)

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