Dervish is a Sligo based traditional Irish music band formed in 1989 by Liam
Kelly, Shane Mitchell, Martin Mc Ginley, Brian Mc Donagh and Michael Holmes. The
band was originally formed to record an album of local music which was later
released as The Boys of Sligo. They later formed Dervish. The name was chosen as
it relates to groups of spiritual people who are enraptured by music.
In 1991 the band were joined by Roscommon born singer Cathy Jordan and all
Ireland champion fiddle player Shane Mc Aleer. Dervish’s first album, Harmony
Hill was released in 1992 to critical success. In 1994 their second, “Playing
with Fire", reached number 1 in the Irish Folk Music Charts and World/Roots
music charts internationally. In 1996 Dervish released “At the End of the Day",
which won the Hot Press Folk Album of the Year Award.
Dervish concert performances are characterised by 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.
Their fourth album, “Live in Palma" was recorded in front of a live audience
at Palma de Majorca's “Theatre Principal” in April 1997 and received critical
acclaim. In the same year the readers of Irish Music Magazine awarded Dervish
Best Overall Trad/Folk Band of the Year. In 1998 Shane McAleer left the band and
was replaced by well known Sligo musician, Séamus O'Dowd with a distinct Sligo
style fiddle playing and All Ireland Champion fiddle player Tom Morrow from Co.
Leitrim. This seven piece line were now Cathy Jordan (vocals, bodhrán, bones),
Tom Morrow (fiddle, viola), Shane Mitchell accordion), Liam Kelly (flute, low
whistle), Séamus O'Dowd (guitars, harmonica), Michael Holmes (bouzouki) and
Brian Mc Donagh (mandola, mandolin). The fifth album from the group,
"Midsummer's Night”, released in 1999 was voted Irish Trad Album of the Year.
In 2001, Dervish released “Decade” a compilation of tracks from their first
five albums. In 2003 Dervish released “Spirit” followed by “A Healing Heart” in
2006. In 2003 Sligo City Council bestowed the freedom of the borough of Sligo on
the band for their international artistic achievements and their dedication and
promotion of their local heritage.
In 2005 The Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Mr Bertie Ahern invited Dervish
to accompany him on an Irish trade mission to China. In 2006 Dervish accompanied
Irish President Mary McAleese on her State Visits to Latvia and Lithuania and
performed a special concert in the Great Hall of Latvia Society House in Riga
for President McAleese and President Vike-Freiberga of Latvia.
the Irish national broadcaster
RTÉ announced that Dervish were to perform the Irish entry for the
Eurovision Song Contest 2007. Dervish finished last with five points,
awarded to them from the Albanian back up jury due to a failed televote, for
their performance of "They
Can't Stop The Spring".
In October 2007 Dervish released “Travelling Show” partly produced by John