Dervish (IRE) are one of the iconic contemporary Irish trad bands, along with Altan, Lúnasa and Danú. Formed in an early lineup in 1989 and fronted by vocalist Cathy Jordan and her unique voice since 1991, Dervish have established themselves by their longevity, expert musicianship and a sound and feel very much their own.
Stylewise, Dervish pretty much represent the all-acoustic Irish trad, with fairly little inclination to reform or vary the paradigm in any essential way. A cover of Suzanne Vega’s “The Queen and the Soldier” is notable because it’s one of the rare occasions when Dervish step a bit aside of their usual path.
However, the exceptional warmth and roundness of their sound, often coupled with a somewhat laid back feel, gives Dervish their distinct flavor and attraction. It’s a very inviting and open musical style, usually unhurried; quick-tempo foot-stompin’ barnstorm tunes appear on their discography less often than on their collagues’ ouvre. In that respect, the name of the band is a bit misleading since there is not much of frantic whirling around 😉
As I’m writing this, Dervish celebrate their 30th anniversary and have just released an album of iconic Irish trad songs, featuring a stellar cast of guest artists. I believe it’s not intended as a finale or a coda but a milestone after which the journey will continue with many more songs to play and sing.
Dervish on the Web: