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Biographie de Iona
Source / Auteur : Official Website Date : 13/08/2005 Nb consultation : 4591
1988 - David Fitzgerald, on a trip to Lindisfarne (shown above) is 'overwhelmed by the sense of history and atmosphere on that Holy Island'. He wrote in his diary 'I sense an incredible feeling of unity with the previous inhabitants. I am challenged by the lives of these early saints and our 1980's materialistic interpretation of Christianity. We certainly seem to have lost a lot of inner peace and serenity that this place echoes. I feel personally too locked into the cares of this earthly life; a life that centres itself on money, work, career, status and other material things - almost a slave to them'. David was affected deeply by his experience and looking more deeply at the source of inspiration of Lindisfarne, traced it back to Iona.
The source of Christianity in this country came largely from this beautiful isle, shedding light on much of pagan Britain. Columba sailed to Iona from Ireland in AD563 and set up a monastery which became a missionary base from which Christianity spread throughout Scotland and northern Britain.
Thus the idea of Iona the band was formed as David shared his experiences with Dave Bainbridge, and the two suddenly had a focus for music for the band they had been thinking of getting together.
1989 - June - Iona's debut gig at Thurston Upper School, Suffolk, England.
Promoted by Paul Heffer.
David Fitzgerald: saxes/flutes/recorder/tin whistle.
Dave Bainbridge: keyboards/electric guitar.
Caroline Bonnett: support.
July - The two Daves spend a few days on Iona.
August - First gig with Joanne on the fringe at Greenbelt Festival, Northants, England.
David Fitzgerald: saxes/flutes/recorder/tin whistle.
Dave Bainbridge: keyboards/electric guitar.
Joanne Hogg: vocal/keyboard.
1990 - March - Recording of debut album.
David Fitzgerald: saxes/flutes/recorder/tin whistle.
Dave Bainbridge: keyboards/electric guitar.
Joanne Hogg: vocal/keyboard.
Guests include Terl Bryant, Tim Harries, Troy Donockley and Peter Whitfield (strings).
June - Debut album released with Word UK (on the What label).
August - Open air charity concert (in aid of victims of oppression in Equador) behind the 'Pickerel' pub, Suffolk, England. 400 people attend. David, Dave, Jo + guest Tim Franks (drums).
Flevo festival, Holland. 8,000 people attend.
Christian Artists Seminar, De Bron, Holland. David, Dave, Jo + Frank Van Essen (drums/percussion).
N.B. we were looking for someone to replace the sequenced synth bass module we were using which, although very reliable, lacked a certain charisma and stage presence! Mike Haughton, a friend of the two Daves, who was at the Flevo gig suggested Nick Beggs.
First gigs with Nick guesting, include Greenbelt festival. David, Dave, Jo + Nick Beggs (Chapman Stick/bass), Tim Franks (guesting on drums/percussion). Soon after this Frank Van Essen (drums/percussion) joins the band and Nick continues to guest when other commitments allow.
October - Spoor 7 TV concert, Gouda, Holland. Other artists include Leon Patillo (ex Santana singer).
November - Visit the islands of Mull and Iona. Rehearse/write and shoot a video for a Dutch TV company (later released on Videogems).
1991 - January - February - Further writing sessions. It becomes clear that we have material developing for two separate projects: songs which will eventually be used on 'Beyond these Shores'; and music for a concept work based on the 8th century illuminated manuscript, the 'Book of Kells'.
May - More gigs now coming in. The fact that Frank is based in Holland is not working out logistically. Meanwhile Terl, who was for a time based in the USA, is now home and agrees to play some live dates with us including Europe-Fest Bonn, Germany in front of 6,000 people. Also on the bill are German band 'Passport'.
David, Dave, Jo, Terl, Nick (when commitments allow).
June - Dave Bainbridge is interviewed on Tyne Tees TV programme 'Believing People' along with footage of the band playing 'The Island'. The band appears at Rolle Festival in Switzerland.
July - UK concerts/writing sessions.
'Here I Stand' used on BBC1's 'Titchmarsh's Travels'.
August - Play Greenbelt festival supporting Steeleye Span (who include Tim Harries on bass). Mike Haughton (saxes/flutes) stands in for David Fitzgerald (who is touring in the Baltic States with Adrian Snell).
October - Leverkusen Jazz Festival in Germany.
Tim Harries and Frank van Essen stand in for Nick and Terl. Highlights of the gig later shown on German National T.V.
1992 - Record 'Book of Kells' with the now regular line-up of David, Dave, Jo, Terl and Nick with guests including; Frank (drums/percussion/violin), Troy (low whistles/uilleann pipes) and Fiona Davidson (Celtic Harp).
June - Martin Neil (drums/percussion) replaces Terl on UK dates as Terl is in the USA completing his last tour with the Pete Murphy band to whom he is still, up until now, contracted.
August - Greenbelt festival (again!). On before Runrig. This turns out to be David Fitzgerald's last UK gig with the band.
September - Memorable and humbling 9 day tour in Estonia including a concert at the former Communist Party HQ which is now the home of the Estonian Christian Church. Due to lack of finances it is not possible to take the whole band. David, Dave, Jo + Martin Neil (drums/percussion).
David Fitzgerald decides to leave the band and commences a three year full-time music degree course.
October - Mike Haughton joins the band.
1993 - January - UK mini tour - first with Mike Haughton.
March - Meet Simon Hicks who by the summer is the band's manager.
April - Iona win award for 'Best International Artist 1992' (GMA Awards). 'Kells' is also voted 'Best Import Album' for 1992 in Syndicate Magazine (USA) and number 2 by Bob Darden in his 'Critics Choice' of best albums for 1992 (Billboard Magazine USA).
May - Open air outreach concert in Liverpool for drug addicts. Four corners of the Earth in Salisbury Cathedral.
April - August - Festivals in the UK/Germany/France/Switzerland and Holland.
June - October - Record 'Beyond These Shores' in Manchester and an additional session with Robert Fripp in Bath. Other guests on the album include Troy, Fiona, Peter and Debbie Bainbridge (Dave's wife) on oboe.
October - Record 'Treasure' promotional video at Pencoed Castle in Wales.
November - December - 10 day UK tour. Dave writes and the band records music for BBC TV Natural World programme 'Snowdonia, Realm of the Raven'. (Shown May 1994 and again in August 1997). Fiona Davidson (Celtic Harp) guests on the recording.
'Beyond These Shores' is released in UK, Europe and Australasia.
1994 - February - UK tour, including the band's first ever gigs in Scotland.
Journalist Thom Grainger flies from the USA especially to spend time with the band to write an article for the US magazine CCM (click here to check out their website)
March - TV concert in Holland for E.O. TV (attended by about 1400 people).
Writing sessions in Ireland.
April - Two Iona tracks are featured on a compilation cassette issued by the 'British Progressive Rock Journal'; 'Final Journey' and 'Treasure' (single edit).
The US single version of 'Treasure' goes in at numbers 8 and 14 respectively in two of America's Christian music charts.
May - First broadcast of 'Snowdonia - Realm of the Raven', the Natural World series on BBC2 which features specially commissioned music by Iona.
The band perform two songs 'live' on the BBC1 TV programme 'Heart and Soul'. UK tour including successful gig at The Grand Theatre in Clapham with Eden Burning.
June - Appearance at Glastonbury Festival on the Avalon Stage. The band's first visit to the USA appearing at Cornerstone Festival.
July - The band appear at Creation festival in the USA in front of 25,000 people.
August - Writing sessions in Ireland with Joanne. Thanks to a distribution link with Permanent Records, 'Beyond these Shores' becomes the first Iona album available nationwide in Our Price stores.
September - UK tour (the band's most extensive to date). The band is supported by singer/songwriter Iain Archer from Ireland.
Nick Beggs resigns from the band. Nick's departure leaves a difficult hole to fill. Amazingly Tim Harries is free to do the whole of the UK tour. He learns the whole set with only two days rehearsal and jettisons all his music by the second gig!
Mike Haughton is unable to make the last few gigs on the UK tour or the German/Dutch tour due to landing a place in the Cliff Richard band. His place is admirably filled by Mike Parlett (who has previously played with Take That, Gabrielle and Yazz among others). The addition of Mike's expertise on percussion and wind synthesiser is an added bonus as is his ability to get the audience clapping in 9/8 time!
The band play a short one off acoustic set at the 'In the City' event in Manchester. Andy Coughlan - session bass player and member of the Mal Pope band - fills in.
October - UK tour continues, including the band's first gigs in Ireland. Maire Brennan (from Clannad) comes to the Dublin show.
November - German/Dutch tour (the band's first). Unfortunately Tim Harries is unavailable due to prior commitments with Steeleye Span so the bass spot on the tour is filled by Luca Genta. Luca is an Italian multi-instrumentalist living in Holland. Dave Bainbridge toured with Luca in a stage production of a musical presentation called 'The Passion' by Adrian Snell back in 1990.
Luca does a great job learning the set and also contributes whistle and recorder on a few tracks.
December - German/Dutch tour continues.
Joanne is awarded the Classic Rock Appreciation Society's 'Best Female Vocalist' award for 1994.
A deal is completed with the 'Pony Canyon' label in Japan for distribution there of Iona's first three albums.
1995 - February - June - Recording of 'Journey into the Morn' at Neil Costello's Soundfield studio in the heart of the lovely Derbyshire countryside.
The studio, set up in a 200 year old barn (formerly a craft centre), proves to be a superb working environment with its beautiful setting looking out onto fields filled with sheep and new born lambs.
March - At the completion of the band's original 3 album contract with Word, a joint deal is signed with Alliance (in the UK) and Forefront (in the USA).
The deal is a vast improvement on the previous one with Word and leaves the band the option to pursue other licensing deals to get the next three albums out to a wider audience.
The band 65dba (now 'dba') work on a white label 'ambient dance' album, which includes their remix of the track 'Beyond These Shores'. Jo also guests on another track on the album.
HMV take on several hundred copies of the first 2 albums and have a dedicated 'Iona' section in some stores (in the 'folk' section).
April - The April newsletter is the first 'German translation' Iona newsletter to be distributed by our new German Friends of Iona, co-ordinator Andreas Scholz.
May - 'Morn' album sessions in Dublin with Maire Brennan
(singer/Celtic Harpist with Clannad).
June - Gigs in Belfast and at Glastonbury Festival (Avalon Stage) - premiering some of the 'Morn' material. A 'live' version of 'Heaven's Bright Sun' is recorded during Iona's Glastonbury appearance for an album entitled '25th Anniversary Avalon - Live'. The album was to celebrate 25 years of the Glastonbury festival and proceeds were to be donated to the 'Greenpeace' and 'Free Tibet' campaigns. However we are not sure whether it was ever released. Troy Donockley, who has guested on all the Iona albums and occasionally 'live', becomes a more permanent member, joining the band on tour for the first time.
July - Live concert on Lindisfarne. The BBC film the band in concert on Lindisfarne Island in Northumberland. The event is broadcast a week later as part of a summer series called 'Routes and Rhythms'. This is the fulfillment of a dream as the island and its history have been very significant to the band from the beginning and are particularly relevant to the 'Journey into the Morn' album. The concert includes the first 'live' performances of some of the 'Morn' pieces. Dave and Joanne are also interviewed on the programme by Caron Keating. The band perform in Rotherham for the Classic Rock Society. The recording part of 'Journey into the Morn' is completed.
August - UK gigs, including Greenbelt Festival mainstage - headlining in front of 12,000 people. The band are delighted that Calum Malcolm is free to mix 'Journey into the Morn' along with Dave Bainbridge. Calum has worked with Maire Brennan, Blue Nile, Capercaille and Runrig amongst others.
September - The BBC has a great response to the 'Routes and Rhythms' programme on Lindisfarne. The band play two very contrasting gigs in the space of a few days; Bury St. Edmunds Cathedral and Cardiff University students union. At the Bury concert, Iona founder and former member David Fitzgerald does the opening set - playing material from his first solo album 'Columcille' accompanied by Tim Oliver (keys), Andrea Cockerton (vocals/keys) and Dave Bainbridge and Terl Bryant. It is a lovely reunion - the first time that the two Daves and Terl have played a concert together since David's departure from the band in 1992.
October - 'Journey into the Morn' is released (timed to coincide with the start of a lengthy UK tour which continues on through November). The new album is available in HMV and Virgin stores during the tour. The band are very pleased with the way the album sounds - at just over 78 minutes long it is the longest Iona album yet - more or less equivalent to a double album in old vinyl terms! It also includes, in Encircling, the longest Iona piece recorded to date (at over 12 minutes). Tim Harries (Basses) is unable to do some dates on the tour due to prior commitments with his other band Steeleye Span, but is replaced on these by Phil Barker. Phil first stood in for Tim at the Borderline gig in London in August. Not all goes smoothly on the tour. The Bristol concert is cancelled due to fire damage at the venue 2 weeks before the band is due to play there and the concerts in Leeds, Lancaster and Whitehaven are postponed until early in 1996 due to Joanne contracting laryngitis and losing her voice. Supporting on the whole tour (except at Keele when Eden Burning played) were an excellent duo from Manchester, Annie and Graham (who performed under the name Aon), and whose gently evocative songs set just the right tone for the evenings.
A series of three TV programmes ('ABC of the Celtic Saints') are broadcast by Tyne Tees TV on the lives of Aidan, Bede and Cuthbert. The programmes also deal with the contemporary relevance of Celtic Christianity. Some of Iona's music is used as background music for the series. The band perform 'Irish Day' live on the ITV TV programme 'This Sunday'.
December - Play at the 'Christmas Rock Festival' in Erlangen, Germany. Joanne and (former bassist) Nick Beggs both feature in a rock poll in a Latvian music paper! Jo is joint third in the best vocalist category (along with 4 others including Sting!), and Nick is joint second in the bass guitar section.
1996 - February - Re-scheduled UK gigs from December 1995. Highlight is the Leeds Irish Centre gig where 600 people attend and make for a great atmosphere.
March - Recording of the traditional folk song 'I will give my love an Apple' for the Classic Rock Society's 'Unprogged' CD. Spoor 7 TV festival gig in Holland is broadcast simultaneously on the internet.
April - EMI release 'Journey into the Morn' in Canada.
May - Gigs in the UK and one in Germany. Live broadcast for BBC Radio Scotland. Filming for 'Songs of Praise' in Avoca (TV's Ballykissangel) in Ireland - on a cold and very rainy day! Jo and Dave interviewed for 'The Rock that Rolled Away' for ITV.
June - 'Journey' is released in Japan by Pony Canyon.
July - Our first tour in the USA and Canada.
Support Runrig at Killyleigh Castle in Ireland.
August - Festivals in Holland and the UK.
September/October - Alliance inform us that 'Journey' has sold over 49,000 copies. That takes the total sold (including copies through 3Cord) to approx 52,000 up to September. German tour. Good attendances (including 900 in Bonn - 800 in Braunschweig). Very well received by the press - except for one reviewer who described us as sounding like 'Pink Floyd played on a Bontempi organ'!! We were a bit suspicious when he referred in his review to a song we hadn't even played on the whole tour!
Stand in bass player Tony Stipetic does a great job despite playing 5 gigs with a broken finger - which occurred playing football! Play in front of 7,000 at the Alliance Festival at the Nynex Arena in Manchester. We are pleased at the response of the 'younger than our usual' audience and that the day (which was a huge step of faith to put on) was a success for Alliance.
November - 'Journey' enters number 21 in Germany's National World Music charts.
December - NSPCC charity shows. Joanne wins the Classic Rock Society's award for Best Female Vocalist (for the second time in 3 years). It is presented to her backstage at the 'Leeds Irish Centre' by Martin Hudson from the society. Live Album recording dates - the initial 'red light' syndrome (everyone standing motionless in silence as the wind whistles round) - is soon overcome as some great performances are put on tape. Thanks for your support on the gigs! Hear that 'Q' Magazine have voted 'Journey' as one of their top 50 albums for 1996.
1997 - January - 'Q' Magazine vote 'Journey into the Morn' as one of their top 50 albums for 1996 and one of their top 5 folk albums. 'Heaven's Bright Sun' album mixed at the singer Fish's Millennium Studio near Edinburgh. UK tour starts in London.
February - UK tour is cut short by the tragic and sudden death of Joanne's mum Anna. Troy breaks a finger on his left hand after trapping it in a door. The top of his finger is almost severed and a doctor says that the damage could have been permanent had the break been a couple of millimetres lower. (Fortunately the finger has now completely healed).
March - UK dates rearranged from February tour.
April - Release of 'Heaven's Bright Sun' album in UK and Europe.
May - TV recordings for 'First Light' (BBC1) and 'This Sunday' (ITV). Jo and Dave have writing sessions in Ireland.
June - UK dates, including a concert in the majestic surroundings of Ely Cathedral. Joanne rows from Ireland to the island of Iona in a currach with a crew of 14 in commemoration of the 1400th anniversary of the death of Columba. She is interviewed about the voyage on 'Songs of Praise' (BBC1).
July - The band's third trip to the USA coincides with the US release on July 1 of 'Heaven's Bright Sun' and includes a headline appearance at the Cornerstone Festival in front of 25,000 people and an appearance on cable TV programme 'The 700 Club'.
August - Headline at Greenbelt Festival in front of 12,000 people. Appear at the Bardentreffen Folk Festival in Nurnberg, Germany, which is held in the moat of the town's castle! The band's performance of the song 'Lindisfarne', recorded live on the island of Lindisfarne in July 1995, is shown on 'Summerscapes' (BBC1).
October - UK tour including last UK gig (Solihull) until 1999. A fault with the microphone on Troy's pipes prompts spur of the moment performance of the 'Free' song 'All Right Now'.
December - German tour - last dates until 1999. Joanne voted 'Best Female Vocalist' in the Classic Rock Society's annual awards.
1998 - Iona take a one year sabbatical to concentrate on solo projects and re-assess things for the future. During this period Terl Bryant leaves the band to concentrate on Psalm Drummers and other touring and recording work, and Mike Haughton leaves to concentrate on other projects and work with Cliff Richard. Frank van Essen rejoins the band.
1999 - May sees the new line-up and the first gig since the sabbatical. The 'Woven Chord' concert is performed in London with the All Souls Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall.
June - November - 1999 - A very busy time in the studio. Soon after the succesful 'Woven Cord' concert with the All Soul's Orchestra, work begins on piecing together material from the concert for the 'Woven Cord' album. Pic left shows Nigel Palmer backstage recording the Festival Hall concert (May 1999).
After a few months of editing, mixing takes place with Calum Malcolm at Castle studio near Edinburgh in August. Meanwhile, writing of material for what is to become the 'Open Sky' album is happening concurrently.
August / September - A few festival appearances in Europe (Switzerland and Holland). The Switzerland festival is memorable for the band playing during a thunder storm, complete with torrential rain and towels on the equipment in a vain attempt to keep it dry!
October 1999 - The 'Woven Cord' album is released on the Alliance label. Forefront in the US delay release until March of the following year.
November 1999 - March 2000 - Recording of the 'Open Sky' album, largely at Chapel Studios in the heart of rural Lincolnshire. The band breaks off in December to play at a concert in aid of Amnesty International in Germany.
May 2000 - Release of 'Open Sky' coincides with a UK tour.
July 2000 - Further UK dates, including at a Millennium celebration in the spectacular surroundings of Stourhead Gardens in Wiltshire.
November 2000 - The band's first actual tour in Switzerland (see pics below) is very well attended and well received. Jean-Daniel Lerber, the tour's promoter becomes the band's tour agent for the whole of mainland Europe.
December 2000 - Concerts in Holland. Nick Beggs fills in for Phil, who is unable to get out of a prior commitment.
February 2001 - Iona's first ever concert dates in Japan organised by The Music Plant. The band are overwhelmed by the audience response each night, and the fact that many people are already familiar with the band's music. An acoustic 'welcome' evening in a small club sees the whole audience coming to chat to the band and have their cds signed afterwards! Over a traditional Japanese meal, Joanne announces the joyous news that she is pregnant - and suffering very bad morning sickness.
March - July - Due to complications with the pregnancy, Jo's doctor advises her not to do anymore long haul flights until after the baby is born. The band manages one Festival appearance in the USA in Memphis, but unfortunately has to cancel other US dates and the planned appearance at the Baja Prog Festival in Mexico.
July - The band is dropped by US label Forefront after management changes at the company and a change of emphasis to favour signing more younger chart oriented artists.
August - After discussions with Alliance Media, Iona's UK label, it is agreed that the band can be freed from their current contract in order to set up their own label 'Open Sky'. Iona immediately begin to look into the possibility of releasing a 4cd box set as their own label's first release. Greenbelt Festival decide that it is too risky to have the band on the bill due to Jo's baby's imminent birth (although Jo is feeling fine by now), so they cancel our appearance.
September 28th - Baby Issac Hogg is born to proud parents Jo and Steve.
September 2001 to June 2002 - Work continues behind the scenes to set up the 'Open Sky' label, and to prepare the box set for release. The latter is a huge task, as the box set contains a 60 page full colour booklet with around 80 archive photos which have to be collated from various sources, and around 10,000 words of text, much of it newly written.
In addition, original master tapes have to be sourced and transferred to new digital media, several tracks are reworked and remixed, and a whole cd of new and unreleased material is prepared. Unsurprisingly, the original release date has to be delayed.
June 2002 - After a break of a whole year from playing live concerts due to Jo's pregnancy and subequent giving birth, Iona are overjoyed to be back on stage! After a few days rehearsals, the band are back with a very well received run of concerts, starting at the Orange Wow (Fish Quay) Festival in North Shields and then on the Germany for two appearances.
August 2002 - Release of the bands first recording on own label 'Open sky Records'. 'The River Flows' boxset is attracting very positive feedback from fans.
IONA have been back on the road with a number of dates in Europe and the UK.
Zoetermeer photos - August 30 2002
September 2002 - The band perform in the open air at Expo 2002 in Switzerland. Over dinner, Jo announces the miraculous news that she is pregnant again.
September 2002 - The band perform in the open air at Expo 2002 in Switzerland. Over dinner, Jo announces the miraculous news that she is pregnant again.
October 2002 - Dave & Debbie begin their exciting home-based Son-Rise programme with their autistic son Luca. This cuts down the time Dave is able to spend on Iona matters.
Dave & Debbie begin their exciting home-based Son-Rise programme with their autistic son Luca. This cuts down the time Dave is able to spend on Iona matters.
November 2002 - At the end of the month, the band perform their last concerts (in Germany and at the Winter Wonder Rock Festival in Holland), before Joanne¹s maternity leave. Iona plans are put on hold.
At the end of the month, the band perform their last concerts (in Germany and at the Winter Wonder Rock Festival in Holland), before Joanne¹s maternity leave. Iona plans are put on hold.
December 2002 - Dave starts work on 'Veil of Gossamer', his first solo album.
Frank van Essen and wife Marlou release a Dutch language Christmas album of traditional Dutch Christmas folk songs, titled 'Immanuel'. The recording, which mixes classical and folk influences, features Troy and Dave on a number of tracks and is proving to be very popular in Frank's native Holland.
Dave starts work on 'Veil of Gossamer', his first solo album.
January - April - Dave works on putting together the Songs for Luca album, including remixing the Iona track 'Beijing' from the first album and sourcing a great live version of 'Matthew - The Man' from a live Iona show in Japan. Present and former Iona members also contribute tracks.
March - Despite being almost eight months pregnant, Jo manages to record some stunning vocal performances for Dave¹s solo album, although she has to do it sitting down and with plenty of rests in between takes! April Troy's second solo album 'In Pursuit of Illision' is released on his own Lantern Records label.
May - Jo's second son Ethan is born. The 'Songs for Luca' 2 cd album is released to help Dave and Debbie fund their Son-Rise programme for Luca and also to eventually help pay for Luca, Dave and Debbie to attend the Son-Rise 'Intensive' course at the Autism Treatment Centre in the USA. All the artists involved kindly donate tracks for free and even the artwork, mastering and manufacturing are donated!
June - Dave and his wife Debbie take the decision to take their 5 year old autistic son Luca out of school straight away so that they can devote more time to his homebased Son-Rise program
July - mThe band get the rights back for their first 3 album releases (Iona, The Book of Kells and Beyond These Shores) and plan to re-release them on their own Open Sky label later in the year.
September - The reworked version of the track 'Iona' from the band's first album appears on a compilation album released by the mainstream giants BMG Records titled 'Celtic Circle 2'. The 2 cd, 40 track album also features tracks by a whole host of well known artists, including Clannad, Jeff Beck, The Corrs, Mike Oldfield, Sinead O¹Connor, Van Morrison, Loreena McKinnett, The Chieftans, Davy Spillane etc, etc. Two Iona tracks - 'Treasure' and 'The Island' (reworked version) are also featured on another compilation album released by The World Wide Music Group, entitled 'The Celtic Worship Collection'. Other artists also featured on this album include Eden's Bridge, Jeff Johnson and Robin Mark. Troy's latest solo album 'In Pursuit of Illusion' enters the 'Out of this World' top 10 for 'progressive and symphonic rock' albums on the Dutch web site www.progwereld.org
October - Troy and Dave play their first ever gigs and a duo at venues in the UK. The set includes solo album material, traditional folk tunes and Iona tracks and the concerts are very well received. Included in the set are tracks like 'Conscious', the opening track from Troy's 'Illusion' - quite a challenge for the boys to play it live as the album version features a whole cast of musicians including the York Cantores Choir!
November - Troy's latest solo album 'In Pursuit of Illusion' has been getting some good reviews and is now available in many mainstream music shops thanks to a distribution deal with the Discovery record label. Meanwhile Troy and Dave play a few more UK dates, one of which (at The Studio, Hartlepool) is recorded in their purpose build recording facility. Iona's first 3 albums are re-released on 'Open Sky' - in conjunction with Voiceprint. The albums feature great new artwork, courtesy of Chris Sands, some of which is derived from the Iona box set artwork.
2004 - Although it is a quiet year as far as the band are concerned, due to Joanne's maternity leave, behind the scenes requests for interviews continue to come in from various sources - mainly music web sites that are often only just discovering Iona's music and want to know more. Promotional cds are frequently sent out to radio shows across the world from the Iona office - an increasing number of these shows being streamed on the web.
February - Troy and Dave play a duo gig in front on an enthusiastic 'home crowd' at Fibbers in York.
Released this month on the 'Sanctuary' Label, is a compilation CD of British Composers with a Celtic feel. Called 'Celtic Classics', the album includes 'Overture: Journey North'. This orchestral piece, written by Troy, opened the Iona concert at the Royal Festival Hall in May 1999 and has since been performed twice at Moya Brennan concerts. The piece is part of Troy's as yet unfinished 'Rheged Symphony'. The album is to have a major TV campaign (featuring the music!) and is very novel in that Troy and Sir Paul McCartney are the only living composers featured!
March - Dave completes work on 'Veil of Gosamer' with mix engineer Calum Malcolm up in Scotland June Veil of Gossamer, Dave's first solo album is released and immediately begins to receive some excellent reviews.
Following on from their gigs together, work begins on Troy and Dave's first duo album. The recording will feature a mixture of tracks recorded live and in the studio, and will include Iona material as well as tracks from Troy's solo albums, some traditional pieces and a few 'solo spots'.
July - Dave, Frank and Jo get together in Ireland early in July to work on new Iona song ideas, the result is four new songs, including two ('Strength' and 'Factory of Magnificent Souls') that will be featured on the forthcoming concerts.
September - After almost a two year break, Iona are performing live again! After rehearsals in a secluded rural location in Yorkshire in the north of England, September sees the band's first ever gig in Belgium (at the Spirit of '66 club), along with a welcome return to Holland for two concerts. Three new tracks are featured in the set and are well received. The band open up the concerts with an acoustic set, before coming back with the full monty.
'Celtic Circle 3' released by BMG features 'Until the Tide Turns' from Dave's solo album and the Iona track 'Divine Presence'. Other artists included in this impressive 2 cd release include; Sarah McLachlan, Clannad, Rory Gallagher, Maire Brennan, Christy Moore, The Corrs, Annie Lennox, Van Morrison & The Cheiftains, Paul Brady, Runrig, Altan, Sharon Shannon & Steve Earle, Sinead O'Connor, Altan, Waterson: Carthy, Capercaillie , Eva Cassidy, Davy Spillane, Lorenna McKennitt and Kate Rusby.
Meanwhile in the Netherlands, BMG release a compilation called 'Keltische Muziek' as part of their 'Sfeer & Romantiek' series. Dave's 'Until the Tide Turns' is also on this album which also includes tracks by Capercaillie, Chieftains & Sinead O'Conno, Clannad, Eddi Reader, Jeff Johnson & Brian Dunning, Loreena McKennitt, Maire Brennan, Sarah McLachlan, Adiemus, Kate Bush, Eleanor McEvoy & Mary Black, Celtus, Dan Ar Braz et L'Heritage des Celtes, David Spillane, Eleanor McEvoy, All About Eve, Michael Flatly, Enya, The Corrs and others.
Dave and Debbie report that so far over £9,000 has been raised from sales of the 'Songs for Luca' album. This enables them to put down a deposite on the week long Son-Rise Intensive course (as featured on a BBC1 QED programme a few years ago) at the Autism Treatment Centre USA for February 2005, which they are really excited about.
October - On the evening of 27th October Troy and Dave set up their gear in the cavernous surroundings of Lincoln Cathedral and improvised together for over an hour, taking their inspiration from their surroundings and the wonderful acoustic properties of the building. The session is recorded and filmed and will later become their first duo release 'From Silence'.
November - A welcome return for the band to Germany sees them perform three gigs, then returning to the UK a few days later (along with nasty flu type infections for Troy and Dave) for a very special concert at ULU (University of London Union) on the 18th, which will be filmed for the band's first full length concert DVD. The London DVD concert is the band's first UK date in almost 2 years. The opportunity comes up at very short notice, but despite less than 2 months to publicise the event the band are very please to see 350 or so very enthusiastic Iona diehards turn out on a very wet and miserable evening. The concert, arranged by Voiceprint, turns out to be a truly great event and, despite the illnesses contracted the week before in Germany by Troy and Dave, the band play a storming set. With superb lighting from Paul Kell, a full 5 camera film crew and multi track recording set up backstage, the band feel that this will really be a fantastic document of Iona's powerful live performances. The DVD will also be the band¹s first 5.1 surround sound mix, which will be done by 5.1 expert John Kellogg in Los Angeles.
December - Troy and Dave head off to the unseasonably warm climes of Tokyo for three concerts hosted by The Music Plant. The sets includes two improvised tracks based on music on the 'From Silence' album - a nice contrast to the more tightly arranged pieces - and a new acoustic guitar piece from Dave (one for the next solo album!). On the last night, support is provided by the fantastic Tokyo band 'Es', fronted by keyboard virtuoso Kenichi. Dave joins the band on guitar for one of their tracks, then Troy returned for 'Heaven¹s Bright Sun' and 'Jigs' - accompanied brilliantly by 'Es'. Another surprise guest is Yoshishi, founder and guitarist of popular progressive band 'Kenso', who surprises Troy and Dave with a wonderful solo electric guitar rendition of 'Irish Day'. The evening ends with all the musicians jamming on the Free track 'All Right Now' - with Troy handling lead vocal duties!
Other News in 2004
Midway through the year, the band manage to secure the rights back to their four most recent albums ('Journey into the Morn', 'Heaven's Bright Sun', 'Woven Cord' and 'Open Sky'). These are to be relaunched in 2005 on the bands 'Open Sky' label and will include brand new artwork for 'Journey into the Morn'. Meanwhile a distribution deal is secured with ICC records for distribution into Christian retail outlets.
Another in Kingsway's 'New Irish Hymns' series of albums is released. 'New Irish Hymns - Christmas' again has Joanne as one of the featured singers.
Jo sings several songs on the 'Songs of Praise' programme on BBC TV.
A very busy year for Troy includes production work and co-writing on Barbara Dixon's excellent new album 'Full Circle', concerts with Barbara and opera diva Lesley Garrett and songwriting with Midge Ure. As if that's not enough, Troy also finds time to write the music for several BBC TV programmes, including Timewatch, and play on a number of other albums, artists include Moya Brennan and US folk artist Jennifer Cutting.
BOSE, the well respected Hi-Fi company use a track from Troy's first album, 'The Unseen Stream', as part of their new advertising campaign. The piece, 'Sights' has been re-mixed in 5.1 Surround and is heard as part of the BOSE multi-media show in their plush 'in-store' theatres.
Former Iona members Nick Beggs, David Fitzgerald and Terl Bryant are all busy releasing excellent solo projects. Bass player and Chapman Stick virtuoso Nick has an album of solo Stick recitals out, titled 'The Mavrick Helmsman'.
Iona co-founder Dave Fitzgerald latest solo release is titled 'God is Love' and former Iona drummer Terl Bryant releases his first 'Psalm Drummers' cd/dvd and also a collaboration with his wife Jules.
'Over the Waters' from Dave's solo album also features on another compilation, titled 'Got Prog? The Music Street Journal Sampler CD Number 1'. Also featuring tracks by Echolyn, Erik Norlander, Lana Lane, Orphan Project and many others, this is available from www.musicstreetjournal.com or www.cafepress.com/msjmerch
Leeds based Pointed Arrow Theatre Company use the band's music in their first project Pilgrimage in which they travel along the Great North Road performing a play about the stories connected with the road, and explore British national identity as they go. A 45 min documentary film about the journey is available on DVD. See www.pointedarrow.co.uk for further details.
2005 - January
'From Silence' - Troy and Dave's first duo album (from the Lincoln Cathedral improvised performance) is released on Iona's Open Sky label. Recorded in 'binaural' - a technique which gives a fantastic sense of movement and involvement (particularly when listened to on headphones), the resultant sound is very dynamic, with Dave's keyboards and electric guitar and bouzouki loops swirling around and sounding much more organic and alive than on a conventional recording. And as the persective shifts around, Troy's pipes and whistles at once sound close and intimate, and then far away and distant, as though becoming part of the cathedral itself. The material on the album is presented exactly as it was played, with no overdubs and only a couple of edits for technical reasons.
January also sees Iona's first DVD release. An Iona documentary originally filmed for a Dutch TV series back at the end of 1990 and subsequently released on video (but deleted many years ago) is now re-released on DVD. The half hour programme, which was filmed largely on the islands of Mull and Iona, catches the band soon after the release of the first album and includes rare interview and rehearsal footage as well as some live film from one of the band's first ever concerts - a tv festival in Holland.
Work continues on Troy and Dave's next duo album 'When Worlds Collide'.
Dave continues to prepare tracks from his 'Veil of Gossamer' album for release on 'dual disk' - a new cd/dvd format. The release, planned for later in the year, will be through a new US company called Boomer Music and will feature the album mixed in 5.1 surround sound and also film footage of Dave discussing the making of the album and playing a few extracts.
Jo and Frank get together in Ireland putting down ideas for an album of devotional songs.
February - Troy works together with the producer on editing the film of his and Dave's improvised performance from Lincoln Cathedral, which is scheduled for release on DVD later in 2005, along with some accompanying interview footage was also captured on film at the time.
Troy is on tour throughout the UK with Barbara Dixon in February and March.
Dave and family head off to the USA to attend the Son-Rise Intensive programme at the Autism Treatment Centre, thanks largely to money raised from sales of 'Songs for Luca'. Luca has a great time there!
March - Jo and Dave get together to continue writing for the next Iona studio album. A short feature film on the Lindisfarne Gospels aired as part of the programme 'The 700 Club' on the cable channel CBN is accompanied by some of the band's music.
Dave is busy working on editing the Iona Live DVD music and mixing the Troy and Dave 'When Worlds Collide' album.
April - Jo sings at a promotional concert in Chicago for the 'New Irish Hymns' album series along with US singer Margaret Becker and Kirsty Getty.
Dave completes the 'When Worlds Collide' duo album mixes and the Iona Live DVD concert music is sent to LA to be mixed in 5.1 surround sound by John Kellogg.