Link to Living Tradition Homepage





Sleeve not available
IONA "Open Sky" Alliance Music 1901772

Ten years of hard work and constant development have finally paid off for Iona, with their latest studio album. For the uninitiated, Iona are a Celtic fusion band that weave traditional and rock influences together into a rich deep pile of sound. The uilleann pipes and whistles of Troy Donockley are the constant foundation upon which their solid full sound is based. Joanne Hogg's vocal contributions are strident and simultaneously restrained, demonstrating that here is a lady with a truly mature ensemble voice. I used to have some misgivings about Iona's rhythm section in previous incarnations, but now they sound like they are going somewhere, with a particular destination in mind, and I would attribute much of this improvement to the new drummer Frank van Essen, who also plays violin and contributes vocals. In fact this band must be a sound man's nightmare as they collectively play so many instruments - and the logistics of recording a studio album, I would assume, will take on Sgt. Pepperesque proportions. Great efforts have been made to emphasise the atmospheric and ephemeral nature of the music, and a tasteful guest contribution of Billy Jackson's harp playing on the epic 22 minute long 'Songs Of Ascent' suite is one of many icings on the already fruitful cake. This is a big sound that will always require a sizeable concert arena to give it justice - so don't expect to see this band advertised at your local club - but on the basis of this album they are worth travelling a distance to see live.

Grem Devlin

Secure On-line mailorder service Buy this CD online from The Listening Post
The Listening Post is the CD mailorder service of The Living Tradition magazine.
This album was reviewed in Issue 40 of The Living Tradition magazine.