Friday, October 26, 2012

Flashback Friday: Beyond These Shores

We begin the third cycle of our new Flashback Friday format. For those new to The Night Beat, we are rotating between three themes. The Industrial Revolution, A Real Alternative, and The Commonwealth of CCM. The latter is out starting point, and it is where we once again are. This theme is exploring those bands of the past and present which hail from the British Commonwealth.

Sometimes one instrument isn't enough. The multi-instrumentalist of today is usually a one man band (think Aaron Gillespie of The Almost of Bryce Avary of The Rocket Summer). When in the recording studio these artists can play all the instruments themselves, and usually do. To tour, however, they need to hire a road band.

The multi-instrumentalists in mind for today's post are all in a band, and all of them play multiple instruments. Think Mannheim Steamroller without the Christmas Music and you've got an idea. Formed in 1989 in England and named for the Island of IONA, they released their debut way back in 1990 and are still, technically, active. The core of the band is a trio
  • Dave Bainbridge - Piano, Keyboards, Fretless Keyboard, Acoustic and Electric Guitar, Keyboard and Sequencer Programming, Tambourine
  • Dave Fitzgerald - Alto and Tenor Saxophone, Concert Flute, Chinese Flute, Piccolo, Flageolet, Irish Whistle, Tenor Recorder
  • Joanne Hogg - Vocals, Vocal Choir, Piano, Keyboards
Hogg and company (the O is long as in boat) filled out the band with an additional six players, giving the band the feel of a Celtic Orchestra. The band history can be split into two periods, Public and Private. In the public phase, which lasted from 1989-2000, the band put out seven albums in 10 years, a pretty amazing feat considering the nature of the songs. This isn't your standard rock fare.
  • Iona (1990)
  • The Book Of Kells (1992)
  • Beyond These Shores (1993)
  • Journey into the Morn (1995)
  • Heaven's Bright Sun, Live (1997)
  • Woven Cord Live w/The All Souls Orchestra (1999)
  • Open Sky (2000)
Since the 21st Century, Iona has been in a period of semi-retirement, mainly due to the pressures of family life on International Touring. Still, they have managed to bring us a few new releases.
Iona is the hands down king of the Megasong, which as I mentioned in the linked post, is a song, to be fair, at least 6 minutes in length, maybe even longer. And no, the song that does not end doesn't count. Even more so, they are the masters of megasong length instrumental music. Case in point is Woven Cord. This is over nine minutes of instrumental heaven. You can't be bored with this.

I will close with a special treat, a full concert video. This one comes from the Final Cornerstone Festival Ever (2012). Enjoy.

Since the CD's at Amazon for Iona are all imports at high price or used CD's I have only put in affiliate links for those that can save you money by being available for download. I hope you will buy through the link and support the night beat at the same time. Next weeks edition of Flashback Friday will take on the aggressive smile pop industrial genius that is Joey Belville, The Echoing Green. Until my next post, I am Awaiting Your Reply.