Traditional Irish band Dervish called into a near sold-out Lichfield Guildhall as part of their latest tour to promote their latest release The Thrush in the Storm.
The six piece band of Brian McDonagh on mandola and mandolin, flute and whistle player Liam Kelly, fiddle player Tom Morrow, Shane Mitchell on accordion, Cathy Jordan on vocals, bodhrán and bones and bouzouki player Michael Holmes played a wide ranging concert that ranged from the traditional music of Ireland to songs made famous by Bob Dylan.
The ensemble started of with Heading Home – a spirited instrumental – before Maggie’s Lilt/The Rookery showcased a slower, more wistful side, full of melodic invention and fine rhythm playing.
The Coolea Jigs, with the rhythm section of mandola, bodhran and bouzouki proved a solid foundation for the melodic interplay of the accordion, fiddle and whistles. This piece also featured a display of Irish dancing from Declan McCabe, who’s stunning and deft footwork also added to the spectacle and rhythm of many of the group’s more upbeat pieces.
Singer Cathy Jordan is seen as one of the best singers in traditional Irish music and this facet of the group’s repertoire was shown to best advantage in the ballad Boots of Spanish Leather.
The first set also featured Handsome Polly, while The Green Gowned Lass saw more Olympic-standard playing from all six musicians.
The second half featured a lot of new material and while the band and the audience were not as familiar with it, the standard of playing was still very high.
The Sheep on the Boat/The Rolling Wave were two tunes full of strong rhythms and perfectly played violin and whistle, while Red Haired Mary was well received, as was the final number, the title track from The Thrush in the Storm.
An encore of an acapella version of Shanna Golden was a great showcase for Cathy Jordan’s vocals and kept the audience enraptured, while concert closer Out on the Road’ was a rousing way to end the concert.