Philadelphia-November 17, 2009
NEARfest is proud to announce the addition of Iona to the 2010 lineup! Hailing from England, Celtic symphonic progressive rock band Iona was formed in 1989 by multi-instrumentali sts David Fitzgerald and Dave Bainbridge and joined soon after by lead vocalist Joanne Hogg. The inspiration for the band and its name came from a visit that Fitzgerald made to the serene and beautiful Scottish island of Iona the year prior. By the time Iona released their self-titled debut album in 1990, Nick Beggs (bass), Fiona Davidson (Celtic harp), Peter Whitfield (strings), Troy Donockley (Uillean pipes) and Frank Van Essen (drums, violin) had joined the band.
In 1992, the band released "The Book of Kells," a concept album based on the legendary Irish tome . Terl Bryant took over on drums and percussion for this album after the departure of Frank Van Essen. Fitzgerald also left the band to pursue a degree in music. The band's third album, "Beyond These Shores" (1993), which included guest musician Robert Fripp, was loosely based on the voyage of St. Brendan. "Journey into the Morn" (1995) was a more straight-forward release inspired by the hymn "Be Thou My Vision," which bookends the album in Gaelic and features Máire Brennan, lead singer of Celtic/New Age band Clannad.
After two live albums, Bryant left the band and Van Essen returned to play drums on 2000's "Open Sky," which was followed in 2002 by a boxed set called "The River Flows," the first release on the band's own label. The box contains their then-out-of- print first three albums remastered, as well as a fourth disc of unreleased tracks. After six years without a new studio album, the band released the gorgeous "The Circling Hour" in 2006 as well as a 2-disc live DVD "Iona: Live in London," featuring a 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround mix.
Since then, the band has continued to play live shows across Europe to enthusiastic crowds. The band has also returned to the studio to begin work on a new album which will see the light in 2010 to coincide with their 20th anniversary. In helping to celebrate the band's milestone, NEARfest is very pleased to welcome Iona to the stage to treat us to their wonderful stylistic weave of Celtic music and symphonic rock.
Iona website: http://www.iona. uk.com