IONA's music is a unique, acoustic weave of the traditional music of Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, Brittany (France), the Isle of Man and Galicia (Spain). Blending songs, dance tunes, and aires into a rich and stunning tapestry, their style is outstanding in an arena where these traditions are seldom intertwined.
Conceived in 1986, IONA was the musical offspring of Barbara Ryan and Bernard Argent. With fiddler Andrew Dodds and bass guitar player Chuck Lawhorn, IONA has become the leading Celtic group in the Mid-Atlantic region. They are all seasoned performers: entertainers who involve their audiences with the history and cultural backgrounds of the music, with teaching words to the songs -- even those sung in a Celtic tongue, with leading simple Breton dances, with humor, and with every emotion in the spectrum.
An IONA show is known for:
1. Traditional Celtic Material The haunting songs, toe tapping dances and the humor of the Celtic peoples from Scotland to Brittany provide IONA with an incredibly varied repertoire
2. Original Acoustic Arrangements All the members of the band play several instruments, often switching within a piece to achieve their unique sound. They weave tunes from different countries around their songs, pursuing complex rhythms with deft professionalism.
3. Lively Entertaining Presentation Above all, IONA's performances are FUN! Barbara and Bernard teach audiences words to their songs (some in Celtic languages!), lead them in clapping and even encourage them to dance!
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Individual BiographyBarbara Tresidder Ryan:
Barbara's vocals have been described as "smooth and sweet as dark honey". A folk singer in the 60's, she studied voice for 10 years, and has been a vocal coach ever since. Barbara's vocals are IONA's mainstay. She has accompanied herself on guitar since she was 12, and enjoys experimenting with different tunings. In 1983 she acquired her first bodhrán (Irish drum). Now the proud owner of 3, she is a skilled and effective percussionist. Her most recent instrumental contribution is a four course Celtic bouzouki. Barbara has performed throughout the British Isles and Brittany, at concerts and festivals all over the U.S. with IONA, and has sung for Voice Of America broadcasts, and for the National Geographic Explorer Special. She and Bernard have gained international recognition as the organizers of the Potomac Celtic Festival. They also organize the Winter Concerts at the Old Brogue.
Bernard Argent is IONA's charming historian and yarn spinner. He studied music through much of his youth and at university in England. After performing in several orchestras on trumpet, he ventured into folk realms as a blues guitarist. Inspired by the renaissance of Celtic music in the ‘70's, he took up the tin whistle and progressed to wooden flute, which have become as much a trademark of IONA's sound as Barbara's vocals. Bernard also backs the group on doumbek and occasionally on guitar. He is the bass in IONA's "precise and pretty" harmonies. He and Barbara travel extensively through the Celtic lands, collecting material for their repertoire and his scholarly interjections...
IONA's bassist not only owns just about every bass guitar conceived by mankind, but plays them all expertly. Says Chuck,"My approach to the bass has been as both a support and a melody instrument that just happens to have a lower range than most." He also dabbles in whistle and sings a mean tenor harmony with the group, although he describes himself as mostly "responsible for low notes and low humor". Born in Washington, DC, Chuck grew up in Maryland, where he started playing bass in 1967, and where he lives still. Over the past three decades as a bass guitarist, he spent 13 years travelling all over the country in different dance and show bands, and was a member of the Fabulous Potato Heads from 1995-2001.
Andrew Dodds, IONA's newest addition, is a sensationally talented young Scottish fiddler, born and raised in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. Andrew started playing violin at age 3, and has since studied fiddle with Bonnie Rideout and Elke Baker. He competed in both the 2002 and 2003 U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Championships in which he placed 2nd and 3rd, and has won innumerable competitions up and down the East Coast. Since 2001, he has attended Blazin' in Beauly fiddle school in Scotland, has taught fiddle since 2000, and performed professionally since he was 13.
When conditions permit, IONA will often bring Susan Walmsley, to add her Highland Dance to IONA's concerts. She brings a grace and sureness to the steps which are only found in someone who has been dancing since she was 7. Prior to founding the Thistle Dance School in Alexandria, VA, Susan competed at almost every major Highland Games in the Eastern US. Susan adds a new and exciting visual dimension to IONA's dynamic performance, building the energy of the music, and illustrating its drive with her accompaniment.
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Listener CommentsMember Name:
Awesome thanks for updating us Rhymer. What a great site. Slainte
Member Name: Rhymer
Date Posted: 17-Jan-2011
I have been following IONA ( Celtic Christian Band) for many years, check them out on the website.www.iona.uk.comThey are awesome!slainteRhymer.
Member Name: Macfive
Date Posted: 05-Nov-2005
News comes to us from Iona regarding the upcoming schedule!
Greetings from IONA.
Upcoming IONA shows:
We'll be in New York and Virginia in the next two months.
Sat Nov 5, 8:00 pm Warwick Valley Winery, Distillery & Orchards, 114 Little York Road, Warwick, NY (973) 258-4858
Sun Nov 27 6:00 & 8:00 pm Winter Concerts at the Old Brogue, in the Snuggery, Old Brogue Irish Pub, Georgetown Pike (Rte 193) & Walker Rd., Great Falls, VA (703) 759-3309 (see below)
Sat Dec 3, 7 - 9 pm Hidden Springs Farm House Concert, 438 Riverbend Rd., Great Falls, VA (703) 759-2440
Sat Dec 10. Richmond Celtic Christmas Show, The Richmond Raceway Complex Building "B", 600 E. Laburnum Ave. Richmond, VA (804) 740-6112
Sun Dec 18 4:30-6:45 A Celtic Solstice Celebration & Concert, Ecostewards Alliance, Unity of Fairfax Church, 2854 Hunter Mill Road
Wed Dec 28 1, 2, and 3pm. Sully Plantation, Centreville, VA (703)708-0861.
Sat Dec 31, ?05 First Night Williamsburg 2006 Williamsburg, VA
For updated info, check the web page: www.IONAmusic.com/perform.htm
The 2nd annual Fall Celtic Concert Series at the Old Brogue Irish Pub, Great Falls, VA
will take place Sunday nights Nov 6 - Nov 27, 2005.
Two seatings 6-7:30 & 8-9:30 pm in the (Smoke-Free) Snuggery
The schedule is:
November 6 Charlie Zahm, Tad Marks and Mark Sullivan - soulful Scottish ballads
November 13 Jody Marshall, Karen Ashbrook, Paul Oorts and Andrea Hoag- a lively instrumental Celtic voyagei
November 20 Ocean Orchestra Unplugged- with Jennifer Cutting, Grace Griffith, Lisa Moscatiello and Rosie Shipley - ethereal arrangements of Celtic songs and melodies
IONA - Yes, that's us! Best pan-Celtic quartet on the East Coast!
$14.00 Admission or Series Ticket for $48.00 Reservations Recommended - (703) 759-3309.
(Please don't contact us for tickets.) More info at http://www.ionamusic.com/brogue.htm
See you soon.
Barbara, Bernard, Chuck & Andrew
Our email program is not "geographically savvy". So if none of these performances is near you, please be patient. We will be back to see you before too long. You are receiving this in lieu of our traditional postcard because you provided your email address to us. If this is an error or if you would rather continue receiving the postcard, please send an email to: email@example.com and I will try to correct the problem. I apologize for any inconvenience.
Member Name: RivDan
Date Posted: 08-Apr-2005
QUOTE (CelticRose @ 17-Sep-2004, 11:41 PM) Oh thank you, 3 Ravens! I actually heard Iona today and knew right away they were not the Christian Celtic praise group. But I absolutely loved their music! wow! I plan to get their CD as I loved what I heard so much. wonderful for you 3 Ravens! What a great experience and you get to be with the wonderful band. Let us know all about the evening, ok? when does this all occur? Have fun and keep us posted! Response: I've worked for them too. I helped volunteer at the Potomac Celtic Festival in June 1999. I will be going as a customer this June with my boyfriend. Aye!
Member Name: RivDan
Date Posted: 08-Apr-2005
QUOTE (sir_tal @ 14-Sep-2004, 07:57 PM) I'll be darned. I didn't know there was another Iona. The problem is that while Iona (The Christian Praise Group) is definitely Christian, they are also of the Celtic persuasion. So while they may not be "trad", I would say that either could be discussed here. (I have seen the likes of Wolfstone and Seven Nations on here, which are definitely celtic rock.) Man, that's confusing. Thanx for letting us know, though!-Chris Response: Did you say, Seven Nations and Wolfstone? Three Ayes for Ye!
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