YER MAMMY always told you to be nice to people when you’re on the way up, because it’s the same people you’ll pass when you’re on the way back down again.

And while Dervish, one of traditional Irish music’s greatest exports, are far from being on the way back down, their latest musical venture has seen them come full circle and back to the musical landscape from which they came.

Leitrim Equation2 is the culmination of the second Traditional Music Residency, co-ordinated by Leitrim County Council’s Arts Office, and which follows in the footsteps of the previous residency with the group Lúnasa.

This time round, Dervish visited to Co. Leitrim on 8 separate occasions over an 18 month period on a musical journey which began as a blank canvas, and will end with a gala concert in Dublin’s Button Factory later this week (Thursday Nov 24th 2011 – doors 7:30pm). Along the way, the band’s members have teamed up with musicians young and old, and the sense of satisfaction at the resulting CD is palpable, even for a group who have spent over 20 years touring and recording the world over.

What was described as a “genuinely rewarding experience” by Dervish member Michael Holmes saw the group work with local musicians with the aim of embellishing Leitrim’s rich heritage of traditional music, and enabling both tunes and songs from the county to find a new voice.  “We met some of the finest people one could encounter and were treated with the most gracious hospitality.  The music in addition to all this made it a part of my life I’ll always recall with great fondness,” he adds.

Getting back to their roots was at the core of this musical journey, and despite the fact that Sligo-based Dervish are based just a stone’s throw away from where much of this musical journey took place, it still left the band members with a sense of wonder at the depth of the tradition in Leitrim.

“If wealth could be measured in the beauty of the landscape, in folklore, history, generosity, camaraderie, music, song, stories, strength of character, in sense of place, then Leitrim is one of the richest places on the planet,” was singer Cathy Jordan’s lasting impression of the project, which also features Dé Danann singer and Leitrim native Eleanor Shanley, fiddle legend Ben Lennon and actor-turned-musician Adrian Dunbar, to name but a few.

Siobhán Long of The Irish Times said that “What’s most striking about this collection is the organic quality of the musicianship. The Leitrim Equation2 will lure many a nascent musician and singer from this most genteel of counties closer to the tradition. A welcome collaboration.”

And so to the Button Factory finale. Bringing some of Leitrim’s finest to the Dublin venue will mean that the music will be appreciated by a wider audience. Dervish singer Cathy Jordan will also act as MC for the concert, which will see the band joined by many of the musicians who took part in the recording. Indeed this gig is likely to have the distinct flavour of a session about it – a kind of ‘wait til you see who’ll be there on the night’ kind of vibe.

It’s sure to be one to take in, and if you’re a Leitrim native heading up to the city for the night, you can also avail of a free bus leaving Carrick on Shannon at 1:30. Just be warned, there’s no guarantee you’ll get home at any civilized hour!

And for all those who attend (and many more around the world who can’t), there’s an extra treat in store. The entire concert is being recorded by the LiveTrad cameras, for webcast on Friday December 9th on There will be some extra treats in store that night too (think Christmas CD stocking fillers – signed ones at that!), so roll on Dervish, a night to remember, both of them!

For more details on the concert and to listen to some preview tracks from the CD visit The Leitrim Equation 2 website.


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