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Formed in 1989, IONA took their name from the small island off the west coast of Scotland. From the beginning, their aim was to write spiritual, atmospheric, yet uplifting music that would stir the emotions, weaving complex patterns that echo the intricate knot work of the great Celtic artists. Often inspired by the great figures of the Celtic Golden Age such as Columba, Aidan, Brendan and Patrick, IONA's music is as timeless as the message that reaches out to us across the centuries.
Uniquely combining rock, folk, progressive, ethnic and ambient elements with the crystalline voice of Joanne Hogg as their focus, IONA create "A blaze of colours and textures, all the sounds fusing into a single, yearning, heartfelt, beautiful cry".
IONA built up a formidable reputation as a great live band with their incredible musicianship and disarmingly humorous banter, and are noted for their timeless and innovative studio recordings.
Constant in the band throughout the years and shaping it's unique sound (around co-founders David Fitzgerald and Dave Bainbridge's initial vision) were Dave Bainbridge (guitars, keyboards, production) and Joanne Hogg (vocals, piano, acoustic guitar). Highly respected multi-instrumentalist Troy Donockley (Nightwish) was a member for 15 years and former Kajagoogoo bassist Nick Beggs was also one-time member. Several high profile guests performed with the band on various albums, include King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp and Clannad vocalist Moya Brennan.
Though not currently active as a band, Iona's music lives on through the activities of it's individual members. Open Sky Records is committed to bringing Iona's music to a new generation of listeners as well as introducing you to many of the amazing, related releases from the extended Iona family.
“IONA has carved out a unique musical niche.....creating music that is challenging and inspirational....Their music surrounds the listener, seeming to have no beginning and no end.....Book of Kells touches something elemental,
resonating as few albums can. Allow it to touch you as well.”
C.C.M. Magazine (USA)
“Their music seems to draw from the collective memories of an entire race of people - “Beyond these Shores” is all that and more. It is a modern day masterpiece”
Bob Darden - Billboard (USA)
“Beautiful, mystic and edifying.......powerful, pure and simple”.
Musikk Forum Magazine (Norway)
“.....an exhilarating contemporary folk act, able to press traditional instruments convincingly into service alongside their electric counterparts....rarely has the new age Celtic thing been given so many welcome twists, or played with such conviction.”
“...staked in moods and atmospherics - they proceed to weave a complex, many stranded soundscape”
“......ambitious and visionary.....The effect is at times stunning, as huge ethereal soundscapes... rise up from the hi-fi speakers.....A beautiful album.”
Cross Rhythms Magazine
“.....close your eyes and prepare to sink into the atmosphere created by this magical band.”
Cornerstone Magazine (USA)