They have played everywhere, from the world’s biggest rock event to a village festival in the west of Ireland.
Now Dervish are set to have Belfast audiences in a whirl when they open this year’s Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s tomorrow night.
The Irish traditional music band will be joined on stage by Belfast singer Brian Kennedy and Newcastle-Upon-Tyne performer Rachel Unthank at the Ulster Hall on the first of 17 nights of festival magic and mayhem.
Shane Mitchell, accordion player from the band, said they were looking forward to the concert.
“We play to audiences worldwide but nothing quite matches the feeling of playing to an audience at home,” he said.
“We are thrilled to be joined onstage by Brian and Rachel for this very special concert as part of the festival.”
The group is made up of Cathy Jordan, Liam Kelly, Shane Mitchell, Brian McDonagh and Michael Holmes, and has performed in every corner of the globe, playing for heads of state and for an audience of 240,000 at the world’s biggest music festival, Rock in Rio.
They have also shared the stage with music legends such as James Brown, The Buena Vista Social Club, Oasis, Sting, REM and Beck and have chronicled their musical journey in 10 classic CDs and two DVDs.
The chart-topping act are considered as one of the all-time great traditional Irish bands, and were recently awarded with the Freedom of the City of Sligo for their contribution to region’s vibrant artistic culture.
Festival marketing manager Seana Skeffington said: “Brian Kennedy is a good friend of the festival and it’s great that he is back again this year showing his support.
“I am absolutely delighted that Brian and Rachel will be joining the wonderful Dervish on stage to kickstart the Festival.”
This year’s festival is one of the largest yet, featuring a programme of over 100 acts in 36 venues across the city.
Among the highlights this year are Cuban ballet dancer Carlos Acosta at the Grand Opera House and acclaimed New Zealand opera star Dame Kiri Te Kanawa.
The festival’s drama strand also includes a performance of Shakespeare’s Hamlet in Lithuanian, with subtitles in English, a new production about the peace process in Northern Ireland by Ransom Theatre Company, and a repeat showing of the hit local play The Boat Factory, starring Dan Gordon.
The talks programme also includes appearances by US documentary maker Michael Moore, former model and now human rights campaigner Bianca Jagger and medical expert Lord Robert Winston.
For tickets and further information visit www.belfastfestival.com or tel: 028 9097 1197.