Belfast Telegraph

A reel good time with folk legends Dervish

Dervish - Ulster Hall, Belfast

By Joe Nawaz

It’s the opening night of the 49th Ulster Bank Festival at Queen's. There's classical, country and celluloid magic happening across the city to mark the start of proceedings. The final ingredient? Folk legends Dervish in the Ulster Hall for an evening of scintillating trad shenanigans.

“Two jigs, two reels then we'll take a wee break,” says mischievous singer Cathy Jordan, as the band, though dwarfed by the majestic imposing background of the Ulster Hall's pipe organ, kick up a musical storm fit to fill the cavernous surrounds.

A gossamer-delicate version of Dylan's Boots Of Spanish Leather is prefaced by Cathy Jordan telling the audience how she was asked to play at Bob's 60th birthday. “I didn't realise that he wouldn't be there himself,” she laughs.

Throughout, her engaging banter warms the cockles, whilst the music heats up all other vitals and extremities. It is an evening of mainly joyous stamping, hollering and involuntary tapping. At one stage you could almost swear actor Adrian Dunbar, who's amongst the small but perfectly formed audience, is going to put a well-shod foot through the recently renovated Ulster Hall floor, so irresistible are the jigs, so thrilling the reels.

Special guests also abound. English folk princess Rachel Unthank and our own Brian Kennedy take to the stage to bring even more musical oomph to the already generous Dervish sound. In an impressive festival music programme, the bar has been set high from the off — no pressure there Mr Costello...

Belfast Telegraph


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