IONA, a Christian Celtic progressive rock band, has gone through numerous transformations over its 17-year history.
THE EARLY YEARS--
The band was founded in 1988. David Fitzgerald, on a trip to Lindisfarne was 'overwhelmed by the sense of history and atmosphere on that Holy Island'. He wrote in his diary 'I sense an incredible feeling of unity with the previous inhabitants. I am challenged by the lives of these early saints and our 1980's materialistic interpretation of Christianity. We certainly seem to have lost a lot of inner peace and serenity that this place echoes. I feel personally too locked into the cares of this earthly life; a life that centres itself on money, work, career, status and other material things - almost a slave to them'. David was affected deeply by his experience and looking more deeply at the source of inspiration of Lindisfarne, traced it back to Iona.
The source of Christianity in this country came largely from this beautiful isle, shedding light on much of pagan Britain. Columba sailed to Iona from Ireland in AD563 and set up a monastery which became a missionary base from which Christianity spread throughout Scotland and northern Britain.
Thus the idea of Iona the band was formed as David shared his experiences with Dave Bainbridge, and the two suddenly had a focus for music for the band they had been thinking of getting together.
Iona win award for 'Best International Artist 1992' (GMA Awards). 'The Book of Kells' is also voted 'Best Import Album' for 1992 in Syndicate Magazine (USA) and number 2 by Bob Darden in his 'Critics Choice' of best albums for 1992 (Billboard Magazine USA). 'Q' Magazine vote 'Journey into the Morn' as one of their top 50 albums for 1996 and one of their top 5 folk albums.
For an in-depth history of the band from 1988 to the present, check the band's official website.
CURRENT MEMBERS OF THE BAND--
JOANNE HOGG: vocals, piano, keyboard.
DAVE BAINBRIDGE: guitars, keyboards, bouzouki, programming.
TROY DONOCKLEY: uilliann pipes, low whistles, acoustic & e-bow guitars, bouzouki, guitars, vocals.
PHIL BARKER: fretted and fretless bass guitars.
FRANK VAN ESSEN: drums, percussion, acoustic & electric violin, vocals.
Some of the band members have also produced solo projects.