Period: 2008-2009

History: 2008-2009

January '08 No gigs are planned this year, with Jo wanting to spend time at home to be a mother to her two young boys. Jo even offers to stand down as the band's singer, but none of the rest of the band can imagine without Jo, so this option is quickly discounted.

However this did give everyone time to re-assess things and see whether there was still a future for the band or not whilst also pursuing other projects. Recording a new studio album would have been very difficult in the current changing music industry climate. The Circling Hour album was funded directly by the band and mixed for free by the band's friend John Kellogg in the USA, and whilst it was critically well received, the lack of touring (which is where most albums are sold and greatest profit made) and major publicity meant that it still had to recoup that investment. CD sales are down across the board throughout the music industry (and consequently income from royalties) and though all the albums are available on iTunes, the percentage income to the artist from download sales is pretty meagre. It is a vicious circle.

This really does feel like a crucial time of reassessment for .

There is still plenty of related news this year:

Dave records an album with jazz musicians Pete Fairclough, Hayley Youell and Fred T Baker called 'Momentarily'. He also starts work on a new album with co-founder David Fitzgerald, called 'Life Journey' - commisioned by Mary and Mary Fleeson of the Lindisfarne Scriptorium (see ). The album will be an accompaniment to Mary's fantastically illustrated book in the Celtic tradition on a call to Christ-centred living. Jo goes over to Frank's studio in Holland to do some vocal recording for a new solo project she's been working on which will become the 'Raphael's Journey' album. Frank is taking care of overall production and the album will feature all band mates. Profits from sales are to be distributed between 3 amazing charities that help children in extreme poverty.

Jo has also been getting involved in some worship leading..... something she never imagined a few years ago that she would be doing. But she excited about it and has already written an albums worth of songs some of which she's been teaching to the church that she attends. Jo, Frank and Dave plan to work together again in this capacity at a major conference (Heaven on Earth - see ) in Holland in May.

Cindy Ross our friend from Australia begins updating the My Space page. Meanwhile the IONA/ office gets numerous (sometimes quite unusual) requests for usage of Iona's music for films, TV and on the web. Recent ones include:

Meditational Videos on You Tube A virtual church called , requested permission to use some music for this church project. They have a number of videos on You Tube and used the band's version of 'When I Survey the Wondrous Cross' on one of their excellent meditational videos. See - and the video called 'When I Survey'. There may also be other i-church videos on here using the band's music.

World War 2 - Behind Closed Doors This BBC TV film uses 'Virgin and Child' and 'Luke - The Calf' from 'The Book Of Kells' on its soundtrack.

Mysteries of the World - The Lost World of El Dorado Another BBC TV production, this Historical Documentary includes 'White Sands' from the debut album. Although it was produced a while back, we get a request for use of the track for its release on DVD.

on an Extreme Ski Movie! An interesting request from a group of Christians in Norway that produce extreme ski movies. They work with the top skiers in the world who are role-models of young people. Their purpose is purely to positively influence the skiing community with the Word of God, and music that supports it and they wanted to use 'Luke - The Calf' (seems to be a popular track for film usage!) on one of their DVDs!

You can see some of their excellently film and very hair raising work at;

A Rocha Environmental Pack Christian Conservation Organisation 'A Rocha' requested use of Iona's music for use in some inspirational video clips as part of an Environmental Resource pack which individuals and churches can buy in order to educate their congregation or local community about the importance of creation care. The pack contains all sorts of resources including films, music, sermons, scientific and theological material, audio-talks, bible-study's to name a few. Do check out the website of this very worthy organisation at

Meditational DVD Usage is requested for 'View of the Islands' from the 'Beyond These Shores' album for a short film for relaxation/meditation. "The film is about the role of water in our lives and attempts to make us think about how God uses water to speak to us." Originally developed for use by a small group of Christian counsellors, as a devotional, the film is now intended as a resource for their clients and on retreats held at CWR/Waverly Abbey in the UK.

Sir Walter Scott! A film production company based in the Scottish Borders (Wildgoose Productions) request the use of the song "Journey Into The Morn" to be included in a promotional video of the life and influence of Sir Walter Scott.

February '08 - March '08 Tracks from the band are used on Scripture Union's new WordLive website, which provides digital Bible engagement for adults. More are likely to be used in the future.

After almost half a year's work, Troy completes arranging and producing a new album for the singer Barbara Dickson, titled 'Time and Tide'. This is the third album he has done with her and consists mainly of new and atmospheric arrangements of traditional and contemporary material and is, by all accounts the best yet featuring all the usual instrumentation from Troy with added guest spots including some gorgeous playing from fellow Ionian, the one and only Frank Van Essen. To support the album, Troy embarks on a long tour with Barbara.

Dave mixes a jazz trio album 'Visions and Vistas' for the excellent Pete James Trio and is musician in residence for a 4 day retreat in London organised by Canon Ed Newell of St Paul's Cathedral.

Dave works on classical guitarist Nick Fletcher's solo album 'Cathedral of Dreams'. The album features Nick's wonderful solo guitar compositions plus a suite for guitar and (virtual!) Orchestra that Dave and Nick are collaborating on. The album will be released on Iona's '' label.

April '08 Since the rest began Phil has taken up playing electric double bass, which he plays along with his usual electric bass guitar at Spring Harvest Skegness main Stage with singer Sue Rinaldi for a live album recording.

Finally, after a lot of delays Iona's best selling album 'Journey Into The Morn' (over 80,000 copies sold worldwide), which had been unavailable for a couple of years, is re-released on 6th April on the band's Open Sky label in conjunction with Voiceprint. Featuring evocative new artwork from Tim Martindale, the album includes the original versions of many favourites, such as 'Irish Day', 'Encircling', 'Inside My Heart' and 'Heaven's Bright Sun'.

Dave is working again with Frank at an event in Holland.

May '08 Frank, Jo and Dave play together at the Heaven and Earth event in Holland in May.
July '08   /  Raphael's Journey Download Released Jo releases not one but two new solo albums! 'Personal' is released as a physical cd and 'Raphael's Journey' is released as a download only - both by Kingsway Music and both get some fantastic feedback, though are not widely promoted.

Dave plays 3 well received UK dates with his own band 'Open Sky', which features Gabriel Alonso (ethnic and orchestral percussion / drums), Andrea Alonso (vocals / flute), Andy Green (Keys) and Steve Lawson (basses / looping textures), playing music from Dave's 'Veil of Gossamer' album as well as new tracks and a few tracks.

November '08   /  'Live in London' Released The 2 cd version of Iona's 'Live In London' is released on the Open Sky / Voiceprint label. This is the main set from the DVD release of the same name (ie without the acoustic set)
February '09 After what will be a two year hiatus from playing live, the band announce two German dates scheduled for September which, during this, the band's 20th anniversary year!
March '09 Another concert date is added in Belgium to the September tour.

A very old interview with Joanne is published on line at

April '09 Finally, after a lot of delays Iona's best selling album 'Journey Into The Morn' (over 80,000 copies sold worldwide) is re-released on 6th April on the band's Open Sky label in conjunction with Voiceprint. Featuring evocative new artwork from Tim Martindale, the album includes the original versions of many favourites, such as 'Irish Day', 'Encircling', 'Inside My Heart' and 'Heaven's Bright Sun'. Originally released towards the end of 1995, 'Morn' was one of Q Magazine's top 50 albums of 1996 and one of their top 5 Folk Albums. The band are thrilled to have this landmark album back in stock after being unavailable for a number of years.
May '09   /  Life Journey Review The band play together live for the first time in 18 months at the Heaven on Earth event in Holland, a set which includes two new songs written by Joanne ('The Ancient Wells' and 'Let Your Glory Fall'). Due to other commitments Troy is unable to make the gig but his place is filled by pipes and whistle player Martin Nolan from Dublin.

There are three more album releases this month that are of interest to followers of and related music:

THE MADNESS OF CROWDS - TROY DONOCKLEY The latest epic release from a man who needs no introduction! With amazing fold out artwork from Tim Martindale that defies the normally accepted restrictions of the cd box, this is Troy's third and most ambitious solo album to date. Here's what Simon Jones has to say about it in his Froots Magazine review;

"Troy Donockley is idiosyncratic, a true one off, somebody who doesn't follow the rules, a benign musical rebel who enriches whatever he touches with a certain class and unmistakable individuality. "The Madness of Crowds," is pretty well unique." Simon Jones fRoots.

Life Journey - Dave Bainbridge & DAVID FITZGERALD IONA's - co-founders reunite once again for another inspirational soundtrack to a book, taking up where 'The Eye of the Eagle' left off back in 1998. in the words of Cross Rhythms reviewer Lins Honeyman:

"Dave Bainbridge and David Fitzgerald have teamed up to produce a stunning new album of instrumental emotive and deeply spiritual album....A captivating and passionate release."

Cathedral of Dreams - NICK FLETCHER The first release on Open Sky of an album by and artist not directly relate to the band, Dave just felt that Nick's incredible guitar skills and beautiful compositions needed to be heard by a wider audience. Featuring 'Iberian Fantasy', a 24 minute long Guitar Concerto co-written and orchestrated by Dave and Nick, fans of the acoustic guitar playing of guitarists such as Steve Hackett, Steve Howe, Andrew Yorke and Carlo Domeniconi will love Nick's beautiful playing. In the words of Dave Taylor of :

"Classical guitarist Nick Fletcher is a rare talent, a gifted guitarist with a unique style that mixes urgency with deep contemplation. His album Cathedral of Dreams is a beautiful album of original solo guitar compositions. Fletcher's nimble fingers coax both beautiful melodies and breathtaking riffs....The four part epic finale, Iberian Fantasy for Guitar and Orchestra, features spontaneous duets between Nick and producer Dave Bainbridge on keyboards, augmented by flute and timpani. All four parts are lovely, and really highlight Fletcher's talent as an improviser. Instrumental albums are often a mood setter or relegated to background music. Cathedral of Dreams is a mood elevator that will continually draw itself into the foreground. You cannot help but engage with Nick Fletcher's beautifully haunting technique and melodies."

History by Album:
Iona  ('90)
The Book Of Kells  ('92)
Beyond These Shores  ('93)
Journey Into The Morn  ('96)
Heaven's Bright Sun  ('97)
Woven Cord  ('99)
Open Sky  ('00)
The River Flows: Anthology Vol. 1  ('02)
Songs for Luca  ('03)
Veil of Gossamer  ('04)
Iona  ('04)
The Circling Hour  ('06)
Live In London  ('06)
Songs for Luca 2  ('07)
Live In London  ('08)
Life Journey  ('09)
Raphael's Journey  ('10)
Another Realm  ('11)