Year: 2009

Band History

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."

June '09 UK gig and Dutch gigs are confirmed for August and October but Troy is unable to join the band for these gigs due to his heavy touring schedule with Nightwish and The Bad Shepherds. Martin Nolan is once again called upon to guest with the band.
July '09   /  Troy Departs On 28th July Troy announces his decision to leave the band after 14 years.

Here is Troy's statement;

"I have had a wonderful time with my friends in and am very, very proud of the albums we made together. But, as in all of life, things change. After extended periods of no activity we have found ourselves with a very different musical and philosophical direction. We have parted as great friends should, with a sad-happiness and I truly wish, without cliche, all the very best for the future".

Whilst the rest of the band are sad at the parting of ways, Jo, Dave, Frank and Phil are excited at what the future holds for the band. After a long period of inactivity they all feel that God is leading them into new paths together and with a new, renewed vision and focus. Martinis asked to guest again on the forthcoming gigs. They band wish Troy well in his various musical endeavours. He is a totally unique musician and composer and his music deserves a wider audience.

Meanwhile the rest of the band are also working on tracks for a brand new studio album, for which there is a clear 'concept', though they need to find some funding from somewhere for this!!

An interview with co-founders Dave Bainbridge and David Fitzgerald appears on the Cross Rhythms website (). Dave and David talk about their current release 'Life Journey'. Dave Bainbridge will also features in the next edition of the Dutch progressive rock magazine iO Pages (). In this Dave talks about both the 'Life Journey' and 'Cathedral of Dreams' projects and current happenings with .

Mark Fleeson from the Lindisfarne Scriptorium, who have released 'Life Journey' set up a website dedicated to info about the album and Mary Fleeson's book of the same name. Included on the website (which is being added to over the coming weeks and months) are in depth discussions with Dave and David about the tracks on the album and electronic 'turning page' versions of both the book and album. See

Several tracks from the most recent release, 'Cathedral of Dreams', the debut solo album from guitar virtuoso Nick Fletcher are featured on Classic FM, the UK's most popular classical music radio station (see

August '09 After a hasty but productive rehearsal at Dave's studio, the band play in front of about 1,000 people at the Grapevine event in Lincolnshire, UK.
September '09   /  The River Flows Sold Out return from 4 excellent gigs - especially the ones in Germany and Belgium, which see a new unity, joy and excitement within the band. Incredibly celebrating the 20th anniversary of this year, the set includes some songs that have not been performed live for a long time, such as 'The Island', 'Divine Presence' and 'A Million Stars'. An opening improvisation, featuring Frank on violin and Dave on Keys developed into a glorious full band sound as Dave switched to electric guitar, setting the scene for a very special evening of inspired music. 'Hinba' from the Open Sky album was played live for the very first time along with powerful new songs 'The Ancient Wells' and 'Let Your Glory Fall'.

Piper Martin Nolan's presence was apparent on a great set of silp jigs (Goodmans set - which featured Iona's trademark pipes and electric guitar unison sound) and also on two beautiful slow airs 'Taimse Im Chodladh' and 'Air from France'. After problems with laryngitis at the band's appearance in May at Heaven on Earth in Holland, Joanne's voice on these gigs is crystal clear and has never sounded better. The band are now really looking forward to the two concerts in Holland next month. More concerts are being planned for 2010 and recording is scheduled to commence on a new studio album later this year.

There are some excellent photos from the recent gigs at and at

This month we also hear from distributors Authentic Media that stock of the box set 'The River Flows' is now exhausted and that they won't be manufacturing any more. The box set was intended as a limited edition release and now all 8,500 or so copies have been sold. The River Flows box set was a landmark release for - the first on the bands own '' label (in conjunction with Alliance Music Records). It received tremendous praise from critics - in no small part due to Chris Sands' stunning and evocative artwork contained within its 60 page booklet. Cross Rhythms Magazine wrote: "In the years ahead this box set will be the benchmark against which all other Christian music reissues and returns-to-the-archives will be measured." So hang on to your copy!!

October '09 The band's 2 gigs in The Netherlands, at Hedon in Zwolle and De Boerderij in Zoetermeer are a huge success, with big crowds at both adding to a very special atmosphere. We are fortunate to have several excellent photographers at both gigs, so there are a number of great photos up on the internet - in particular on the NEW Facebook page. There are also reviews of the Zoetermeer gig at and

Dave, Jo, Frank and Martin have an excellent day at Frank's studio demoing some of the powerful new songs that have been written so far for the next album.

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)