Whirling Gaelic Tunes
It felt like St. Patrick's Day at the
Broad Stage on Sunday, March 8 as
the Irish folk band Dervish played
to a raving audience at the Madison
Their band name, "Dervish", came
from the meaning of the word: any
group of spiritual people who become
enraptured by music. Dervish has
played with famous artists such as
James Brown, Oasis and Beck. They
had come all the way from Canada to
play in Santa Monica.
"We came all the way from Toronto,
Toronto to Georgia, and Georgia to Los
Angeles, and we haven't seen a bed in
44 hours," said Cathy Jordan, vocalist
of Dervish as she described the arduous,
sleepless trip to play for the audience at
the new broad stage.
"We are delighted to give music
and life to this new theater that is in
its infancy." The audience was not
The band went immediately into a
beautiful swift Irish jig that made the
crowd stomp their feet and clap their
hands as the fiddle, mandolin, flute and
accordion went into a fast tempo for the
song, "Swallow's Trail." "I encourage
you to dance and sing if you want,"
Throughout the show Jordan told
sad stories and funny anecdotes about
the songs she was singing which were
mostly in Gaelic. She described songs
about Ireland in the 1850s, a story of
two lovers dropping dead which made
the audience laugh and awe (" Lover's
Knot"), a tale of a man who went to
the pub and when he came back to his
home 20 years had passed ("Welcome
Poor Paddy Home"), a Cher cover
song ("Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves")
and the story of a man who leaves his
sweetheart and all she asks to bring
back is a pair of Spanish leather boots
("Boots of Spanish Leather").
There was one particular tale that the
singer did enjoy talking about and did
make the audience giggle: "This song is
about a girl who looks for love and finds
it and thinks she's got the best guy in the
town when on her wedding day she finds
her true love but the groomsman has got
something to say about that," said Jordan
as she introduced the song "Keep your
hands off red haired Mary."
Before the show went int o
intermission, they played a set called
"jig songs" which were multiple fiery
hot Irish jig songs that made the band
play furious melodies that were made
to dance, not sit through, when all of a
sudden a man came on stage and danced
up a storm without breaking a sweat. His
dancing looked similar to the famous
River dance but more plausible and
easy to do. It included a mixture of tap
dancing, Irish folk and improvisational
When he finished, the audience roared
with applause and shouts astonished at
how he danced to the music.
Later on in the show, that remarkable
anonymous dancer would be introduced
as Dan Stacey who came on stage at least
four times throughout the show to fiddle
and jig dance for the audience. When
there wasn't any dancing or toe tapping,
there were sing alongs as Jordan asked
the audience to sing along to songs like
"my bride and I."
Of the many highlights throughout
the show, the most touching was when
Jordan sang an a capella song that had
been written to help the poor throughout
By the end of the show, the five band
members and dancer Stacey brought the
house down with "The Jolly Tinker Set"
in a memorable night that had the crowd
on its feet with a standing ovation. Praise
was unanimous as audience members of
every age enjoyed the night.
"It was wonderfully fantastic," said
Janet O'Shaughnessy, an Irish music
lover. "Wonderful, didn't expect that
there was going to be some dancing,"
said Tara Ramirez, a music enthusiast.
A bit of Ireland was felt at the Broad
stage thanks to Dervish.