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Iona - Open Sky CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

4.09 | 94 ratings

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Andy Long
3 stars There are few, if any, Christian bands in the UK with the musical heritage, diversity and artistry of Iona. their albums over the last ten or twelve years have always thrilled me and this latest release is to my mind their finest moment since 1992's 'The Book Of Kells'. Their sound has always been something of a fusion of many styles from jazz to progressive rock with a firm foundation built in the history of Celtic spirituality and traditional music. The album opens with a stunning ten-minute instrumental 'Woven Cord' which perfectly captures the free spirit of the Celtic essence. Troy Donockley's uillean pipe medley for 'Castlerigg' is another finely crafted piece. Relative newcomers Phil Barker (bass) and Frank Van Essen (percussion) have molded themselves into a fine rhythm section, whilst Frank also displays a deft touch with a violin, as on 'A Million Stars'. Meanwhile Dave Bainbridge's vast array of guitars and keyboards add the contemporary edge that gives Iona it's identity. Through all of this Joanne Hogg's gorgeously Irish vocals complement the rest of the band beautifully. (phew! I think I gave everybody a namecheck!). The evocative and atmospheric 'Songs Of Ascent' in all it's three part splendour was for me the album's finest day and the album closes with 'Friendship's Door' a peculiarly Irish celebration of creation.
Andy Long | 3/5 |


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