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IONA

Prog Folk • United Kingdom


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Iona picture
Iona biography
Formed in 1989 in the UK - Disbanded in 2016

IONA is a progressive Celtic rock group hailing from the UK. They've been making music since 1989. The group is comprised of five extremely talented musicians: the gentle and passionate vocals of Joanne Hogg, the masterful guitar work and production skills of Dave Bainbridge, Phil Barker's solid bass playing, Frank Van Essen's steady and exciting drum work, and Troy Donockley's interesting and colorful use of traditional Celtic instruments.

There's simply no denying that these five are among the most skillful musicians in Christian music, if not the entire music business. For an interesting and fresh take on symphonic and folk rock, it would be hard to find a better band. For fans of: CLANNAD, GENESIS, YES, ENYA.

Iona official website

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Buy IONA Music


IonaIona
Import
Open Sky UK 2003
Audio CD$12.60
$12.49 (used)
Beyond These ShoresBeyond These Shores
Forefront Records 1994
Audio CD$25.00
$1.50 (used)
The Book of KellsThe Book of Kells
Audio CD$39.99
$11.94 (used)
Open SkyOpen Sky
Forefront 2001
Audio CD$25.00
$2.09 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Iona - Spirit [New CD] USD $11.53 Buy It Now
(LP) Vivaldi 5 Cello Ctos Heinrich Schiff; Iona Brown; ASMF/PHILIPS 411126 1 LP USD $39.99 Buy It Now
Jules Bryant: Drops of Glittering Hope CD (2004) Eden's Bridge IONA Terl Bryant USD $8.00 Buy It Now
Iona Brown plays 4 of the Mozart Violin Ctos on Two Argo LPs with ASMF NM USD $26.74 Buy It Now
Iona - Cuckoo - Free UK Post USD $16.85 Buy It Now
ANDY IONA & HIS ORCHESTRA Aloha Hawaii COLUMBIA SET C-39 Surf/Tiki/Instro 4x78s USD $29.99 Buy It Now
Another Realm [Digipak] by Iona (Scotland) (CD, 2011, 2 Discs, Open Sky Music) USD $7.04 [4 bids]
CKXR...presents/Shuswap Singers/Christmas is/IONA/Canada/NM- RARE HEAR USD $7.74 Buy It Now
Mozart:violin Concertos Nos 1 3 5 - Iona Brown Compact Disc USD $14.08 Buy It Now
Iona Journey Into The Morn CD Christian, Rock, Blues, Metal Celtic New Age Album USD $7.99 Buy It Now
Iona Open Sky CD Christian, Rock, Blues, Metal, Celtic New Age Album USD $7.99 Buy It Now
Robert Wilson "One Hundred Thousand Welcomes "1962 7" vinyl "Beautifu Iona". USD $2.66 Buy It Now 2h 20m
Iona Leigh-Beside the Waves of Time (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $15.05 Buy It Now 6h 34m
Bach - Hochzeitskantate / Elly Ameling / Iona Brown / Neville Marriner STEREO EX USD $14.39 Buy It Now 8h 7m
Iona Ac Andy - Llwybbrau Breuddwydion - Iona Ac Andy CD 6YVG The Fast Free USD $23.48 Buy It Now 10h 27m
Iona - Celebration of Twenty [New CD] USD $18.98 Buy It Now 15h 48m
cuckoo iona LP 13913 USD $12.03 Buy It Now 16h 41m
GEMINIANI CONCERTI GROSSI OPUS 7 - IONA BROWN (ASV ALH 927) UK 1983 LP EX USD $6.67 Buy It Now 16h 41m
ANDY IONA & EDDIE DUNSTEDTER ALOHA OE & SONG OF THE ISLANDS DECCA F7715 USD $3.34 Buy It Now 17h 22m
Iona Live: Heaven's Bright Sun (Cassette Tape, 1997, Forefront Records) VG #CT39 USD $9.06 Buy It Now 1 day
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Iona Brown - Mozart Violin Concertos Nos 1 3 and5 [CD] USD $13.12 Buy It Now 1 day
Mozart Violin Concerto Iona Brown Suk strong NM- vinyl London Jubilee digital USD $7.99 Buy It Now 1 day
IONA BROWN - Mozart Violin Concertos No.1&5 (NM) USD $9.00 [0 bids]
1 day
IONA BOOK OF KELLS CASSETTE WHAC 1287 celtic rock prog USD $10.03 Buy It Now 1 day
VIVALDI TELEMANN HANDEL SAMMARTINI Recorder Concertos Michala Petri Iona Brown USD $16.68 Buy It Now 1 day
IONA BROWN VIVALDI THE FOUR SEASONS PHILIPS 25PC-85 Japan OBI Vinyl LP USD $0.99 [0 bids]
1 day
*George Jackson Maggie MacInnes - Cairstiona - 1984 - IONA LP- Ossian USD $2.00 [0 bids]
USD $3.00 Buy It Now
1 day
Autographed CD The Sound Of IONA FREE SHIPPING! :) USD $30.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Autographed CD IONA Branching Out FREE SHIPPING! :) USD $30.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Autographed CD IONA Birken Tree FREE SHIPPING! :) USD $30.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Autographed CD IONA A Celebration Of Twenty FREE SHIPPING! :) USD $30.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Ossian. St Kilda Wedding LP. Iona IR001. 1978. VG+ Vinyl. USD $2.66 [0 bids]
1 day
Journey Into the Morn, Iona, New Import USD $11.93 Buy It Now 2 days
ANDY IONA & HIS ISLANDERS "Minnehaha - Hawaiian Stomp" HAWAIIAN JAZZ Decca X1422 USD $24.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Iona - Woven Cord - Iona CD 4IVG The Fast Free Shipping USD $31.13 Buy It Now 2 days
"Aloha Hawaii" 78rpm Andy Iona and His Orchestra Columbia Set #C-39 USD $45.00 Buy It Now 2 days
Iona Ac Andy - Spirit Of The Night [CD] USD $15.17 Buy It Now 2 days
Iona Ac Andy - Milltiroedd 100 Miles [CD] USD $15.98 Buy It Now 2 days
Iona Ac Andy - Cerdded Dros y Mynydd [CD] USD $15.17 Buy It Now 2 days
IONA - OPEN SKY (2000) : Official UK Release CD Album In Mint Condition USD $3.68 Buy It Now 2 days
IONA RADU MADE IN ROMANIA ELECTROCORD ,IMPORT, USD $5.43 Buy It Now 2 days
Andy Iona & Eddie Dunstedter Song of the Islands 78 EX Decca 2038 Hawaiian Aloha USD $11.95 Buy It Now 2 days
Divermento, Idyll (Iona Brown) CD NEW USD $17.37 Buy It Now 2 days
Fireworks Music / Alexander's Feast, Iona Brown, Marriner, Handel, Good USD $6.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Haydn - Horn Concertos - H. Baumann - Iona Brown - ASMF - Philips CD 422 346-2 USD $13.36 [0 bids]
2 days
IONA MACK: Mirror, Mirror On The Wall / I Wish I Knew, I Wish I Knew 45 Hear! USD $25.00 Buy It Now 2 days
TONY CUFFE When First I Went to Caledonia UK Iona LP EX Buchan Turnpike USD $9.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Marisa Robles harp concertos Iona Brown UK Vinyl LP USD $5.34 Buy It Now 3 days
R&R19p11 Article & Picture: Iona USD $5.35 Buy It Now 3 days
Iona & Andy - Y Ffordd - Iona & Andy CD TMLN The Fast Free Shipping USD $6.85 Buy It Now 3 days
Iona Journey Into the Morn CD (Forefront 1995)-Free Shipping! USD $6.95 Buy It Now 3 days
Iona Live: Heaven's Bright Sun by Iona (Scotland) (CD, Jul-1997, 2 Discs, Forefr USD $0.99 [0 bids]
3 days
IONA LOCKE - What Kind of Fool Are You - CD ** Brand New ** USD $24.98 Buy It Now 3 days
ASD 3255 QUAD- Haydn Cello Concertos in D & C -Rostropovich/Iona Brown/ASMF USD $24.06 [0 bids]
3 days
6 Classical LP's Karajan -Iona Brown Violin Concerts -Vladimir & More (CLP4) USD $11.99 [0 bids]
3 days
Iona Abbey - Glasgow Phoenix Choir (CD Used Very Good) USD $10.45 Buy It Now 3 days
Glasgow Phoenix Choir - Iona Abbey [New CD] USD $12.45 Buy It Now 3 days
Philips 9500 942 VIVALDI The 6 Flute Concertos Op. 10 Petri Iona Brown vinyl LP USD $8.01 Buy It Now 3 days
1969 Proms Youra Guller Chopin Iona Brown Chausson Sanchia Pielou harp programme USD $5.34 [0 bids]
3 days
Iona - Birken Tree [New CD] USD $12.62 Buy It Now 3 days
Glasgow Phoenix Choir - Iona Abbey [New CD] USD $19.46 Buy It Now 3 days
James Macmillan - Tryst (A Meditation on Iona) Adam's Rib Scottish Chamber (CD) USD $13.36 Buy It Now 3 days
Iona Leigh-Spirit (CD) CD NEW USD $12.32 Buy It Now 3 days
IONA SELF TITLED RARE NEW SEALED CASSETTE TAPE! USD $18.78 Buy It Now 3 days
NEW Trident Purest Blue Arpeggio Blue Steel CD DVD Japan Iona Takao Haruna F/S USD $42.02 Buy It Now 3 days
RICHARD STRAUSS: Metamorphosen; TCHAIKOVSKY: Souvenir de Florence CD, Iona Brown USD $7.99 Buy It Now 3 days
Journey into the Morn by Iona cd (1995, Chordant) USD $5.00 Buy It Now 3 days
PAUL MOUNSEY / Nahoo Too (Iona / IRCD 050) CD Album USD $23.45 Buy It Now 4 days
SOMETHING FOR EVERBODY_music from house of iona_used CD_ships from AUSTRALIA_B8 USD $9.01 Buy It Now 4 days
Iona-Branching Out CD NEW USD $14.64 Buy It Now 4 days
Philips Digital 411 125-1 Telemann 5 Violin Concertos Iona Brown ASMF USD $7.99 Buy It Now 4 days
Journey into the Morn by Iona (CD, 1996, Chordant) USD $8.09 Buy It Now 4 days
Philips 411126-1 dig.: Vivaldi: ASMF, Schiff, Iona Brown USD $9.00 [0 bids]
4 days
Used Music CD Liquidation Sale ** Artists: A-A #94 ** Buy 1 Get 1 flat ship fee USD $1.99 Buy It Now 4 days
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Sleeping Kings of Iona-We Found a Love In the Streets But It Was Not Ours CD NEW USD $14.35 Buy It Now 4 days
Used Music CD Liquidation Sale ** Artists: V-V #543 ** Buy 1 Get 1 flat ship fee USD $1.50 Buy It Now 4 days
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IONA | "The Book Of Kells" CD (1992) with colour A4 poster [email protected]@K Folk/Celtic USD $5.34 [0 bids]
4 days
IONA The Book Of Kells PCCY-00905 CD JAPAN 1996 OBI USD $150.53 Buy It Now 4 days
Iona Brown : Die Vier Jahreszeiten The Four Seasons CD USD $5.99 Buy It Now 4 days
OSSIAN Borders OOP CD Import Irish Scottish Celtic Folk EX Iona USD $12.95 [0 bids]
4 days
OSSIAN Dove Across The Water OOP CD Import Irish Scottish Celtic Folk EX Iona USD $12.95 [0 bids]
4 days
OSSIAN St. Kilda Wedding OOP CD Import Irish Scottish Celtic Folk EX Iona USD $12.95 [0 bids]
4 days
VIVALDI: THE FOUR SEASONS / IONA BROWN, ASMF USED - VERY GOOD CD USD $12.41 Buy It Now 4 days
HANDEL: CONCERTI GROSSI OP 6 NOS 9-12 / IONA BROWN, ASMF USED - VERY GOOD CD USD $17.20 Buy It Now 4 days
VIVALDI: THE FOUR SEASONS / IONA BROWN, ASMF NEW CD USD $15.75 Buy It Now 4 days
CCM B.C. Sonlight of Trinity Western College marge friesen IONA Canada NM- USD $5.05 Buy It Now 4 days
HANDEL: CONCERTI GROSSI OP 6 NOS 9-12 / IONA BROWN, ASMF NEW CD USD $17.36 Buy It Now 4 days
Iona - Circling Hour (CD Used Like New) USD $7.81 Buy It Now 4 days
Telemann: Horn Concertos by Georg Philipp Telemann, Herman Baumann, Iona Brown, USD $4.59 Buy It Now 5 days
Iona Brown, W.a. Moz - Symphonies and Serenades [New CD] USD $14.97 Buy It Now 5 days
VIVALDI - 6 Flute / Recorder Concertos - Michala PETRI / Iona BROWN - Philips USD $12.80 [0 bids]
5 days
vivaldi la cetra 12 concertos op.9 Iona Brown Academy of St. Martin Vinyl LP USD $17.38 [0 bids]
5 days
Vivaldi - 6 Flutes Concertos Op 10 - Michala Petri - Iona Brown - 12" vinyl LP USD $6.62 [0 bids]
5 days
HAYDN - Cello Concertos 1 & 2 - Truls MORK / Iona BROWN - Virgin USD $10.82 [0 bids]
5 days

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IONA discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

IONA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.82 | 31 ratings
Iona
1990
3.85 | 64 ratings
The Book Of Kells
1992
3.65 | 48 ratings
Beyond These Shores
1993
3.69 | 56 ratings
Journey Into The Morn
1995
4.08 | 84 ratings
Open Sky
2000
3.72 | 46 ratings
The Circling Hour
2006
3.58 | 63 ratings
Another Realm
2011

IONA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.34 | 20 ratings
Heaven's Bright Sun
1997
3.70 | 24 ratings
Woven Cord
1999
4.40 | 10 ratings
Live In London
2008
4.25 | 4 ratings
Edge of the World / Live in Europe
2014

IONA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.45 | 12 ratings
The River Flows : Anthology, Vol. 1
2002
4.67 | 20 ratings
Live in London
2006
2.36 | 6 ratings
Iona
2006

IONA Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.95 | 14 ratings
Treasures: The Very Best
1996

IONA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

IONA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Another Realm by IONA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.58 | 63 ratings

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Another Realm
Iona Prog Folk

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Holy Spirit come"

There was a time when I was easily irritated (to put it mildly) by Christian lyrical themes and I would avoid such bands. My heart has changed much in the last years for reasons from personal grief to discovering the beauty of the Tridentine Mass and sacred music. Now I can embrace messages like Iona's "Another Realm" and they help to buffer the horror of watching the world burn in the hands of our current, disastrous leadership. Unlike some fellow reviewers who bristled at it, I came to Iona's latest work with a hope to hear more of their positive message rather than have it simply hinted at. I was not disappointed.

While I've been aware of Iona I'm pretty much a noob in terms of checking them out. I resisted the urge to go back and start at the beginning of a discog because I read about the inspirations behind "Another Realm" and was fascinated. I wanted to hear this album now. After their previous album the band had a period of contemplation about their future no doubt catalyzed by some personal struggles, and it was possible that it could have ended. Both Bainbridge and Hogg tell compelling stories of prophecy and inspiration that birthed this album. The band felt alive with renewed purpose and it affected the writing and recording process very much.

"...a man I'd never met before prophesied an incredible word over me concerning my future and in particular the future of the band. At the time I accepted it and made sure I had a written copy to consider, but couldn't see how it could possibly come to pass with the band, as I'd almost come to the point of laying Iona down and moving on. However God, it seems, had other plans! Looking back now I can see just how accurate this prophetic word has been already..." -Dave Bainbridge, to Derek Walker of The Phantom Tollbooth webzine

The calling they felt to create this long, elaborate album seems to have found its way to me as a listener too. While researching Iona and going through my listening phase I craved returning to this one, something that is not always a given. In fact the whole Celtic New Agey vibe is not typically my thing, I usually like much heavier and aggressive music. But these songs speak to me, they vary in many interesting ways, and they are engaging. Whereas the last couple of Iona albums seemed more passive with longer instrumental passages and less emphasis on vocals, here there seems to be an urgency for a human connection, for intimacy and celebration from a band with renewed purpose.

Sprawling over two CDs I was never bored with "Another Realm." There are nice little touches like related intros and outtros and a longer epic track that anchors each disc. The first CD's epic track is a 3-part suite called "An Atmosphere of Miracles" which for me was very much the highlight of the entire album. So much color and space, a wide open palette that is not rushed--quite gentle in mood but profound in impact! Like several tracks on Realm and much more than in their past, the band used "inspired improvisation" to coax truly special performances. Essentially bringing themselves to heightened spiritual awareness before rolling the tape and seeing where things went. For both the musicians and Joanne's vocals this was so fruitful. During the vocal on this track she let herself go and was said to be in tears at the end of it. (The Phantom Tollbooth has an interview where this process is discussed, if you wish to google it and read more.)

The rich musical treasures continue on disc two's opener "Ruach", a stunning violin/keyboard improvisation of immense beauty. The side builds up to the second long track which is called "White Horse." Bass/drums/guitar just tear it up in this song proving that Iona is capable at any moment to switch from relaxing to rocking. Joanne employed another tactic on Realm that changed her performance. She let go of the worry of performance expectation or of hitting a high note perfectly and instead sang for the Lord alone, if I understand correctly. This meditation if that's the right word, gave her a new freedom and daringness in her vocal that you can hear. By relieving her anxieties about being perfect, by letting go, the result was even more power and creativity. She sounds amazing on this album, they all do.

"Another Realm" is engaging and dynamic despite its beauty, it relaxes but also rocks, it has floating keyboard but also grand guitar solos and animated, energetic drumming, bass, and pipes. Several songs even carry pop sensibilities and catchiness. I'm not sure how prevalent that has been before. So you have a mixture here of Iona folk-symph instrumental jamming, sort of the traditional Iona feel but here infused with a bit more songs-based pop-rocking and earnest lyrics. There is no coasting on the laurels of past successes with this album, they sound like a band putting out a long labored-over debut. For people well into midlife they sound like young hearts again, ripe with enthusiasm. I hope they can continue to chase their muse while staying more toward the progressive rock musically, and not shift too much to safer songs-based territory. I think the mix feels about right here.

Without question this Iona is a different Iona, a refocused band looking for the passion of their early days with an eye on spiritual futures. For that reason some longtime fans feel let down by some of the results of their new mission. For me as a new listener without expectations forged of long associations with their other albums, the embrace of "Another Realm" was an unexpected and immediate pleasure. Quite frankly I was blown away by a band I didn't expect to dig very much. And I got a healthy dose of age-old positive Christian messages to help blunt the daily assault of this [&*!#]ty modern world we are trapped in. That their faith is a bit different than my own was not a problem.

"Realm" seems to be a wide ranging expression of spirituality covering much ground. Life is much more than what we see around us despite the naysayers. It may not be an easy message but it is presented here with such joy that you can't help but be touched by the embrace of Iona.

 The Book Of Kells by IONA album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.85 | 64 ratings

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The Book Of Kells
Iona Prog Folk

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team

5 stars is Celtic prog Folk (and Christian) artist IONA's breakout album though it is their second release. The distinguished crystalline voice of Joanne Hogg is on full display for all to hear, thanks to the fairly sparse instrument arrangements--especially in prolonged intros and outros. The other half of the band's core, Dave Bainbridge is also present on keys and guitars. This band seems to always be comprised of members who are all virtuosos on their respective instruments and this album is no exception. What changes in the future, however, is that bass/Chapman stick player Nick Beggs (KAJAGOOGOO), percussionist Teri Bryant and reeds player David Fitzgerald move out to make room for future mainstays Phil Barker (bass), Frank Van Essen (drums, percussion, & violins), and Ullilean pipe and whistle virtuoso and future star in his own right, Troy Donockley-- who happens to make his debut as a guest musician here. Though the synth washes are full and rich throughout and the percussion/rhythm team is at full power, The Book of Kells is a much more sparsely instrumented album than Iona's successive releases, but there are always plenty of gorgeous and glorious instrumental sections throughout all Iona albums. Also, as might be surmised from the album's title, which is is taken from the famous illustrated Christian texts of the New Testament that was created around 800 AD and then preserved in Ireland's Abbey of Kells, this is a concept album. What results from this mix of personnel is an album with such seamlessness, such depth and complexity of textures, as to astound even me who had already been a tried and true Iona fan for several years before going back into their early catalogue to discover this one. I didn't think that any Iona album could be better than Open Sky but the amazingly intense whole-goup focus on this concept album may have done it. What's more, this music and presentation is to my ears a prime example of all that is essential and at the core of prog: great story, great instrumental performances, great songwriting drawing from many traditions, great album art, all gelled into a powerful display of great human emotion. "Matthew - The Man" (11:53) (10/10) may be the best prog epic of the year but, heck! The whole album is like one continuous prog epic! Amazing! Beautiful! Another piece of man-made art that makes me proud to be human.
 The Circling Hour by IONA album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.72 | 46 ratings

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The Circling Hour
Iona Prog Folk

Review by brainsuccasurgery

5 stars Iona albums offer alternate very strong pieces, full of fervor and passages soothed, comfortable and moving songs with folk arrangements "mainstream", interspersed with floats "new age". A slope that might not be the most popular with fans of hardcore prog. If Open Sky (2000) had two or three more titles like this, too smooth, it is no longer the case here. And if The Circling Hour is in the tradition of its predecessors (no stylistic revolution), it is also much more lively, more raw, more dense, free of any incentive to sleep or sentimentality. it prefers the more ambitious side of the group like the song "Empyrean Dawn," which recalls the most hectic times of the first Waterboys. Even the more accessible songs, those that can sing in the shower, have something to bite them moving away from the simple refrain. Martial battery, like a heart beat and pulse shaking. "Strength" is well in his time, without kowtowing to the supposed credibility infuriating rock. A line of low aerodynamic, which darkens gently, is melodic, took singing without losing its dark resonance , "Wind off the Lake" is a kind of helping hand to the music of U2, a symbol of timeless modernity . With "Sky Maps," as explosive signed Troy Donockley we speak well of bravura set pieces if there were none at all over the record, marching without downtime. It is not bravery, it's temerity. In fact, the most "big" piece is called "Wind, Water and Fire," and listening, a real pandemonium of rhapsodic fantasies comes at your fingertips. I just desire to describe these synth sounds, both short and wide as muffled; describe the contact fingers Dave Bainbridge on guitar strings, neither stroke nor caress, a touch, an outcrop that seems to come from so far away, when he embraces the guitar body; describe the vehemence deployed to love God, so close to universal human thoughts; describe this force and what force! In his own hesitations, repetitions. In this profound and incomprehensible song that raises this desire, this desire to go to God. Uncover the mystery. "Wind, Water and Fire" is the kind of music to cross border some mysterious deep in ourselves to sneak through a door that leads to the most secret chambers of the heart to fill to the brim with her radiant presence. This record makes them happy but not smug, plunges us into our own euphoria. Let's be clear: this is the end of the great musical depression, the death of compulsive shopping too quickly regretted listening to the first CD. As in the music of Iona in the lower notes, the most rhythms in melodies, songs that seem to climb towards freedom, we perceive a given time frame love and the space life. A poignant love as it does not deny the link that weaves the love of God and that God attaches to the point of not talking about nothing else. Musically, The Circling Hour has enough assets to touch you, resonate with you forever, even if you are not particularly sensitive to the mystery of the Holy Spirit. And if there has only two kinds of music, as claimed many musicians, this bright new album is part of the student who unleashed souls and feet when we play and when we listen.
 The Book Of Kells by IONA album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.85 | 64 ratings

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The Book Of Kells
Iona Prog Folk

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars By the summer of 1990 Nick Beggs had joined Iona as a permanent bassist and a few days later Dutch drummer Frank Van Essen took his place behind the drum kit.In early 91' the band started working on two different projects.One of them was dressing with music and lyrics the 8th century illuminated manuscript ''The book of Kells''.With Van Essen based on The Netherlands things did not work the right way and, although he joined the group on several stage performances, a more proper solution had to be found.This was Terl Bryant, who had also played with Iona as a guest musician.By the dawn of 92' the album had been recorded with Troy Donockley on pipes and whistles, Fiona Davidson on celtic harp, Frank Van Essen on percussion and The Peter Whitfield Strings ensemble as guest appearances, and it was eventually released in July 92' on What Records.

Iona had become masters on producing ethereal, Celtic-influenced music with Rock tendencies and ''The book of Kells'' shows a band on the rise, creating monumental, ancient soundscapes, flashed with modern tunes and echoes via the use of electric guitars and the rhythm section.Crossing the territories of MIKE OLDFIELD and KATE BUSH was more than expected, as the music is performed with plenty of cinematic keyboards in the background, series of acoustic parts and an angelic voice like the one of Joanne Hogg, which is pretty similar to the crystalline chords of ENYA with bits of MAGENTA's CHRISTINA BOOTH.The smooth performances on guitar, bass and drums are accompanied by a mass of instruments like sax, bagpipes, whistles, flutes and percussions, the result is an album full of Ethnic images and Folk tastes, executed under a contemporary sound.Extremely atmospheric material, lacking some sort of energy, but containing a great lyricism and some beautiful, dreamy melodies.Moving a bit further, Iona appear to have adapted some influences from the twisting Neo Prog sound of MARILLION circa-''Holidays in Eden'' and later ''Brave'', music with an electroacoustic sound, some poppy sensibilities, clean and expressive voices and use of cinematic synthesizers.Actually if ''Brave'' was a Celtic-influenced album, I could see it sounding a lot like ''The book of Kells''.

Calm, ethereal and gentle Celtic/Folk-based Prog/Art Rock with a fantastic female singer.Great listening late at night, highlighted by the combination of light electric tunes and traditional, mostly acoustic instruments.Recommended.

 Live in London by IONA album cover DVD/Video, 2006
4.67 | 20 ratings

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Live in London
Iona Prog Folk

Review by Anon-E-Mouse

5 stars Completely blown away by this DVD! To date I have not heard any of IONA's albums. This DVD was given to me as a present a while ago, but reading up on the band's Christian, Folk, Celtic leanings, I've put it away, wrapper intact to be perhaps disposed off at some stage.Big mistake!

Well, I am a Christian by nature, but not through religion and Folk is not really my preference, whilst feeling somewhat saturated with Celtic offerings. A recent less than favourable review of one of IONA's albums reminded me of this gift and I gave it a spin, expecting of letting it go afterwards.

Somewhat of a veteran of the Prog scene, I am now rather hard to please with new offerings these days. This performance has become a rare exception. It only took the first few notes for me to realize that I was in for an experience. A powerful opening reminiscent of better moments of Genesis is followed by a mix of pastoral approaches speckled with breathtaking shredding in a truly complimentary way. Just how do you mix Fire and Water? These people can do it.

Exceptional talent is on display here and the skillful blending of traditional instruments with powerful Prog deserves accolades, nothing like cliched, folksy, annoying stuff. And the best part is that it's all performed live.

There are some moments of a bit of lull here and there, but the overall performance deserves the highest rating. Recommended!

 Iona by IONA album cover DVD/Video, 2006
2.36 | 6 ratings

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Iona
Iona Prog Folk

Review by The Bearded Bard
Special Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

2 stars A Bearded View On Progressive Rock #2

Iona are a Christian folk rock band, I get that, but it should be possible for them to talk about their music, as well as their beliefs, shouldn't it?

OK, for the members of this band their music and faith might be so closely connected they consider the music they make an extention of their personal beliefs, but I don't think I'm asking for too much here, am I?

My expectations going into this may not have been the best, I see that now. Prior to picking up this DVD in a used CD/DVD shop in downtown Oslo some 7-8 months ago, and seeing it for the first time, I had very little experience with the music of this band. And 7-8 months later I still have very little experience with their music. Other than the tracks on this DVD, I've heard a couple of tunes from their "The Book of Kells" album, but that's it.

I thought, however, that this DVD would be a good starting point for further exploration of the band's music, and a nice way to get some background information on them at the same time. How wrong was I? Well, I got some background information, but I already knew they were a Christian band. What about the music itself? What were their thoughts about that? Apart from a little about the story behind their song "Flight of the Wild Goose", and that they want their listeners to become curious about Christianity when hearing their music, there's no answers to those questions to be found here, sadly.

On the back of this DVD it says, "Filmed in 1990..., this unique documentary shows the band in its very earliest days, soon after the release of their first self-tiled album, in conversation and rehearsing ideas for their follow up album 'The Book of Kells'." This DVD does indeed show the band in its earliest days, and there's a good amount of conversation on it, but not much about the music. Mostly, or should I say, almost exclusively, the conversation concentrates around the individual band members' personal faith.

Although I'm not religious, I see myself as a pretty open minded guy (not necessarily opposites, I know, he-he). However, the amount of conversation about each band member's personal beliefs displayed in this short (30 min.) documentary leads me to question the band's motives for making, not only this documentary, but also music in the first place. Is it simply to convert people to Christianity? OK, a bit harsh perhaps. As I've said, I'm not very familiar with this band, so I may have got the wrong impression, but when hearing what they have to say in these interviews it sounds to me that the members of Iona are Christians first, musicians second.

Between the conversations with religious topic there are, however, some interesting features, though they're few and far between. The film starts by showing the band out walking on windy Iona, the small island in the Inner Hebrides from which the band has taken its name, with the band's music playing in the background.

The island's raw, untouched nature of fields and rocks, and captivating surroundings of sky and a seemingly endless ocean, could've set the tone for an interesting half an hour of nature footage and music in perfect harmony. Due to the footage's poor 80's quality however, and that someone thought it was a good idea to edit the sky and ocean's appearance, changing their colours from their natural blue and white to a purplish/pinkish red, and thereby creating a cheap and out of place psychedelic effect, it fails to do so.

From there we go to the band in concert at an unspecified location (again with poor 80's quality footage), and then back to the island for some more walking on Iona's rocky shores and subsequent interview with the band's singer and keyboardist, Joanne Hogg. She talks a little about a certain St. Columba, of how he came from Ireland to Iona, how he founded a monestary there, and how his story was an inspiration for her as a Christian. Later on, saxophonist/flutist David Fitzgerald elaborates on the story of Columba and his arrival at Iona. These are the highlights of the interviews as far as I'm concerned.

The rest of the interviews I feel you have to be a Christian to enjoy. It's all talk of personal beliefs, at almost annoying length, and next to nothing about the band's music or history. The drummer, Van Essen, in a short clip from a band rehearsal, talking about how he joined the band, and a little about how they work on new music together, is the sole exception.

Throughout the documentary we go back and forth between interviews on the island of Iona and seeing/hearing the band in concert, and sometimes the two segments are mixed together. This gives the documentary a good flow, which is one of its few redeeming qualities.

The songs/pieces on this DVD are all taken from Iona's self-titled debut album. The music overall is nice enough, but there isn't very much Celtic folk to be heard here, and certainly not progressive folk. Iona may have developed a more Celtic folk feel to their music later on in their career, but here they sound more like a new agey happy-Christian band, like a cross between Enya (in her solo world music years) and The Kelly Family, than a Celtic folk band. Fitzgerald's sax, often resembling the sound of the sax in Dire Straits' "Your Latest Trick", is very much in focus, and you could almost say it goes perfectly hand in hand with the 80's quality of the video footage.

Watching this film hasn't put me off wanting to investigate Iona's music further, 'cause I think the few tracks I've heard off the "The Book of Kells" album showed the band could do much better than what's on offer here. That said, I'm not in any great haste to continue the exploration.

I do not recommend this DVD as a starting point for exploring Iona's music, but I'm pretty sure fans will find it interesting. It wouldn't hurt being a Christian when trying get something of value out of watching this DVD though, 'cause it's as much a film where the main objective seems to be promoting Christianity as it is a music documentary.

2 stars.

 The Book Of Kells by IONA album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.85 | 64 ratings

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The Book Of Kells
Iona Prog Folk

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Ethereal. Breath-taking. Soaring. These are three words that help describe Iona's "The Book of Kells". This prog folk band outdid themselves with this stunning tribute to Celtic history and the Bible.

This album contains a variety of songs that range from instrumental movements to folksy ballads that feature incredible female vox. The range of variety here is really great, and you never will feel bored as you join this spiritual journey.

I have to admit my interest was perked for this album because of my love for "The Secret of Kells", the best animated movie I've ever seen. This album digs into some of the same musically territory as we experience a true sense of spirituality through the emotive vocals and the wildly appropriate instrumentals for each of the Gospel authors. "Mark (the Lion)", for instance, is very regal and stout---rightfully so. This band knows how to compose for certain themes, and I immensely enjoyed this album.

 Another Realm by IONA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.58 | 63 ratings

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Another Realm
Iona Prog Folk

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

4 stars This is the latest album from Iona, coming out in 2011 and comes in a wonderful double CD digipak. Like their music, the artwork is immediately evocative and takes the observer to a different time and place. For those who are unaware, the band name is taken from a small island in the Inner Hebrides off the western coast of Scotland. It was a centre of Irish monasticism for four centuries and is today renowned for its tranquility and natural beauty. Although I have never visited the island itself, it is an area that I know fairly well as my grandfather was District Officer Coastguard for the Western Isles, and my father was brought up in (and has now retired to) a tiny village next to the Mull of Kintyre, called Southend. St Columba (one of the twelve apostles of Ireland) first landed at Southend (where his footsteps can still be seen) before moving to Iona and whenever I listen to their music I find myself transported to a land where the weather and scenery are rugged, the people incredibly friendly, and while life is hard there is a real feeling of mysticism and a closeness to religion. This is also very true of the very Christian nature of the band's songs, yet even if you view yourself as a non-believer this is never in your face enough to cause offence.

Thanks to their musical style, combined with Joanne Hogg's vocals, these guys will always find themselves compared to Enya and Kate Bush but in many ways that is unfair as they don't really sound like the latter and there is way more complexity and layers than the former. The current line-up is Joanne Hogg (vocals, vocal loops, piano, keyboard, beer shaker), Dave Bainbridge (electric & acoustic guitars, bouzouki, piano, keyboards, autoharp, beer shakers), Frank van Essen (drums, percussion, violins, violas, electric violin, vocal, glockenspiel, keyboard), Phil Barker (bass guitar, electric upright bass) and Martin Nolan (uilleann pipes, low whistles, tin whistles, vocals). Together they produce music that is timeless, folk and prog coming together to wrap around the listener and create a world that in many ways is far away from the present day.

If ever there was music that should only be played on headphones this is it, as to get the full benefit one needs to play this without distraction, preferably at night with a glass of Springbank Malt in hand, just sitting looking at the stars and drift away into their world.

 Treasures: The Very Best  by IONA album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1996
3.95 | 14 ratings

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Treasures: The Very Best
Iona Prog Folk

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

4 stars Iona have to be one of the UK's best kept secrets. Over the years they have continued to produce albums of outstanding quality yet somehow have never managed to gain the recognition they so richly deserve. While praise and riches have been lavished on Celtic artists such as Enya, for some reason it has never been the same for Iona who in some ways have followed a similar musical path, bringing together Celtic and traditional music with the lighter forms of prog in a way that always delights. I first came across the band when I reviewed 'The Book Of Kells' back in 1992, one of the three albums that are used as the basis of this compilation. At this time they had one Nick Beggs providing bass and chapman stick, who some people may recognize from his time with Kajagoogoo! But for me the mainstays of the band were Joanne Hogg on vocals, Dave Bainbridge on guitar/keyboards (who are both still there today) along with Troy Donockley on various traditional instruments.(who departed in 2009).

So why am I looking at a compilation album that only covers a subset of their releases, which in itself is more than 15 years old! Easy, Iona have made this available as a free download from their site. Yes, that's right, free. Gratis. No payment required. So what excuse can you possibly have now for not discovering one of the finest bands around in their field? This is wonderfully atmospheric album from start to end, with a warmth provided by fretless bass and a cut through by drums and whistles, while the keyboards and guitars build a blanket of sound that allows Joanne to rise above it all. In some ways it is somewhat reminiscent of Renaissance and Annie Haslam, with complex layered music allowing a free vocal to really dominate the overall sound

This album has reminded me just how wonderful their music really is, and has inspired me to find out more about the albums I don't already have. Easily four stars in anyone's book, this is a great compilation and given that it is free why not give them a try? www.iona.uk.com

 Journey Into The Morn by IONA album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.69 | 56 ratings

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Journey Into The Morn
Iona Prog Folk

Review by Frankie Flowers

4 stars Journey To The Morn is another great album by this unique band. The album is lengthly much like Iona's other greats. This one runs for around 75 minutes, but there is a lot of variety. The best of all is the intricately-arranged and very progressive "Encircling" which is a modern sonata with three parts. It begins softly and builds to to a very powerful force of pipes, electric guitar and drums layered over ancient themes and instrumentation. With the creativity of this track alone, you'll hear how much they set themselves apart from typical Christian bands. Iona are very sophisticated and create words and music of incredible spiritual and artistic depth. You can just as well feel their strong passion in the music which is so deepy rooted in the land and history of Iona. As I said the album has a lot to offer including some upbeat pop-rock songs which also shouldn't be overlooked. Although more personal favourites are the mellow acoustic songs "Journey To The Morn", "Inside My Heart" and "Divine Presence". I equally love the dreamy, atmospheric pieces, especially "Everything Changes" which is more melancholy than most of Iona's pieces, but it's quite powerful. Journey To The Morn is one of my favourite albums by the band along with "Book Of Kells", which both share as many mysterious, haunting as well as dreamlike moods. I consider Iona to be one of the most innovative progressive bands of the past two decades. Four shining stars.
Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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