Dervish are an Irish traditional music group from County Sligo, Ireland who have been described by BBC Radio 3 as "an icon of Irish music". They were formed in 1989 by Liam Kelly, Shane Mitchell, Martin McGinley, Brian McDonagh, and Michael Holmes and have been fronted by singer Cathy Jordan since 1991. They represented Ireland in the final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2007, singing a song written by John Waters and Tommy Moran, finishing in last place.
The band was originally called The Boys of Sligo; an album under this title, with Martin McGinley on fiddle but no vocals, was released by Sound records (SUNCD 1).
In 1991 the band were joined by Roscommon-born singer Cathy Jordan and fiddle player Shane McAleer. Dervish's first album, "Harmony Hill", was released in 1993. In 1994 their second album, "Playing with Fire", was released. In 1996 Dervish released "At the End of the Day".
Their fourth album, "Live in Palma", was recorded in front of a live audience in 1997. In 1998 McAleer left the band and was replaced by Sligo musician Séamus O'Dowd and fiddle player Tom Morrow. Dervish's fifth album, "Midsummer's Night", was released in 1999. In 2001 Dervish released "Decade", a compilation of tracks from their first five albums. In 2003 they released "Spirit", followed by "A Healing Heart" in 2006.
Dervish performed as the Irish entry for the Eurovision Song Contest 2007. They finished 24th for their performance of "They Can't Stop The Spring".
Eurovision Song Contest 2007
Dervish performed as the Irish entry for the Eurovision Song Contest 2007. They finished last (with five points which were awarded to them by the Albanian back-up jury because of a failed televote), for their performance of "They Can't Stop The Spring".
2012 Boycott of Israel
In the Spring of 2012, Dervish was one of two Irish bands that canceled heavily advertised concerts in Israel citing a cultural boycott of Israel. The band's lead vocalist, Cathy Jordan, stated "it was very naïve of me to think our motives would not be misunderstood and misrepresented. So much so it started an avalanche of negativity which has made it impossible for us to make the trip regardless of our motives." Jordan added that "Although I was aware of the concerns with our proposed visit to Israel, I wasn't quite prepared for the extent of the venom directed at us." Justice Minister Alan Shatter accused the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) of "cyberbullying" Dervish into withdrawing from the concerts. IPSG National co-ordinator Kevin Squires stated that the organization had directed its supporters to target Dervish's website, although he denied Jordan's claim that was any "venom" directed towards the band.