FolkWorld Issue 42 07/2010; Article by Seán Laffey
Lore and Tradition
The Mature Mythos of Danú
Danú is an Irish traditional music band.
The founding members of Danú (Donnchadh Gough, Dónal Clancy, Daire Bracken, and Benny McCarthy) met in Waterford in Ireland in 1994, and consolidated as a band after performing in the Festival Interceltique de Lorient in 1995.
Their second album, Think Before You Think (2000) was voted Best Overall Traditional Act by Dublin's magazine Irish Music. They are the only band to have been voted Best Traditional Group twice in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, in 2001 and again in 2004 when their version of Tommy Sands's "County Down" also won Best Original Song.
Benny McCarthy is a founding member of Danú; he manages and performs with the band and plays button accordion and melodeon. Benny won the All Ireland Oireachtas in 1994 on both button accordion and melodeon. He is the driving force of Danú and is a key member of several other bands including Raw Bar Collective and Cordeen.
Oisín McAuley, a previous member of Stockton's Wing, plays four- and five-string fiddle with Danú. He has recently released a solo album of fiddle music. Jesse Smith and Daire Bracken previously played fiddle for Danú.
Tom Doorley was the flute-player with Danú from 1996 until he retired from large-scale touring in 2007, and often acts as the spokesman for the band on stage. He teaches and lives in Dublin and makes an appearance now and again with Danú at concerts in Ireland and Europe. Ivan Goff, who had been a guest on several tours before Tom Doorley's retirement, became the full-time flute player for the band following his retirement. An accomplished Uileann piper, flute and whistle player from Dublin, Goff is based in Brooklyn, New York.
Éamon Doorley plays bouzouki and fiddle, and is the younger brother of Tom Doorley. His bouzouki playing has a strong emphasis on countermelody. He currently collaborates with his wife Julie Fowlis, playing mainly Scottish Gaelic music and song. The Doorley brothers joined Danú in 1996.
The band's lead singer is Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, who replaced earlier singer Ciarán Ó Gealbháin, a tenor who left to finish his education in May 2003, and who had in turn replaced founding member Cárthach Mac Craith in August 1999. Nic Amhlaoibh sings in English and Irish, in the folk and Sean Nós traditions, and also plays flute and whistle.
Dónal Clancy a founding member of Danú was the guitar player for the band in 1995 and returned to the band in 2002. During his absence, he was replaced by guitar player from Newport, Co.Tipperary Noel Ryan.
Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.
Seanchas is dedicated to the memory of Liam Clancy and can be ordered on line from www.danu.net.
(1) Press Photo (from website);
(2)-(3) Tønder Festival 1998,
(4) Snape Proms 2004 (by The Mollis);
(5) Tønder Festival 2007 (by Walkin' Tom).
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© The Mollis - Editors of FolkWorld; Published 07/2010
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