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A musical journey

Danú tells the stories of Ireland through traditional and contemporary song

The musicians in Danú came together following a casual jam session and have since recorded seven albums and embarked on multiple tours.

The musicians in Danú came together following a casual jam session and have since recorded seven albums and embarked on multiple tours. John D. Kelly

“Not all of our material is ancient music. We have newly written pieces written in the traditional vein. They sound as if they were old,” he said.

Named for a goddess in Celtic mythology, Danú has performed in venues around the world since coming together as a band in 1995 after an informal appearance at a music festival in Dungarvan, Ireland.

“We were playing for a festival and all kind of jamming together when we got an opportunity to go to a big Celtic festival in France. We decided we would go, and that’s where it all started. Before we knew it, we were a band. We didn’t set out to be a band from the start. All of a sudden, we found ourselves a name and doing a big concert, and we are still doing it,” McCarthy said.

That casual jam session was the start of big things for Danú. The group has since recorded seven albums and has toured North America, Europe and the Middle East.

McCarthy said the band, which consists of seven almost 40-year-olds, all came from some sort of musical background, which he says is pretty typical in Ireland.

“Most everyone plays music in Ireland — traditional Irish music. It’s a great tradition,” he said. “Since 6 or 7 years of age, it was our social life, our hobby, our passion. We were all playing music maybe 13 to 14 years before we made a career out of it.”

McCarthy explains how traditional Irish music can be described in a variety of ways.

“For instance, you have people playing music with kind of a Celtic rock, but ours is very acoustic with instruments. The music is anything from — let’s say foot-tapping — jigs with good foot-tapping tempo, to very emotional songs in both Irish and English,” he said.

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