An Dochas and the Irish Haran Dancers
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An Dochas and the Irish Haran Dancers

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"With the driving, contemporary brilliance of Lunasa, the sweetness and pure voice of Dervish and with a meeting of warmth and electricity, An Dóchas delivers fiery Irish traditional music with all the toppings. From uillean pipes jamming out with hand drums to the heartrending voice of Irish flute, dense guitar textures and backing support by full drum set, their new release, "Dragonfly," doesn't mess around when it comes to heel-kicking jigs and reels, served up with a modern context."
-CD Baby - -cdbaby.com February 4th, 2004


"After listening a couple times to The Modey Lemon's CD, switching over to the latest release from Colville, Wash.-based An Dóchas was like stepping into a cool shower after soaking in a hot tub full of boiling oil.

Of course, almost anything's better than a hot tub full of boiling oil.

So let's put it this way: If you like Celtic music, or so-called "world music," or almost any kind of predominantly acoustic music played with virtuoso flair, An Dóchas (Irish for "The Hope") may be right up your alley - and right down the street, at Sean Kelly's, this Saturday.

Although this show marks the band's Missoula debut, An Dochas has been performing around the Northwest for more than two years, and has even been featured on NPR's "Thistle and Shamrock" Celtic radio program.

The band combines the typical instruments of American folk-rock - acoustic guitar, bass, drums - with a grab-bag of traditional Irish instruments, including uilleann pipes, penny whistles, and the bodhrán.

The resulting music is undeniably Celtic in spirit, yet with a pop undercurrent that should please the weekend crowd at Sean Kelly's."

Reach Joe Nickell at 523-5358 or jnickell@missoulian.com. - -The Missoulian


“This is an album that makes me proud to say I’m a part of the recording community in Northeast Washington- five young lads taking up the mantle of Irish music, and making an authentic showing of it on their album 'Dragonfly.'

An Dóchas is Mellad Abeid, David Schulz, James Fish, Ryan Fish, and Jeremy Oswin and the sound they make is a far cry from some Irish Spring jingle. Full of brash wind instruments and severe rhythms, this music is invigorating and spiritual all at once.

Although there are some great standout tracks (“Tobin’s Favorite,” “The Dragonfly Set,”), putting emphasis on any one might detract from the overall feel of this CD. Frankly, it’s well-paced, and if you’re going to buy it (and you should) you should listen to the whole thing top to bottom to get a feel for the entire set.

In short, this is inventive ethnic music played by talented local musicians who manage to capture sounds we don’t (and won’t) hear on mainstream radio and video. Buy this album!”


- Michael Pickett - -The North Columbia Monthly, October 2003


Are all traditional bands created equal? Are they all there for background music while we have a pint in our favorite Irish pub? Do you have to be over fifty to go see a trad band live?

I happen to be under the impression that a lot of the readers of this site are here for the more punk and rock and roll music that it covers which is fine, I’m big into just about every aspect of punk, hardcore, rock, but also the real Irish side of this genre, traditional music. With every band and it’s brother rocking out trad songs and doing revved up jigs and reels, sometimes it makes me wonder if we’re not forgetting something, our roots in the traditional Irish music. Throwing a fiddle in with an electric guitar is cool and all, but ever heard a solo that actually drives you to tears. There is such heart and soul in the instruments you see up on stage getting wailed on during Dropkick Murphy’s Rocky Road to Dublin, but you wouldn’t know it the way it’s thrown at you through distortion pedals, amps and speakers like it was just so much more noise to fill your head. There is something to be said for slowing down and taking the time to listen to the song the way it was meant to be played.

I’m not saying that it’s going to be easy for you the reader to go out there and just dive right into the first band that comes along, there are some that are horrible at it, but somehow get record deals, and there are some that aren’t going to be your style. I do have one suggestion that really you can’t go wrong with is An Dochas.

With all the energy and drive these folks put into there music, how they aren’t selling gold records is beyond me! They are what most new agers like to call a world beat, but don’t let that scare you, they really do kick out some great tunes that make you want to put on you’re jacket, get in the car and fly to the nearest session, grab a Guinness and sit and relax. It’s great for relaxing reading a book, and as I have found the perfect company on a long trip in a car. Dragon Fly, the album I have is all instrumental, which I know drives some folks nuts, but I think there is so much going on, to me it feels like everyone in the band is singing to me and I love the way every time I hear a song, there is a new voice to listen to.

Usually I have at least a few problems with every CD I review, but this one I have a hard time finding faults. There are a few nit-picks, one being that some songs are long and repetitive, but then that’s the way some of these songs are written. So just find them online and buy the CD and you won’t be disappointed.

-Brian Grady
www.shitenonions.com/reviews_jan06.html - Shite 'N' Onions


" July 25, 2003. The “J” Team (James, Jen, and Jack) enters the Owl & Thistle in search of a bit o’ Irish delight on a warm summer night. Joining us was our new gal pal Regina from Mad-City, Wisconsin who regaled us with Absolute Madarin Cosmopolitans and an astounding ability to attract not just one or two men, but entire teams of men. One baseball team and three Cosmos later, our attention was caught by the music of “An Dochas”. A vamped up limerick tickled my ears and a modern beat moved my feet. Without realizing it, I was out of my chair. Drawn by their ancient rhythm and contemporary style, I moved closer for a better look when out of nowhere a pair of Irish dancers appeared.

Surprised and thrilled, I weaved my way through the crowd who stood transfixed on what appeared to be a duo right out of River Dance Tour, and raced for my “got it all” backpack. “Aha! I do have my camera with me”, I said, “and there’s film in it too! Good reporter, gooooood reporter.”, I gloated. Re-weaving my way back through the crowd, the pride over my fabulous efficiency was immediately squashed as the dancers disappeared as quickly as they had appeared. “No problem,” I thought, “I’ll just pretend like I planed it this way and get some shots of the band.” Irritated by my lack of preparedness and wanting only to toss the damn camera and dance, I prowled around the stage like a cat with a Kodak.

I had plenty of photo op’s; Unfortunately, a height of 5’2” presents a few challenges when it comes to photography, but not to worry! Three Cosmos have a tendency to add a few inches, and like any good horse wrangler, I rounded up a bar stool from which to stand. Five or six shots later (photographic – not alcoholic), I headed back in search of the dancers who I’d persuade into re-enacting their dance for the camera, when once again they popped out of nowhere right in front of me. “Yes! Short people do have a reason to live!”, I shouted inside my head as I crouched low and snapped off the last few remaining exposures on my roll.

A Gaelic name meaning, “The Hope”, An Dochas exceeded it’s name by not only lifting spirits, stirring souls, and moving feet, but topped it off by sending us on our way with a blanket of energy. And not just an “Oooooh that was great…….Now what” kind of energy, but a kind of time release capsule of energy that stayed me for days. Earlier that night, when asked how they came about, Jen and I learned of the inspiration of Mellad’s mother, Dierdre who brought their neighborhood in Kettle Falls, Washington together through her teaching of Irish dance. Like all wise men, who know a good thing when they hear it, Mellad Abeid and David Shulz took her inspiration and blended it with their contemporary spirit in a way that gives the listener a sense of the world – past, present and future. Combined with their talented band members and world champion dancers, An Dochas truly leaves you with “The Hope”. The hope that you will be lucky enough to catch them at their next gig.

So if you, like I, am in need of hope, then we’ll see each other at Fado Irish Pub in Seattle on September 17th. If on the other hand you are hope-less, you can certainly go the cyber route and visit them at: http://www.andochas.com . Either way, I can once again wholeheartedly recommend another little gift our city has to offer."

- Marlow T. Brown - www.efxarts.com: Posted Aug 21, 2003


"The musicians are first rate and organized a show which had interesting compositions, varying tempo and instrumentation, and a congenial spirit to it"
Caldwell Fine Arts - January 2009

- Various


Discography

Dragonfly Redux - LP 2006 Won Independent Celtic Instrumental Album 2006 JPF worldwide music awards (fetured on NPR's Thistle and Shamrock, Radio Celt.com)
What'll Ya Have?-EP 2006
Beginnings-DVD 2006

Photos

Bio

An Dochas, Irish for “The Hope,” is a young Irish band with cross-cultural influences, presenting traditional Irish music fused with the energy of Rock and the versatility of folk. A driving rhythm section of guitar, bass, and drums supports traditional instruments including the Uilleann pipes, whistles, Bodhran, and fiddle. The band incorporates moving ballads as well as rowdy, comical vocals into their sets creating an emotionally dynamic performance to accompany explosive Irish step dancing.
The Haran Irish Dancers have been performing for over a decade in America, Austria, and Japan, and have had multiple appearances at the Irish Step Dancing World Championships.
Together, An Dochas and the Haran Irish Dancers have performed to sold-out audiences throughout the U.S. An Dochas’ 2006 release, Dragonfly Redux, was awarded Celtic Instrumental Album of the Year by Just Plain Folks Worldwide Music Awards and the group is currently in the studio recording their second album.