Cathy Jordan made her song writing debut on her eighth studio album with Dervish. The album, Travelling Show, contains two tracks, Grainne and Lord Levett, which were written by Jordan.
This breakthrough opened the creative floodgates somewhat and she has gone on to co-write songs with Brendan Graham, Rosie and Susan McKeown. In 2009 she was commissioned to write a song for the Bealtine Festival by the Sligo Co Council. The Bealtine Festival celebrates the contribution older people have made to society.
In 2009, American producers Mark Johnson and Enzo Buono set about a project called Playing for Change where they went around the world and asked local musicians from diverse places such as India, Africa, New Orleans to all play the same piece of music in their native style.
Contributors included Bono, Grandpa Elliott, Louis Mhlanga and Vusi Mahlasela. Jordan performed the piece in a traditional Irish style.
In 2010 the band celebrated their 21st anniversary with a live album From Stage to Stage, which featured recordings from various gigs on either side of the Atlantic.
They also performed four special concerts at Celtic Connections, Glasgow, the Shrewsbury Folk Festival, the National Concert Hall, Dublin, and A Christmas homecoming concert in Sligo.
The concerts featured guest appearances from artists who had influenced the band over the years.
Jordan is also a member of another band called The Unwanted. The Unwanted includes members from Ireland and America and much of their music explores the differences and similarities between Irish folk music and American folk music.
Jordan said: “All three of us have a love for music from both sides of the Atlantic.” They released their debut album, Music from the Atlantic Fringe, received glowing reviews from critics.
Although she came from a music loving family, Jordan’s parents, especially her father, were not keen on the thought of her singing for a living.
Her mother thought it would mean putting in a lot of effort for very little reward. She wanted her daughter to enjoy life and see the world but didn’t feel that singing would become a productive career.
Her father seemed even less enthusiastic about her career choice. He would have preferred her to settle down and get married. When Jordan joined Dervish, he would rarely speak to her about her singing.
But then when her father passed away, Jordan found newspaper clippings about her that he had saved throughout the years. It was only then that she realised he had followed her career with pride.
Jordan continues to perform and record with Dervish, as well as pursuing a solo career.