Named for an island off Scotland’s western coast, the group Iona was formed in the late ‘80s by vocalist Joanne Hogg and multi-instrumentalists David Fitzgerald and Dave Bainbridge.
They are contemporaries of fellow Celtic artists Enya and Clannad; however, Iona’s works are also influenced heavily by jazz-fusion, prog-rock and ancient Christian themes.
For Iona’s 1990 debut album, the band added: drummer Terl Bryant, bassist Nick Beggs (former bassist of Kajagoogoo) and several studio musicians — Fiona Davidson (Celtic harp), Peter Whitfield (strings), Troy Donockley (Uillean pipes) and Frank Van Essen (tuned percussion). The self-titled album received very little press, even in their home country, though a Dutch network compiled a documentary based on Iona, the band and the island.
Two years later, Iona returned with “Book of Kells”, and the album was praised by North American critics
as well as those of the British Isles. David Fitzgerald left in 1992 to pursue a degree in music and, as a result, Iona lost much of its jazz influences by the following year’s Beyond These Shores. The group made up for Fitzgerald’s absence, however, by inviting Robert Fripp to guest on the album. Both albums also featured former Kajagoogoo bassist/stickist Nick Beggs.