“An amazing band … very, very impressive.
I can see them ripping the stage apart as the final act” fRoots

Dodo Street – a new phenomenon for the folk scene. A rave of inhuman speed – sheer energy – anarchic fun – contrasted with beautiful, epic, transcendental soundscapes.

“Five musical geniuses” Folk Radio
“Nothing short of phenomenal” Morning Star
“A stunning sound” folking.com
“Superb new instrumental quintet” Songlines

It’s not often that a new band provokes so much positive comment in the music press, but it is not often that a species returns from extinction. Dodo Street have done both – and have burst onto the scene with their exhilarating mix of traditional and self-penned melodies in a wild musical odyssey.

 

Defying Extinction

What is so special? Apart from their history-defying existence…

“Amazing – phenomenal – unsurpassed virtuosity – stunning – remarkable – breathtaking – five musical geniuses”: just some of the superlatives from recent reviews. The Dodos’ violinist, Adam Summerhayes, has frequently been likened in the global press to Paganini himself, the god of violin playing, whilst Piers Adams is considered the world’s number one recorder player. The others are equally remarkable: master accordionist Murray Grainger and one of Europe’s most renowned bass players Malcolm Creese can easily dominate centre stage, whilst the live-wire antics of Cormac Byrne, the BBC Folk Award winning bodhran player and king of Irish percussion can easily steal the show (“what I can only describe as a lead bodhran player” folking.com).

But it is the music that is really extraordinary. There is nothing predictable about their tunes – a famous Irish melody takes a wild klezmer twist, an ancient and barely known Scottish wedding song is recast in a mesmeric soundscape that evokes the lonely island from which it came, gypsy tunes and Eastern-European rhythms spiral faster and faster, impossible not to dance to until the moment when only the fastest feet could keep up. Instrumental limits are pushed to the extreme, but the band never lose control or tightness and the music is, above all. driven by potent melodies, whether a couple of centuries old or newly penned.

There is a steak of anarchic fun throughout their music and performances, but as Nat Handy intimated in his article for Songlines, there is an underlying seriousness. He quotes Summerhayes: “I’ve got these disparate traditions my head, which are absolutely alive for me” and then makes the perceptive comment that “perhaps resurrecting the long extinct dodo is a metaphorical way of imagining different histories, ones that never happened, but which can still happen if we will them into being”. Yes … perhaps it is.