The Screaming Orphans
The Screaming Orphans are four sisters with the good fortune to have been raised in the magic of Bundoran in County Donegal, Ireland.
There is a great tradition of music to be found in Irish homes especially in the Gaeltacht or Irish-speaking areas which have produced the likes of Clannad, Enya and Mairead, Micheal and Triona Ni Dhomhnaill. Their home was no exception. They’d been singing and playing traditional Irish music but when they hit their teenage years they knew it was time to start their own band.
Their first gigs were at local surf festivals at Bundoran playing covers. They were soon writing their own music and travelling to Dublin to play the singer/ songwriter clubs including Whelans. At one of these shows they were seen by the director of London based Blue Mountain Music publishing company founded by Chris Blacktheyll of Island Music and subsequently signed a deal with them.
Their next break came with an invitation to play at a St.Brigid’s day concert in Kildare along with truly great Irish artists like Christy Moore, Liam O’Maonlai, and Sinead O’Connor. Sinead then asked them to be her back-up singers and open for her on her Gospel Oak Tour. They toured across Europe, America and Canada, and appeared on David Letterman and other TV shows as part of her show and as a band in their own right.
The following year was spent with world music star, Babba Maal, singing at his homecoming concert in Dakar, Senegal, and contributing vocals to his album “Nomad Soul.” They also recorded with Peter Gabriel and were backing vocalists on the Joni Mitchell track “Magdalene Laundries” for the Chieftains “Tears of Stone” album.
A year later, they signed with Warner UK and recorded their debut album in Normandy France with the legendary Mike Hedges, who has been producer for the likes of Siouxie and the Banshees, U2, Manic Street Preachers, Texas, and Travis.
While they can never forget their roots in traditional Irish music, the Screaming Orphans draw on a diverse set of influences ranging from Simon & Garfunkel, The Bangles to The McNulty Family, with a strong focus on melody-driven songs with pop and rocks strains.
Being surrounded by so many different influences has inspired us to explore new and exciting song writing and performance concepts. Their CDs reflect Their Celtic roots but cross many cultural boundaries, which might explain why they recorded “Listen and Learn” in France and Malta, “Circles” in Nashville, Tennessee, “East 12th Street” in New York City and “Belle’s Isle,” “The Jacket’s Green,” “Lonely Boy,” “Sliabh Liag” and “Toy Theatre” in Ireland.
And if you’re wondering about their name… A friend of Joan’s (Damien Granaghan) came up with it one night and they loved the name because they were going out on the road on their own and they were leaving behind Their Mam who had been their lead singer for years and Their Da who was their manager/sound engineer and so they became “orphans.” The “screaming” bit is what usually occurs when surrounded by family and they are known to hit certain high notes that could be interpreted as scream-like. That and their secondary school used to be an orphanage so there you have it.
Joan Diver – drums, vocals
Angela Diver – bass, violin, vocals
Gráinne Diver – guitar, vocals
Marie Thérèse Diver – keys, accordion, vocals
“Screaming Orphans are neither screaming (thank heavens) nor orphans. What they are is fun. And talented. And exciting to hear.” – 67 Music