Dé Danann
(De Dannan)

Dé Danann



Dé Danann (later De Dannan) was an Irish folk music group. They were formed in 1974 by Frankie Gavin (fiddle), Alec Finn (guitar, bouzouki), Johnny "Ringo" McDonagh (bodhrán) and Charlie Piggott (banjo) as a result of sessions in Hughes's Pub in An Spidéal, County Galway, subsequently inviting Dolores Keane (vocals) to join the band. They named themselves Dé Danann after the legendary Irish tribe, Tuatha Dé Danann. The late fiddler Mickey Finn is also acknowledged to have been a founder member of De Dannan.

The group released their eponymous debut album Dé Danann in 1975. Keane left to marry John Faulkner in 1977. From here on out the line up became ever changing.


  • 1976-1978:
  • 1980:
    • Jackie Daly joins the band, on accordion. Jackie appears on Dé Danann albums through 1985.
    • Dé Danann releases The Mist Covered Mountain on the Gael-Linn label, with Seán Ó Conaire & Tom Pháidín Tom on vocals.
  • 1981-1982:
    • Maura O'Connell joins the group as vocalist — appearing on Star-Spangled Molly. Maura was in the band 1981-1982.
    • Founding member, Charlie Piggott, leaves the band sometime after the release Star-Spangled Molly.
  • 1983-1987:
    • Mary Black is Dé Danann's vocalist (approx) 1983-1986.
    • In 1983 Martin O'Connor joins on accordion, and remains with Dé Danann until 1987. Most sources say that he replaced Jackie Daly, but both Martin and Jackie appear on the 1985 album, Anthem.
    • With the release of Anthem, the band changed the spelling from "Dé Danann" to "De Dannan".
    • Delores Keane returns to the band during this period. Appearing on 1985's Anthem, along with Mary Black, and as the main vocalist on Ballroom in 1987.
    • Aidan Coffey replaces Martin O'Connor on accordion in 1987, apparently after the band recorded Ballroom.
  • 1988:
    • Eleanor Shanley joins the band as vocalist and remains until 1992.
    • Founding member, Johnny "Ringo" McDonagh leaves the band and is replaced by Colm Murphy on bodhrán — who remains with the group until the initial break up in 2003.
  • 1994:
    • Tommy Fleming becomes the band's next vocalist, leaving the group in 1997.
  • 1995:
    • Derek Hickey joins De Dannan, replacing Aidan Coffey on accordion.
  • 1997:
    • Andrew Murray was De Dannan's last vocalist, before the band's break up.
  • 2003:
    • The band members went their separate ways at which point, the name De Dannan (Dé Danann) was copyrighted by Alec Finn.
    • After the break-up of De Dannan, Frankie Gavin spent the following six years pursuing a successful solo career and working with a new band called Hibernian Rhapsody.
  • 2009:
    • In 2009, Frankie Gavin decided to perform at the World Fleadh at Castlebar with a new line-up using the name Frankie Gavin and De Dannan. Former De Dannan members like Mary Black, Dolores Keane and Mairtin O' Connor joined Gavin for the one-off show.
    • Promoting his new band as Frankie Gavin and De Dannan led to a dispute with former band member Alec Finn who had registered the name De Dannan when they split in 2003.
    • The dispute was eventually settled after an exchange of solicitors' letters.
  • 2010:
    • Alec Finn reforms "Dé Danann" with founding member, Johnny "Ringo" McDonagh, and past members, Eleanor Shanley and Derek Hickey. This group releases the first album, under the Dé Danann (De Dannan) name, in ten years — Wonderwaltz.
  • 2011:

The below "History" is from (the Alec Finn lead) Dé Danann's Website

Legendary group Dé Danann, once described as 'the Rolling Stones of Irish Traditional Music', are touring again.

Founding members Alec Finn and Johnny 'Ringo' McDonagh are joined by luminaries of Irish music who have played with the band over the years.

Dé Danann were formed in 1975 in Galway and became one of the most influential bands in Irish traditional music before going their separate ways in 2003. The group released their debut album Dé Danann in 1975 and in total have recorded 14 albums including Anthem, Ballroom, The Star Spangled Molly, A Jacket of Batteries and achieved chart success, with many of the albums reaching gold and platinum status.

Famous for their cross cultural experiments they recorded traditional Irish versions of The Beatles' "Hey Jude", Handel's "The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba" (which they called "The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba in Galway"). They also recorded Jewish Klezmer music with Andy Statman and made an album called Half Set in Harlem featuring American Gospel singing.

Members of the band have included singers Dolores Keane, Maura O'Connell, Mary Black, Eleanor Shanley, Tommy Fleming and Andrew Murray. On the instrumental side Alec Finn, Johnny 'Ringo' McDonagh, Frankie Gavin, Jackie Daly, Mairtin O'Connor, Aidan Coffey, Charlie Piggott, Colm Murphy, Derek Hickey, David Munnelly, Arty McGlynn, Luke Daniels, Mick Conneely, Carl Hession, Brian McGrath, Brendan Boyle, Mary Bergin, Alan Kelly, Brendan O'Regan, John Carty, Tommy Keane, Christy O'Leary, Peter O'Hanlon, John Faulkner, Ronan O'Flaherty and Cian Finn have all toured and many have recorded with Dé Danann.

On 17th December 2009, former members and associates of the original Dé Danann got together to perform a benefit concert in Galway for "Changing Minds", an organisation raising awareness about mental health issues in Ireland. The night was an astounding success! Well needed funds were raised for the organisation. The band brought the house down and the 'feel-good' vibe on the night was absolutely amazing. The music and songs left the packed house screaming for more.

Since that concert, Dé Danann have received countless invitations to perform far and wide, so they decided to go back on the road and bring their unique sound to the world stage once again.

A new studio album Wonderwaltz was completed and released in November 2010. The band continues to tour worldwide.