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January 18, 2011

If you’ve never been a fan of Christian Celtic progressive rock music, there is a fair chance that you may never have listened to Iona.


If that is the case, you’d be missing out on fantastic music which for a spell, included the musical talents of Nick Beggs.

Nick first featured on the band’s second album in 1992, entitled ‘The Book of Kells’:

This album was based on the manuscript of the same name:


One of my favourite tracks on the album is ‘Chi-Rho’:

The running order on the album is:

  1. Kells Opening Theme
  2. Revelation
  3. Mathew-The Man
  4. Chi-Rho
  5. Mark-The Lion
  6. The River Flows
  7. Luke-The Calf
  8. Virgin and Child
  9. Temptation
  10. The Arrest-Gethsemane
  11. Trinity-The Godhead
  12. John-The Eagle
  13. Kells
  14. Eternity-No Beginning No End

Another of my favourite tracks on the album is ‘Kells’.  Such a powerful track:

In 1993, Nick featured on the album ‘Beyond These Shores’.  This album is largely based on the story of St. Brendan’s voyage.  More can be read about the story here:


The moving track, ‘Beyond These Shores’:

The running order on the album is:

  1. Prayer on the Mountain
  2. Treasure
  3. Brendan’s Voyage (Navigato)
  4. Edge of the World
  5. Today
  6. View of the Islands
  7. Bird of Heaven
  8. Murlough Bay
  9. Burning Like Fire
  10. Adrift
  11. Beachy Head
  12. Machrie Moor (Fiona Davidson)
  13. Healing” (Davidson)
  14. Brendan’s Return
  15. Beyond These Shores

See Nick playing Chapman Stick in the video of the fantastic ‘Treasure’:

Aswell as a list of other guest musicians on the album, ‘Beyond These Shores’ featured Robert Fripp of King Crimson fame:

Nick also worked with the band on the 1999 live album ‘Woven Cord’ which was recorded at the Royal Festival Hall in London to mark the tenth anniversary of the band.  Iona joined with the All Souls Orchestra to record this concert.


The superb track ‘Woven Cord’ live:

The running order of the album is:

  1. Overture
  2. Bi-Se I Mo Shuil Pt. 1
  3. Matthew – The Man
  4. White Sands
  5. Murlough Bay
  6. Dancing On The Wall
  7. Encircling
  8. Lindisfarne
  9. Revelation
  10. Woven Cord
  11. Beyond These Shores

Nick Beggs is a diverse musician and this shows in his work with Iona.  I was first directed to Iona because of Nick having been involved but once you spend a little bit of time listening to the band, you can really get lost in the music and just sit back to enjoy it.

Nick himself says on his own website, these three records are probably the best he has ever worked on and it’s understandable why he’d say that.  They’re masterpieces.

I’m sure anyone who listens to Iona could not fail to be moved by the astounding singing talents of Joanne Hogg.

All of the above albums are available from the band’s official website:

More work from Nick appears on ‘The River Flows Anthology 1’ which is a four CD box set released in 2002, featuring the above three albums and also a disc of new and previously unreleased material.  This disc also features the soundtrack to the BBC ‘The Natural World’ wildlife programme ‘Snowdonia Realm of the Ravens’.  This programme was broadcast on 8th March 1994.

As ever, support the artists wherever you can.

I shall leave this Iona piece with one final video.  This is the track ‘Chi-Rho’ which we’ve heard from the album ‘The Book of Kells’ played live at Holland in 1996.  It does feature Nick on stick and is just too good to leave out:

The music is naturally very different to that of KajaGooGoo, I do hope you’ve enjoyed the music of Iona.

2011 KajaFax

4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 18, 2011 10:35 am

    Couldn’t agree more. I discovered Íona in the early 90s, through Nick’s involvement, and have quite a few of their albums now. They’re a fantastic band. “The Book Of Kells” features a track that has the most extraordinary Chapman Stick line, called “Temptation”—beautiful stuff.

    • January 18, 2011 3:24 pm

      It really is superb music and such an important part of the musical path of Mr Beggs. I think to truly appreciate Nick Beggs, fans should have a good listen to Iona and just appreciate how well crafted it is.

  2. TheRaggedTiger permalink
    January 23, 2011 12:27 pm

    A Beggsless Iona are playing ‘The Stables’ soon.

    May be of interest to somebody reading this article??


  1. KajaFax about Nick Beggs Pt1 «

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