Dodo Band’s return from 300 years of extinction

The Dodo Street Band are playing on Saturday (August 18) at Stockbridge Church as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

All the members (Blows, Scrapes, Bellows, Twangs and Bangs) are musicians with lengthy careers who have joined together to indulge their love for Celtic, Gypsy and Klezmer music.

Returning from three centuries of extinction, The Dodo Street Band have taken audiences by storm with their maverick take on Celtic, Gypsy and Klezmer music – leaving audiences stamping and cheering long after the Dodos have left the stage.

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

You will never hear faster playing, of such inhuman precision, than Adam Summerhayes (“astonishing, all-out virtuosity” New York Times) and Piers Adams (“superhuman” Washington Post) – and the rest of the band is equally virtuosic.

Master accordionist Murray Grainger and one of Europe’s most renowned bass players, Malcolm Creese, can easily dominate centre stage, while the livewire antics of Cormac Byrne, king of Irish percussion and BBC Folk Award-winning bodhran player, can easily steal the show.

But it is the music that is really remarkable.

There is nothing predictable about their tunes, a famous Irish melody might take a wild Klezmer twist, an ancient 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. 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 centuries old or newly penned.

The band was formed when Adam Summerhayes severed both tendons on the back of his thumb. A disaster for a violin player. After an intense period of physio he experimented holding the bow in his claw and very slowly, through the magic of memory he fully regained the use of his hand. He would now focus on the music he had always wanted to play, but never got round to. The Dodo Street Band is the result.