composer / musician / producer / co-founder of IONA

Music Biography

Born in Darlington in the north east of England, and from a musical family, Dave began piano lessons at the age of 8 and guitar lessons (from his dad) at 13. He joined his first band 'Exodus' at the age of 14 - "We all liked Genesis at the time, hence the name - it seemed like the next best thing!"

Dave subsequently studied at the Leeds College of Music, gaining several performance awards (including BBC Radio 2 Best Jazz Soloist Award). At college he also developed a deep interest in recording and synthesizers, particularly through work with college bands 'The Leeds Synthonia' and the 'Hyperspace Rock Orchestra' (the members of which, under the guidance of a rather eccentric college teacher, used to perform concerts dressed in Roman style togas!).

Since then his musical career has involved composing, recording, performing, producing, arranging and teaching.

After an unsuccessful attempt to launch a 'progressive rock' band called 'Plan B' with his sister in 1981 (the era of electro pop!), Dave went on to play guitar in jazz fusion band 'Sound Effect', which featured on keys Paul Birchall (currently keyboard player with Heather Smalls, Combination Head and The Snake Davis Band). In 1982 Dave simultaneously joined jazz fusion pioneer Gary Boyle's band as well the soul band 'Snake Davis and the Alligator Shoes' (later 'The Suspicions'), playing keys in both bands. In the mid 1980's to early 1990's, due to his association with the 'Norman Beaker' band, Dave was very active on the UK Blues scene. With the Norman Beaker band, Dave backed many visiting UK, US and European blues artists, both 'live' and on recordings for the 'Paul Jones Blues Show' on BBC Radio 2, including; Jack Bruce, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Paul Jones, Pete Brown, Phil Guy, Lowell Fulson, Lurrie Bell, Cary Bell, Rockin' Sidney, Guitar Shorty (Jimi Hendrix brother-in-law!), Louisiana Red, Colin Hodgkinson, Tony McPhee, Chris Farlowe, Herbie Goins, Fenton Robinson, Johnny Mars, Mick Abrahams, Ted Hawkins, Helen Watson, Angela Brown etc.

Dave has also played keyboards with blues legend Buddie Guy and in 1990 was one of the nominees in the category of 'Instrumentalist of the Year' in the British Blues Connections awards.

Whilst still at college in Leeds Dave, through a mutual friend, met up with singer/ songwriter Adrian Snell, whom he had long admired. The result was a working partnership (many concerts, album co-production and musical direction) that spanned the next 8 years from 1982 to 1990 and through which he would first meet Joanne Hogg and David Fitzgerald. In 2008 Dave worked again with Adrian, on keyboards, acoustic guitar and sound design for the world premier of Adrian's 'The Cry' at St Paul's Cathedral - an event sponsored by Save the Children featuring a 17 piece orchestra, several solo singers and a 160 piece choir.

Dave co-founded Iona with the band's former woodwind player, David Fitzgerald, in the summer of 1989 with Joanne Hogg joining soon after Dave and David's first 'duo' gig as Iona. As well as playing guitars and keys with Iona, behind the scenes Dave has produced all the bands albums to date and also mixed the latest album 'Another Realm' in his own Open Sky studio.

Dave's first solo album 'Veil of Gossamer' was released in June 2004 to critical acclaim and includes a number of guest appearances, including Mae McKenna, Racheal Cohen (formerly Jones, of The Reasoning), Joanne Hogg on vocals and Nick Beggs on basses. Dave's second solo album 'Celestial Fire' is almost completed and is due for release in early 2014. Another ambition project, drawing on many of Dave's early influences, the album again features a number of guest appearances from some amazing musicians, including Damian Wilson, Sally Minnear and Joanne Hogg (vocals), Collin Leijenaar (drums), Randy George (basses), Gabriel Alonso (orchestral percussion), Frank van Essen (solo and ensemble strings), plus several others. Dave is also currently working on his first solo piano album, due for release later in 2014.

He has collaborated on several duo projects include 'The Eye of the Eagle' (cd & dvd) with David Fitzgerald (1998), 'From Silence' (cd & dvd) with Troy Donockley (2004), 'When World's Collide' also with Troy Donockley (2005) and his most recent reunion with old friend David Fitzgerald, the evocative 'Life Journey' (2009).

In 2008 Dave briefly formed his own band 'Open Sky' with Gabriel Alonso (percussion and drums), Andrea Alonso (vocals, flute), Steve Lawson (basses, loops) and Andy Green (keys, vocals) and played several concerts in the UK, performing material from 'Veil of Gossamer' as well as new material and some Iona tracks. In the same year he collaborated with classical guitarist Nick Fletcher, recording and producing Nick's album 'Cathedral of Dreams (2009)'. The album features 'Iberian Fantasy' a guitar concerto co-written by Dave and Nick. Tracks from this album have been featured on Classic FM.

He has worked with many other artists including: Gloria Gaynor, Paul Jones, Phil Keaggy, Michael Ball (string arranging), Soulful Terrain, and (through his work as Iona producer) Moya Brennan (Clannad) and Robert Fripp.

Dave's music has been heard on many TV programmes and he has written the soundtracks for numerous short films, including 'Amazing Grace - The Story behind the Song' (2012), 'Petrified' (2010) (CGI animated comedy short), 'Man from the Moon', 'Remember to Smile', 'Going Up' (all 2010 'Straight 8' competition entries). Between 2009 and 2012, Dave wrote, recorded and mixed in 5.1 surround sound 17 short films for a major multi-national company for showing in their iMax cinema. Recently he has written the incidental music for the pilot for a new children's TV series called 'Boy and The Dinosaur, which should go into production sometime in 2014. (NB see Film Biography for more info on this aspect of Dave's work).

Dave has produced and/or mixed albums for several other artists including Joanne's solo album 'Looking into Light', albums by Adrian Snell, The Kairos Ensemble, The Pete James Trio, Nick Fletcher, Barry and Batya Segal, Godfrey Birtill, Kingsway Music.

Debbie and Dave Bainbridge run Iona's own Open Sky Records label and Dave's own Open Sky recording studio.


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