Traditional Irish folk band Na Dorsa is composed of a half dozen long-term friends who sometimes performed together in Galway before joining forces officially as a group in 2000. The name of the band is derived from a town in South Armagh called Dorsey or, as the locals call it in their native tongue, Dorsa, which translates as the gateway. The town acted as a gateway to a defensive stronghold of the region during the Bronze Age.
Members are vocalist Margaret Cunningham, flutist Desy Adams, bouzouki player and guitarist Paul Meehan, accordion player Martin Quinn, low whistle player and uilleann piper Tiarnan O Duinnchin, and fiddler Paul Bradley. The Wild Music of Gael, or O Ceol Caithreimeach na Gael, the group's debut recording, was released independently. Their playing is crisp, and the music, derived mainly from the north, can be described as virile, powerful, and energetic. Cunningham relays traditional material from the Donegal area in Gaelic, while she sings other numbers in English.
Flutist Adams hails from Belfast and spent time working in Denmark before settling down in Galway. There he performed as part of a musical production titled Spraoi, held in the city's An Taibhdhearc, also known as the National Theater of the Irish Language. His experience includes touring with the group Deanta.
Accordionist Quinn hails from Armagh. He has performed as a solo artist in Europe and the U.S., and also performs with the group La Lugh. Piper O Duinnchin was born in Mullaghbawn and resides in Armagh. He can be heard on the recordings of Clannad's Maire Brennan and Aoife Ni Fhearaigh.
Meehan is a native of Middletown who resides in Cork. In addition to the bouzouki and guitar, he also plays the banjo. When not working with Na Dorsa, he records with North Creggs and sometimes performs with Nomos. Fiddler Bradley hails from the town of Bessbrook. He crafts violins and has put out a solo album, Atlantic Roar. Vocalist Cunningham is a native of the Donegal city of Carrick. She has taken her solo act on the road in Europe and the U.S. In Glencolumbkille, she crafts tapestries.
Shortly after their formation, Na Dorsa appeared at festivals at home and abroad in Italy. The band also traveled to Hanover, Germany, to appear at Expo 2000 along with Donal Lunny, the Saw Doctors, Altan, Eleanor Shanley, Juliet Turner, and Dervish.