Ryan's Fancy: Band Member Bios
Since Ryan's Fancy disbanded, Fergus' inimitable voice, huge repertoire, and lively instrumental work on a variety of instruments, including banjo, guitar, concertina, bodhran, and mandolin have ensured a busy solo and freelance career. Extensive touring has taken him throughout Canada, the United States, Ireland, and Hong Kong. He developed and produces a program of songs, stories and slides exploring the connection between Ireland and Newfoundland. This production has toured schools throughout the Atlantic provinces for many years. He has also contributed to the Newfoundland School Curriculum for Music at the intermediate and high school level.
Fergus can be heard on recordings by Great Big Sea, Minnie White, Jim Payne, Christina Smith, Pamela Morgan, and the Sons of Erin, as well as anthologies of Newfoundland music. He released a CD along with Jim Payne entitled Wave Over Wave: Old and New Songs of Atlantic Canada, which was nominated for an East Coast Music Award in 1997. He also recorded the acclaimed Battery Included with Tickle Harbour, which won three Music Industry Association of Newfoundland and Labrador awards in 1999, and was nominated for an ECMA award in 2000. He continues to tour nationally and internationally with Jim Payne, his performances with Dermot are a rare treat, and in recent years he has recorded and appeared with Gearbox, a St. John's based aggressive rock band.
In 1983, after the group Ryan's Fancy disbanded, Dermot continued to perform as a solo artist in clubs and concerts. He also set out to develop an audiovisual production featuring slides, narration and live music. This show was designed for presentation in a high school gym or concert hall setting to junior and senior high school students.
After traveling throughout Newfoundland, Labrador and Cape Breton with the school show for a number of years, Dermot turned his attention to video and television production through his company Piperstock Productions Limited. In addition to industrial and public service videos, he also produced a number of musical documentaries, two of which Rigs, Jigs And Songs From The Heart and Cain's Legacy are currently in distribution as videocassettes.
Dermot set up a sound recording facility in 1993 to produce and release recordings by local artists. To date, 25 CDs have been produced at the studio. As well as working on current recording projects, he continues to develop ideas for TV productions and remains a local favourite, performing in clubs, festivals and in concert.
In 1983, the three members of Ryan's Fancy decided to pursue separate careers. Denis, who makes his home in Halifax, Nova Scotia, has since been working in the investment business. He is involved with numerous community projects including serving as the national chairman of the fundraising committee of the D'Arcy McGee Chair of Irish Studies at St. Mary's University. In 1994 he received an honorary degree, Doctor of Letters, from St. Mary's University in Halifax. Denis is also the founder of Nova Scotian Crystal, located on the Halifax waterfront. It is the only mouth-blown, hand-cut crystal company in North America.
However, his interest in music has never waned. He was the host of CBC's nationally televised show Up on the Roof. He has appeared at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium in Halifax with Symphony Nova Scotia, and hosted the spectacular Symphony Explosion at the Halifax Metro Centre in 1996, which raised over $150,000 for the Symphony. Denis continues to emcee many charitable and other events. He has also released two solo albums titled Mist Covered Mountains and Denis Ryan & Friends: Here and There.