Joan Diver is the drummer and vocalist with Donegal all-sister Celtic pop band Screaming Orphans. They play Cyprus Ave in Cork on Sunday with Leo Moran (Saw Doctors) and Padraig Stevens.
Best recent book you’ve read: Beastie Boys Book by Michael Diamond & Adam Horovitz.
Best recent film you’ve seen: The Silver Branch, a 2018 film but nothing I’ve seen this year surpasses it.
Best recent show or gig: Eileen Ivers and her band at the i2000 in Ballston Spa, NY.
Best piece of music you’ve been listening to lately (new or old): Ravel’s ‘Pavane Por Une Enfante Defunte’. My sister MT plays it every time she sees a piano.
First ever piece of music that really moved you: Sean Ó Riada’s ‘Mise Eire’.
The best gig you’ve ever seen: Baaba Maal in the Grand National Theater in Senegal. It was incredible and went on for hours.
Tell us about your TV viewing: Most of my TV viewing happens in the US as I spend a lot of time in hotels. It’s usually morning breakfast shows and mindless reality shows at night. I think it’s good for your brain to rest while awake so in fact this type of viewing is good for the brain (or so I tell myself).
Radio listening and/or podcasts: If I have to choose it would be music radio. I have a sister in my band that chats and chats and chats on wide-ranging topics so that’s enough talk radio for me. When I’m home I listen to Ocean FM and RTÉ Radio 1. When out on tour I like to flick through the radio channels in the van to find something I like.
Your best celebrity encounter: Marty Whelan. I didn’t get to meet him until earlier this year and he was as great as I expected.
You can portal back to any period of human cultural history?
I would really have loved to tag along with Seamus Ennis on his journeys (1942 - 47) collecting music and song for the Irish Folklore Commission. Not only was an extremely vital job being done but some of the house parties must have been incredible fun.
Curating your dream festival — which artists are on the bill?
Dolly Parton, The Dubliners, and Bing Crosby.
Do you have any particularly interesting ancestors or family?
We had a great great great great grand uncle that wrote some books under the name of Paul Peppergrass. It was said that he was a friend of Dickens and they corresponded quite a bit. I’m a big fan of Dickens.
Unsung heroes: People that work and volunteer in homeless shelters/food kitchens. I recently went to a food kitchen in a poor area outside NYC to donate some non-perishable food items and I was really affected by the bleakness of the building and the working conditions. The volunteers were so jolly and upbeat, cooking with equipment that was really old in a dilapidated building, looking after in every way they can the never ending stream of people coming to their door. They are walking saints.
You are queen of the music world for a day — what’s your first decree?
That Spotify and all the other music streaming services would disappear.