Screaming Orphans blend Irish, pop sounds

Four Diver sisters make up the group that plays Proctors Saturday afternoon
The Screaming Orphans
The Screaming Orphans

Sisters sometimes have a way of communicating that defies logic; just ask the members of the Screaming Orphans.

“At this stage, we’ve got so used to playing together that we’re nearly telepathic. We nearly know what the other one’s thinking,” Gráinne Diver said. 

She’s one of the four Diver sisters that make up the Screaming Orphans. Gráinne has been performing with her sisters–Joan, Angela and Marie Thérèse–since they were kids, growing up in Bundoran, Ireland. 

“It was inevitable that we ended up playing together because our mother was a singer with her two brothers. So when we were small there was always music in the house,” Gráinne said. 

They took lessons, learning piano, violin and other instruments, but it was really just a part of their entire lives. They were known as the Diver Sisters when they were 

kids, but they took on the name “Screaming Orphans” when they were teens. 

Though their band name is a bit of a misnomer when it comes to their sound, the Diver sisters say the name suits them just fine. 

“It sticks in your head,” Gráinne said.

It also marked a musical departure for them. While they were raised playing traditional Irish music, they always loved listening to pop, and started to blend pop music with their classical Celtic sound. 

It’s a blend they’ve perfected on their soon-to-be-released album “Life in a Carnival.” 

“A lot of times, when you’re younger, you’re always wanting to be somebody. I suppose that’s a learning experience because you’re always trying to be like certain bands. But I think as you keep playing and as the years go by you start accepting yourself and your own sound. I think in the last couple of years, we’ve really started to do that. We just play our own way,” Gráinne said.

With songs like “Ordinary Woman,” it’s clear that they’ve really grown into their sound. Vocally it’s got more of a pop sound, but there’s an Irish tune faintly looped throughout it.

“I think now we play our traditional music in a pop way,” Gráinne said, “It’s more cohesive.” 

“Raise Up Your Glass,” another song on the album, is upbeat with Irish fiddle that’s made for dancing and lyrics meant to toast to. 

“We wrote that particularly as a festival song,” Gráinne said. Although the Diver sisters were discouraged by industry professionals from putting the song on their album, Gráinne said the sisters pushed for it because the Irish festivals are such a big part of their lives. 

Although they all live in Ireland, they travel to the United States several times a year, for tours, music festivals and sometimes film festivals. 

“We’re strong enough now and we’ve been in music so long that we don’t [put] what we think the industry wants to hear on the album. We’re going to put out what we do,” Gráinne said.  

The sisters consider themselves ordinary people, Gráinne said, and by referring to themselves as ordinary, they hope to lessen that distance between audience and performer.

“I don’t believe we’ve done anything extraordinary. We were brought up in a musical household, we’re musicians, that’s what we do. That’s ordinary to us. Sometimes, in this day and age, you’re expected to excel and excel and it’s very difficult to look every day and see images of people who seem to be doing so much better than you and are so much prettier than you,” Gráinne said. 

The song “Ordinary Woman” plays off of that notion. The Diver sisters don’t try to be trendy or cool, Gráinne said. But they do try to be ordinary role models. 

“It’s hard being a female band and keeping going. We’ve never let anything get in our way,” Gráinne said. 

They’ll be performing at Proctors on Saturday, in celebration of their new album and, of course, St. Patrick’s Day. The show starts at 2 p.m. with Celtic dancers, followed by a bagpipe troupe. The Screaming Orphans will go on around 3 p.m. and will play another set around 4:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults and $5 for kids ages 17 and under. For more info visit

Screaming Orphans

When: Saturday, March 16 — 2 p.m. (dancers), 3 p.m. (Screaming Orphans), 4:30 p.m. (Screaming Orphans 2nd set)
Where: Proctors
How much: $25 adults, $5 for 17 and under
More info:

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