Celtic Colours Vol. 7 - 2003  

Compilation featuring Lunasa, Brenda Stubbert, Mary Jane Lamond, The McDades, The Kane Sisters,Mac Morin,John Doyle, John Campbell, Flook, David Greenberg & Ferrintosh, Donnie Murdo MacLeod, Bohola, Wendy MacIsaac, Christine Balfa & Dirk Powell, Mairi MacInnis, Natalie MacMaster

Tune and musician listing.

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1. Lúnasa

Cregg's Pipes (Traditional)
Uist Reel (Traditional)
John Doherty's (Traditional)

Cillian Vallely: Uilleann pipes
Kevin Crawford: Irish flute
Seán Smyth: Fiddle
Trevor Hutchinson: Double bass
Donogh Hennessy: Guitars

From the album: Redwood

Courtesy of Green Linnet Records, Inc.
(GLCD 1224) © 1999 Green Linnet
Records, Inc. www.greenlinnet.com
Redwood was produced by Lúnasa
Recorded 2002, Cotati, California
Address: Lúnasa, c/o SGO Music
Management Ltd., P.O. Box 34994,
London, England SW6 6WF

The 1970s Irish group The Bothy Band featured a front line of flute, fiddle, and Irish pipes (Uilleann pipes) and was often considered the most important Celtic band of the rock era before they disbanded in 1979. The Bothy Band's music entered the realm of legends, redefining modern ensemble sound. In 1996, Lúnasa was formed with a similar configuration of flute, fiddle, and Irish pipes. Additionally, propelled by a rhythm section of only acoustic bass and guitar, this band set out to put their own stamp on ensemble sound, using jazz-rock bass lines and dynamic interplay. Although early reviews compared them to The Bothy Band, Lúnasa has far surpassed these comparisons, and they continue to refine their multi-layered sound. As they release their new album Redwood, Lúnasa is entering into the realm of legends themselves, continuing to come up with arrangements that sound fresh and spontaneous. They push the boundaries of Irish instrumental music into jazz and beyond, yet they maintain a gripping sense of tradition. Redwood, the band's fourth, is a live studio album.


2. Bachué

Eilidh Shaw's Trip To Germany
The Balnain Reel (Ian Lowthian / Corrina Hewat)

Corrina Hewat: Electroharp
David Milligan: Piano
Donald Hay: Drums

Previously unreleased
Courtesy of Bachué

Produced by David Milligan
Recorded Sept. 2003, Edinburgh


The Celtic Connections Festival held each year in Glasgow, Scotland, has been an important cog in the wheels of the world of Celtic music. The festival features Celtic music from throughout the traditions, and through commissioned works, the festival also nurtures new music, innovation, and unique performances. The 1995 Celtic Connections Festival saw the first performance of the Scottish group Bachué and the duo of Corrina Hewat (harp) and David Milligan (piano) succeeded in blending styles and idioms to widespread acclaim. Both Corrina and David are composers/arrangers, and both share a contemporary attitude towards traditional music. Throughout their careers, they have been involved in numerous innovative projects and commissioned works. Their most recent project, entitled The Unusual Suspects, was hosted by the Celtic Connections Festival and is a 31-piece folk orchestra put together and directed by David & Corrina. Having recorded and toured with various line-ups over the years, Bachué is now established as a trio with the addition of Edinburgh drummer Donald Hay. The band's new sound is featured on their upcoming third album, which is to be released in early 2004.


3. Brenda Stubbert

The Barra's Irish Reels

Never Was Piping So Gay (Ed Reavy)
Charlie Mullvihill's (Charlie Mulvihill)
The Skylark (James Morrison)

Brenda Stubbert: Fiddle
Stephanie Wills: Piano
Stewart MacNeil: Irish flute

From the album: Music All Around
Courtesy of Cranford Publications

Produced by Paul Cranford
Recorded 2002, St. Ann's, Cape Breton

Brenda Stubbert grew up in Point Aconi, an area of Cape Breton encompassed by the "Northside Irish" style of music, a style that is actually a mixture of Irish.and Scottish music. Her father, Robert Stubbert, along with legendary fiddlers Johnny Wilmot and Joe Confiant, are among the foremost purveyors of this style. Brenda learned by ear directly from these masters. What is unique about this style is the swing &endash; Irish music with a Cape Breton swing. Also unique about this style is that although far removed from America's Irish communities, the Northside style still absorbed the evolving repertoire of the Irish-American. Three classic reels from Irish-American composers of the last century are on this track. Ed Reavy was a prolific and influential fiddler &endash; a composer and teacher in Philadelphia. Charlie Mullvihill played button accordion and lived in New York. Fiddler James Morrison, also known as "The Professor," was one of the very prolific Irish-American recording artists of the 1920s. He, along with Michael Coleman, set many standards for Irish music. Stewart MacNeil, a member of the Barra MacNeils, joins Brenda on this track.


4. Mary Jane Lamond

Am Bràighe (Calum Mac 'Illios)

Mary Jane Lamond: Gaelic vocals
Tracey Dares-MacNeil: Piano
Gordie Sampson: Guitar

From the album:
Gaelic Songs of Cape Breton
Courtesy of Turtlemusik

Produced by Mary Jane Lamond
Recorded 2000
Point Aconi, Cape Breton

In 1892, the Gaelic newspaper Mac-Talla was first published in Sydney, giving a voice to the Gaels of eastern Nova Scotia and the world. The Scottish Highlanders, with a rich tradition of Scottish Gaelic writing, had emigrated to eastern Nova Scotia and Cape Breton. The repertoire of the bards included stories, poetry, descriptive songs, and bitter satire. The Gaelic literary tradition remained strong in the new world, expressing the new life of the immigrants &endash; the hardships, the disappointments, and the beauty of the land. Cape Breton bard Malcolm Gillis (1856-1929) composed this song in praise of the Margaree Valley, his home. Am Bràighe translated means "higher ground" or brae and is also the name of a new Gaelic journal founded in Mabou in 1993. Mary Jane Lamond's latest album includes numerous Cape Breton- composed selections from the islands' various Gaelic districts. Through her recordings and her international performances, Mary Jane has brought an ancient language to a modern world.


5. The McDades

Valley of a Thousand Tears (Shannon Johnson)
Hotel de Ville (Jeremiah McDade)

Shannon Johnson: Fiddle
Jeremiah McDade: Whistles
Solon McDade: Bass
Dave Merriman: Guitar

From the album: For Reel
Courtesy of Free Radio Records
Produced by Shannon Johnson

Recorded 2002, Edmonton, Alberta

Cape Breton is considered a cradle of Celtic culture, but folk traditions also remain strong throughout the rest of Canada. Expo '67, the Cultural Olympics '76, Expo '86, Mariposa, and Canada's western folk festivals all played important roles in nurturing these folk traditions. The festivals gave many young Canadian musicians a chance to travel and be around older players. Terry and Daniel McDade, the parents of Jeremiah, Solon and Shannon, founded the Edmonton-based group and have been touring Canadian festivals for more than 20 years. The repertoire of The McDades includes Scottish, Irish, Métis, Quebecois, and Cape Breton music &endash; a Canadian melting pot. Members of the family pursued jazz studies at McGill University, and throughout their arrangements, this influence is strong, with the inclusion of instruments, such as the soprano saxophone. Elements of world music also complement the ensemble sound, and composition is at the heart of the McDades' repertoire.


6. The Kane Sisters

Paddy Fahey's (Paddy Fahey)
Mullingar Lea
Paddy Fahey's (Paddy Fahey)

Liz Kane: Fiddle
Yvonne Kane: Fiddle
John Blake: Guitar

From the album:
The Well Tempered Bow

Courtesy of Dawros Music
Produced by Liz and Yvonne Kane
Recorded 2001, Longford, Ireland

A unique Irish regional style is known as the "East Galway" style, noted for a relaxed pace and a wistful sound. Fiddlers from this district of western Ireland include Paddy Kelly and Connor Tully. Perhaps the most well known exponent of the East Galway style is the fiddler and composer Paddy Fahey. A rural farmer by profession, Paddy has never recorded an album and rarely performs solo. Yet today, his compositions are part of the Irish session repertoire around the world, even though he has never given his tunes formal names. In 2001, Paddy was honored during the Irish Television Traditional Music Awards. He received the "Composer of the Year" award and was joined in a performance by two young fiddlers, Liz and Yvonne Kane, from Letterfrack, a village in Connemara, western Ireland. Although Liz and Yvonne are generations apart from Fahey, they have come to be known as the finest interpreters of Fahey's style and his compositions. The Well Tempered Bow is the Kane Sister's first album, and it features several of Fahey's tunes. Liz and Yvonne have also recorded with Sharon Shannon and Steve Earle.


7. Mac Morin

J.O. Forbes, Esq. of corse (Peter Milne)

Mac Morin: Piano
Gordie Sampson: Guitar, percussion
Steve O'Connor: Organ, accordion
John Dymond: Bass
Al Cross: Drums

From the album: Mac Morin

Courtesy of Mac Morin
Produced by Mac Morin
Recorded 2003, Pt. Aconi, Cape Breton

Introduced at the turn of the last century, the upright piano replaced the pump organ as the main accompaniment instrument for Cape Breton music. In a few short years, Cape Breton accompanists developed personal backing styles, most becoming soloists, adapting fiddle tunes to the piano. Today, there are numerous piano players, and many fiddlers play both instruments. A recent album by Buddy MacMaster, The Judique Flyer has twelve different piano accompanists, all with completely individual styles. Included on Buddy's album was Mac Morin, a young piano player from Troy, Cape Breton. Also a step-dancer, Mac learned to play during an exciting time in Cape Breton, as Natalie MacMaster, Ashley MacIsaac, and Wendy MacIsaac were all members of Mac's local community. Eventually, Mac joined Natalie's band, with whom he toured for two years. Today, he is a busy accompanist, also performing in Beòlach. On this track, Mac is joined by members of Natalie MacMaster's band.


8. John Doyle

Rounding the Horn (Traditional) - (Arranged by John Doyle)

John Doyle: Guitar and vocals

Previously unreleased
Courtesy of Compass Records
Produced by John Doyle
and Stephen Heller

Recorded with Upstream Productions,
September 2003, Asheville, NC

During the 1920s, New York City became one of the cradles of Irish culture in America. In communities such as the Bronx, Irish music flourished, with players such as Michael Coleman and James Morrison being among the first "Irish" recording artists. Irish music survived the depression in New York, and eventually, the traditions were handed down in the city, as they were in the old country. The city would continue to attract Irish musicians, and when Irish guitar player John Doyle moved to New York in the early nineties, he found a thriving Irish music community that included other young players, such as Seamus Egan and Eileen Ivers. From an extended musical family, John already had a group called Chanting House that included Susan McKeown. Seamus and Eileen joined this group in NYC, and this union led to a series of collaborations that resulted in the formation of Solas, one of the most popular Irish groups today. John has since left the group and now makes his home in Asheville, North Carolina, where his highly distinctive guitar style is a welcome sound in the "old-time" music community. John recorded this track specifically for this Celtic Colours Festival compilation.


9. John Campbell & Doug MacPhee

Reels in E

Johnny Wilmot's Fiddles (Elmer Briand)
Sweet Molly (Traditional)
The Glenora (John Campbell)

John Campbell: Fiddle
Doug MacPhee: Piano
Edmond Boudreau: Guitar
Four on the floor: Stepdancing: Pamela Campbell, Dawn MacDonald,
Meghan MacDonald, Christine Morrison


From the album: Timeless

Courtesy of John Campbell
Produced by John Campbell
Recorded 1999, Sommerville, MA

Throughout the last century, the city of Boston would be a destination for Cape Breton immigrants. Here, they would converge in Roxbury, at Dudley Street, the home of the great dance halls, including the Rose Croix Hall and Joe McPherson's Greenville Cafe. By the late 1950s, the Dudley Street dance halls were closed, but Cape Breton music remained strong through the efforts of numerous fiddlers, including Bill Lamey and John Campbell. Today, the Cape Breton dances are held at the Canadian-American club in Watham, a town twenty minutes west of downtown Boston. John is a native of Glenora Falls, Cape Breton. For many years, he has performed at dances and concerts throughout the Boston area. John's father was Dan J. Campbell, one of Cape Breton's recording pioneers. John is also known for his most famous composition, Sandy MacIntyre's Trip to Boston. On this track, Doug MacPhee accompanies John on piano. One of the living legends of Cape Breton music, Doug recorded an album with David Greenberg in 2000, Tunes Until Dawn. Doug recently recorded with Donald MacLellan on his album The Dusky Meadow, and last year, he released a compilation of his Cape Breton piano solos.


10. Flook

The Beehive (Sarah Allen)
Poon Hill (Brian Finnegan, Flook Publishing)
Vladimir's Steamboat (Jay Ungar, Swinging Door Music, BMI)

Brian Finnegan: Whistle
Sarah Allen: Alto Flute
John Joe Kelly: Bodhrán
Ed Boyd: Guitar
Seckou Keita: Hi-hats & shaker

From the album: Rubai
Courtesy of World Village Records

Produced by Flook and Mark Tucke
Recorded 2002, Devon, England

Throughout the history of Celtic music, ensembles, such as some of Neil Gow's ensembles of the "Golden Age" of Scotland, were rare. For many years, Celtic music remained essentially a solo aesthetic, often played for dancers. In the last century, Ceilidh bands emerged in Ireland and in the industrial cities of England, again playing for dancers. It was not until the late 1950s that The Chieftains formed one of the first ensembles to perform instrumental music for the concert hall. By the 1970s and 80s, there were numerous groups playing in Ireland, Scotland, and England &endash; The Bothy Band and Moving Hearts being among the most influential. Flook was formed in England in November 1995, when Brian Finnegan, Sarah Allen, and Michael McGoldrick got together for a tour, entitling the band Three Nations Flutes. They soon added Ed Boyd on guitar and changed their name to Fluke, later Flook. When Michael McGoldrick left the band, bodhrán player John Joe Kelly replaced him. Flute, alto flute, whistle, and low whistle mark the sound of this band that often evokes memories of Moving Hearts. Flook has been and is at the forefront of a new tradition of bands that is now emerging, a tradition of innovation and adaptation.


11. Ferrintosh

Captain Simon Fraser of the Highlands

The Glen of Copsewood
The Highlands of Banffshire
The Merry Making (Traditonal, Arranged by David Greenberg, SOCAN)

David Greenberg: Fiddle
Abby Newton: Cello
Kim Robertson: Celtic Harp

From the album: Ferrintosh
Courtesy of Ferintosh

Produced by David Greenberg, Abby Newton, and Kim Robertson
Recorded 2003, West Shokan, New York

The "Golden Age" of fiddle music in Scotland is often a common reference to the days of Niel Gow, Simon Fraser, and the great Scottish "traditional" composers and collectors of the 1700s. There is, however, an aspect of the repertoire from this period that is often overlooked. Near the end of the Baroque period, Scottish Art-Music and folk music traditions borrowed from each other in style and in repertoire to create a type of fusion. An example was dancing master and cello player James Oswald, who composed and arranged numerous airs, sonatas, and minuets. The tunes in this medley are all taken from Simon Fraser's collection, The Airs and melodies Peculiar to The Highlands of Scotland and the Isles (1815), and have been adapted for this new trio. In recent years, Baroque violinist and Cape Breton fiddler David Greenberg founded the group Puirt a Baroque, and this group has performed both Scottish Art-Music and the traditional music of Cape Breton. The trio Ferintosh also delves into this rich repertoire, recreating the sound of the Golden Age by using cello and harp as accompaniment.


12. Donnie Murdo MacLeod

O's toil 's gu rò thoil leam (Traditional)

Donnie Murdo MacLeod: Gaelic vocals
Allan MacDonald: Vocals, small-pipes

From the album: Squab is Dòlth
Courtesy of Macmeanmna
Recorded 2000, Portree, Isle of Skye
Produced by Mary Ann Kennedy

Scotland's Outer Hebridean Islands include Harris, North Uist, South Uist, Benbecula, and Lewis. Lying off the northwest coast of Scotland, the islands are home to the North Atlantic's most rugged and barren landscape. It is also home to some of the world's most ancient historical sites, dating back to Neolithic times. Irish monks built monasteries on these islands as early as 300 A.D. Gaelic culture would live for centuries here, even though "The Great Clearances" would send many emigrants to Cape Breton. Gaelic culture and music still thrive throughout the islands. A recent census noted that seventy percent of islanders spoke Gaelic. Lewis, the largest of the islands, has produced numerous Gaelic singers, including Margaret Stewart, Mary Smith, and Donnie Murdo MacLeod. Donnie is a recipient of numerous awards for Gaelic singing, including a gold medal in 1996 and an award for Gaelic Psalm precenting. "Precenting" is a rare tradition that continued on Cape Breton's North Shore communities until the 1970s.


13. Bohola

Redican's (Traditional)
The Merry Old Woman (Traditional)
The Chapel Bell (Frank McCallum)
(Arranged by bohola, bohola music BMI)

Jimmy Keane: Accordion
Sean Cleland: Fiddle
Pat Broaders: Dordan

From the album: Bohola
Courtesy of Bohola Music, LLC
Produced by Jimmy Keane
Recorded 2001, Chicago

The Chicago-based group bohola takes their name from an old jig named after a small town in County Mayo, Ireland. Old Irish melodies stood the test of time in Chicago, which has always been a crossroads for Irish musicians and their music. Jimmy Neary, a Mayo fiddle player, brought "The Bohola Jig" with him when he emigrated to Chicago in the 1920s. Many years later, it was found to be a common tune throughout the repertoire in Chicago and a common tune when these three musicians (Jimmy, Sean, and Pat) formed their band, they named it "bohola." The shared vernacular lies at the heart of expression for this group. Drawing on a rich Irish and Irish-American repertoire, bohola often performs extended melodies and near hour-long, non-stop sets of entwined tunes and songs. Throughout their dynamic arrangements, bohola features daring improvisations and imaginative interplay, blending the configuration of accordion, fiddle, and dordan into one cohesive sound. Since the release of this recording, the group has gone on to release a self titled album on the Shanachie Records label. A new bohola recording on the Shanachie label is due out in 2004.


14. Wendy MacIsaac

Stephanie & Jackie

Clach Na Cuddin (Traditional)
The Fir Tree (Traditional)
Angus Allan & Dan J's (Traditional)
Sow's Tail (Traditional)
The Lasses of Stewarton (Traditional)
Donald MacGugan's Rant (Traditional)
Brookside (Dan R. MacDonald, SOCAN)
Ann MacQuarrie (Donald A. Beaton, SOCAN)

Wendy MacIsaac: Fiddle
Jackie Dunn MacIsaac: Fiddle
Stephanie Wills: Fiddle
Howie MacDonald: Piano
Gordie Sampson: Guitar Fiddle

From the album: Timeline
Courtesy of Wendy MacIsaac
Produced by Wendy MacIsaac
Recorded 2003, Pt. Aconi, Cape Breton

During the late 70s and early 80s, there were numerous young people learning to play the fiddle in Cape Breton. One person who played an important role in the inspiration of the next generation of Cape Breton musicians was fiddler and teacher Stan Chapman. Stan was successful in adapting traditional teaching methods to the classroom. His weekly students included Ashley MacIsaac, Natalie MacMaster, and Wendy MacIsaac, young Cape Breton fiddlers who have made their stamp in a new age. Wendy MacIsaac grew up in Creignish, Cape Breton. Noted for her old-style sound, Wendy began her lessons with Chapman at the age of twelve. Today, Wendy is a busy dance fiddler and has also toured with Ashley MacIsaac and Mary Jane Lamond. She is also a founding member of the band Beòlach. On this track, Wendy is joined by old friends and former students of Stan Chapman &endash; Jackie Dunn and Stephanie Wills. They play a classic set of traditional Cape Breton tunes, along with two reels from Cape Breton's foremost composers.


15. Christine Balfa & Dirk Powell

Bayou Teche Special (Traditional)

Christine Balfa: Guitar, vocals
Dirk Powell: Accordion, vocals
Kevin Wimmer: Fiddle
Mitchell Reed: Bass

From the album: La Pointe
Courtesy of Rounder Records
Produced by Peter Schwarz
Recorded 1997, La Pointe, Louisiana

The descendants of the Cajuns, or the Acadians of Louisiana, were actually early French (western France) settlers of Canada's eastern regions more than four hundred years ago. Throughout a 150-year period of political turmoil, the Acadians would lose the rights to these regions. Finally, in 1755, Acadians were expelled through large deportations. Louisiana, a Spanish territory at the time, welcomed the Acadians to a new homeland and a world of cultural convergence. In Louisiana, the music of the Acadians would thrive and evolve into what is known today as Cajun music. Like most of America's indigenous music, Cajun music had gone into a state of decline by the 1950s. Fiddler Dewey Balfa, along with his brothers, is credited with giving new life to this music through his riveting performances at festivals throughout the 1960s. Today, Balfa Toujours carries on this tradition, led by Dewey's daughter Christine Balfa, along with fiddler and accordion player Dirk Powell. As a dance band, Balfa Toujours pays cultural tribute to Acadian routes and to the mosaic that is Cajun music.


16. Mairi MacInnes

Is Gaidheal Mi (This Feeling Inside)
(Words by S. Evans / Music by M. MacInnes, MCPS & PRS)

Mairi MacInnes: Vocals, with The Glasgow Gaelic Choir

From the album:
Gaelic Women (Ar Canan 'S Ar Ceol)
(CDTRAX 172)

Courtesy of Greentrax Records Ltd.
Produced by Malcolm Jones
Recorded 1999, Glasgow, Scotland
© 1999 Greentrax Recordings Ltd.

Gaelic song and poetry represent one of the oldest and strongest traditions in Scotland. The album Gaelic Women or Ar Canan 'S Ar Ceol marks a milestone in the history of this tradition. This collective demonstrates the richness of the present-day tradition in Scotland, focusing on women's roles in the creation of Gaelic repertoire. Mairi MacInnes, who is one of the "artists in residence" at this year's Celtic Colours Festival, recorded two selections for the Gaelic Women album, selections produced by Malcolm Jones of Run Rig. Mairi is from Baghasdail A'tuath, a small township on the island of South Uist, in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. South Uist is the ancestral home to numerous families living in the central part of Cape Breton, and to this day, the two areas have shared song and piping traditions. This Feeling Inside is also the title track of Mairi's 1995 album for Greentrax Records, co-written by Mairi's husband Steve Evans and translated into Gaelic by Norman MacLean. Mairi's latest albums for Greentrax Records include Orosay and Tickettyboo (Songs for Children)


17. Natalie MacMaster

Jig Party

Traditional Jig (traditional)
The Butler of Glen Avenue (Tony Sullivan)
Tee Tie Tum Tittle Tee (N. MacMaster & M. MacIsaac, SOCAN)
Annette's Chatter (Bruce Gandy, SOCAN)

Natalie MacMaster: Fiddle
Tracey Dares: Piano
Brad Davitch: Guitar
Matt MacIsaac: Whistle, bagpipes

From the album: Blueprint
|Courtesy of Rounder Records and BMG Canada
Produced by Darol Anger and Natalie MacMaster
© 2003 MacMaster Music Inc.
Recorded 2002, Nashville

In 1986, a young Natalie MacMaster traveled to Expo '86 in Vancouver to perform alongside Donald MacLellan, Mary Jessie MacDonald, Alex Francis MacKay, and other legends of Cape Breton music. At this time, no one could have predicted the career that was ahead for Natalie. Cape Breton music was still considered by many to be in a state of decline, and most musicians pursued other occupations. As a college student, Natalie herself pursued a career as a schoolteacher, completing her studies while at the same time, nurturing a career as a performing artist. As the early 1990s gave birth to a new era of national and international awareness of Cape Breton music, Natalie made the transition from the dance hall to the festival stage and to the concert halls of the world. Throughout this transition, her music evolved, and Natalie would absorb new repertoire and stylistic influences from her world travels. Her latest album, Blueprint, is a production collaboration Natalie shares with Darol Anger, a fiddler and producer known for his involvement in the New American String-Band Movement.

Also Available

Vol. 10 2 CD set
Live at Celtic Colours - $25.00
compiled from recordings made on festival stages from 1997-2005

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