Celtic Colours Vol. 8 - 2004 

Compilation featuring Dochas, Haugaard & Hoirup, Raylene Rankin, The Barra MacNeils, Christine Primrose & Brian Ó hEadra, Pipeline, Gordie Sampson, Harem Scarem, Troy MacGillivray, Joe & J.P. Cormier, Le Vent du Nord, Andrea Beaton, Rita MacNeil, Bruce Molsky, Jeff MacDonald, Crasdant, Dougie MacLean, Beòlach

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Neilidh O'Boyle's Highland (Traditional)
Duloman na Binnt Bui (Traditional)
Sean 'sa Cheò (Traditional)

Kathleen Boyle: Accordion, guitar
Carol-Anne MacKay: Bagpipes, accordion
Julie M. Fowlis: Whistle
Jenna Reid: Fiddle, piano
Eilidh MacLeod: Harp
Martin O'Neill: Bodhran

From the album: DÒCHAS
Produced by Iain MacDonald

Courtesy of Macmeanmna
Recorded 2002, Ardgour, Scotland

The County of Donegal, in the north part of Ireland, has a unique regional repertoire, one that betrays age-old connections with the repertoire of the Scottish Highlands. The two regions once shared a single language and culture. Throughout the centuries, traditional music traveled along the fishing and trade routes used by both regions. Eventually, a pattern of seasonal migration from Donegal to Scotland developed, which continued well into the last century. Through these ways, "Highlands" (strathspeys) and the music of James Scott Skinner entered the Donegal tradition. Similarly, Irish reels enjoyed popularity in the fiddle and pipe traditions throughout Scotland. On this selection, Dòchas, a group of young musicians from the Highlands and islands of Scotland, plays three Irish reels. The set is named after Donegal's great fiddler Neilidh O'Boyle (grandfather of accordion player Kathleen Boyle), who was one of Ireland's early recording artists.



Lambs in Spring (John Morris Rankin)

Raylene Rankin: Vocals
Michael Francis: Guitars
Mac Morin: Piano
Mairi Rankin: Fiddle
Ray Parker: Keyboards
Brian Barlow: Drums, percussion
Scott Alexander: Upright bass


From the album: LAMBS IN SPRING
Courtesy of Lazy Eye Music
Produced by Chad Irschick
Recorded 2004, Toronto, Ontario


"The Rankins" became a household name in Cape Breton in the late 1980s and eventually legendary in the world of Celtic music when the band released the self-titled album THE RANKIN FAMILY. Working with Toronto-based producer Chad Irschick, the Rankins forged a tight ensemble sound, highlighting the shifting harmonies of Jimmy, Cookie, Heather, and Raylene Rankin and the old-time fiddle sounds of John Morris Rankin and Howie MacDonald. They went on to sell more than two million records and tour the world as a band for a decade. During her career with the Rankins, Raylene's distinguished, crystal-clear sound on renditions of Gaelic and English songs became a trademark of the band. For LAMBS IN SPRING, Raylene's first solo album since leaving the band in 1998, Raylene returns to work with producer Chad Irschick and, on this selection, Beòlach's Mairi Rankin and Mac Morin.




Middag i Haven (Haugaard & Høirup)
Hans Rasmussens Vals (Traditional)

Harald Haugaard: Fiddle
Morten Alfred Høirup: Guitar

From the album: OM SOMMEREN

Courtesy of Haugaard & Høirup
Produced by Haugaard & Høirup
Recorded 2003, Denmark

The islands of Denmark seem far removed from the island of Cape Breton, and yet, similarities between the music traditions of each culture are compelling enough. Often, Danish reels or hopsas contain fragments of melody, which sound as though they could be derived from Scottish or Irish sources. Numerous jigs from the Danish repertoire could easily fit right in at a Cape Breton dance, such as Glencoe. Examples of these jigs can be found in Danish collections dating back to the 18th century, though musical exchange between Scots and Danes likely predates even this period. A new society in Denmark is the DANISH-CAPE BRETON SOCIETY (www.danish-capebreton.dk), formed last year for the purpose of further developing cultural and social relations. Haugaard & Høirup is an award-winning duo that performs Denmark's age-old music, as well as their own compositions. Known for extended melodic adventures and intricate harmonies, this duo performs with unspeakable grace.




Back of the Change House (Traditional, arranged by Sheumas, Kyle, Stewart, Lucy MacNeil)
MichaelA. MacLean (Dan R. MacDonald)
Snowplow Reel (Dan Hughie MacEachern)
Johnny & Angie MacDonald (Stewart MacNeil)
Hanley's Tweed (Paddy O'Brien)


Kyle MacNeil: Fiddle
Lucy MacNeil: Fiddle
Sheumas MacNeil: Piano
Stewart MacNeil: Accordion, whistle
Jamie Gatti: Bass
Mathew Foulds: Drums, percussion


Courtesy of The Barra MacNeils
Produced by Declan O'Doherty
Recorded 1999, Irish Cove, Cape Breton

The Cape Breton family band The Barra MacNeils gained popularity during the early 1980s by performing at Cape Breton's festivals and concerts. This year, they celebrate more than two decades as a touring group and several albums since the 1986 release of THE BARRA MACNEILS on LP. With roots in the Washabuck- Iona Scottish traditions, the Barras grew up in Sydney Mines, in close proximity to Gannon Road and Point Aconi, known then for its fierce pockets of Irish music. In this community, fiddler Robert Stubbert is an important influence. Throughout the career of the band, as in this selection, the Barra MacNeils borrow generously from each tradition. On this selection, compositions by Cape Breton legends Dan R. MacDonald and Dan Hughie MacEachern are featured alongside Hanley Tweed. This reel is one of a handful of reels by Irish fiddler and composer Paddy O'Brien that floats around Cape Breton.



An Till Mi Tuilleadh a Leòdhas (Uilleam MacCoinnich, 1857-1902)
(Arranged by Christine Primrose)

Christine Primrose: Gaelic Vocals
Brian Ó hEadhra: Backing Vocals
Fiona MacKenzie: Backing Vocals

From the album: AN TURAS
Courtesy of Anam Music
Produced by Brian Ó hEadhra

Recorded 2003, Sleat, Isle of Skye
and Lional, Isle of Lewis, Scotland

Gaelic songs composed by the bards of the new world are often in the form of descriptive verse praising the old country and its virtues. An Till Mi Tuilleadh a Leòdhas ("Will I ever return to Lewis?") was composed in Fort William, Ontario, a considerably remote community far removed from the Isle of Lewis, the author's homeland. In this song, Uilleam MacCoinnich (William MacKenzie) praises the hillock Cnoc Chùsbaig, close by the old family croft. This song can be found in CNOC CHÙSBAIG (1936), a collection of his prose and verse. Native Gaelic speaker and singer Christine Primrose, also from the Isle of Lewis, brought Gaelic singing to a new audience while singing at the folk clubs in Glasgow during the 1970s. Christine is joined by Brian Ó hEadhra, an Irish Gaelic speaker and a producer of Gaelic music. Throughout the album AN TURAS, two Gaelic traditions are presented side by side in profound and simple beauty.



The Trip to Skye (John Whelan)
The Maid on the Green (Traditional)
The Plains of Canada (Dermot Hyde)

ermot Hyde: Uilleann pipes, whistles
Tom Hake: Harp, bouzouki, guitar
Paddy Kerr: Bodhrán

From the album: PIPELINE
Courtesy of Rel Records
c/o relrecords@aol.com
Produced by Antonio Martinez
Recorded 2001, Munich, Germany


There are countless duos in the world of Celtic music, but the duo Pipeline almost defies the term. Piper and vocalist Dermot Hyde and guitarist Tom Hake are both serious multi- nstrumentalists. Pipeline seamlessly unites the music of Ireland, Scotland, Galicia, and Brittany in their extended repertoire. Not surprisingly, both musicians have a background in theater music and eventually met while involved in a theater project. Dermot Hyde, originally from Ireland, is a virtuoso on Irish pipes. A prolific composer, Dermot is equally at home with slow, haunting airs as he is with his dazzling improvisations on traditional melodies. Tom Hake brings a kaleidoscope of string accompaniment to Pipeline's live sets, which feature extended, uninterrupted arrangements and the constant shifting of textures and sounds through the use of pipes, whistles, guitar, harp, vocals, and bouzouki.



Arthur Muise (Jerry Holland)
Calipoe House (Dave Richardson)
Mamma Sampy (Gordie Sampson)

Gordie Sampson: Guitars

Previously unreleased
Courtesy of turtlemusik
Produced by Gordie Sampson
Recorded 2004, Point Aconi, Cape Breton


Multi-talented Gordie Sampson from Cape Breton has recorded three jigs especially for this compilation. Jerry Holland composed the first jig for Cheticamp fiddler Arthur Muise. Jerry recorded this jig on his 1990 cassette release A SESSION WITH JERRY HOLLAND. The second jig is the most well-known tune from the leader of the Boys of the Lough, Dave Richardson. Dave composed Calliope House for the house of the same name in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the home of the PITTSBURGH FOLK MUSIC SOCIETY. The tune entered the Cape Breton tradition through a Patrick Street recording and has enjoyed a great life on the session circuit for many years now. For the past few years, Gordie has focused on his songwriting skills, spreading his time between Cape Breton and Nashville, Tennessee. He recently released his album SUNBURN, which was recorded in Cape Breton, Toronto, and Nashville.




Margaret Cook's Fancy (Iain Powrie)
The Right Road (Nuala Kennedy)
Dragon's Blood (Otis Tomas)


Sarah McFadyen: Fiddle
Eilidh Shaw: Fiddle
Nuala Kennedy: Irish flute
Ross Martin: Guitar
Inge Thomson: Accordion, silver flute
Kris Drever: Double bass


Courtesy of Vertical Records
Produced by Jonathan Ritch

Recorded 2002, Ardgour, Scotland


Based in Edinburgh, Scotland, the members of Harem Scarem are from Dundalk, Ireland; Fair Isle, Oban, and Arisaig, Scotland; and the Orkney Islands. Their latest album extends even beyond these reaches, including in their repertoire Scandinavian, French, Cape Breton, Balkan, and Asturian tunes, alongside Scottish and Irish. All of the players are part of the vivacious music scene in late-night Edinburgh, now a melting pot for exotic fiddle tunes. Irish flute player Nuala Kennedy visited Cape Breton during last year's Celtic Colours festival, performing with another Edinburgh-based band, Fine Friday. Orkney fiddler Sarah McFaydeyn visited Cape Breton in 1995 and learned numerous tunes from fiddle-maker and composer Otis Tomas. The reel Dragon's Blood, a term related to varnish making, was learned on that visit.




The Dutchess of Edinburgh (Traditional)
Yester House (Traditional)
Dad's Strathaspey (Glen Graham)
Father Francis Cameron (John Campbell)
John McColl's (JS Skinner / PD)


Troy MacGillivray: Piano
Dave MacIsaac: Guitar


From the album: BOOMERANG
Courtesy of Troy MacGillivray

Produced by Troy MacGillivray

Recorded 2004, Toronto, Ontario

Piano player Troy MacGillivray was born in Lanark, Antigonish County, which, like Cape Breton, has always been a cradle of Gaelic culture. In the past, the county dance halls and numerous barn raisings and frolics provided an extended circuit for Cape Breton's traveling musicians. Troy's grandfather, Hughie A. MacDonald, was the county's most outstanding fiddler, and he recorded in Montreal on the legendary 78s produced for the Antigonish Celtic label in the mid-1930s. He was widely known as the "Polka King," as he was a purveyor of a type of tune not as popular in Cape Breton. Troy is also a powerful fiddler and gifted step- ancer. This album, his second solo recording, clearly showcases his virtuosity and his skills in arranging music. The track from Troy's recording selected for CELTIC COLOURS VOLUME VIII is named for Father Francis Cameron, the son of well-known Boisdale Gaelic singer Findlay Cameron. Along with Sandy MacIntyre's Trip to Boston, it is one of John Campbell's most well- nown tunes.



Bonnie Isabelle Robertson (Traditional)
John Howett (Traditional)
Rachel Rae (Traditional)
The Earl of Seafield (Traditional)

Joe Cormier: Fiddle
JP Cormier: Fiddle
Hilda Chiasson: Piano

From the album:

Courtesy of Patio Records
Produced by JP Cormier
Recorded 2000, Cheticamp, Cape Breton

The Cape Breton communities in and around Boston, Massachusetts, have enjoyed an uninterrupted dance tradition since the 1920s. The dance halls of Roxbury featured the Columbia Scotch Band and the Inverness Serenaders. In later years, fiddler Bill Lamey ran the dances at the Rose Croix Hall, and, to this day, fiddler Joe Cormier plays at the dances at the Cape Breton clubs in Waltham, a suburb. Through these dances, Cape Breton music has survived the ever-changing landscapes of urban America. Joe Cormier grew up in the small fishing village of Cheticamp, in the northwest corner of Cape Breton Island. Joe moved to Boston in the late 1950s, where he was immediately embraced by Cape Bretoners and French Canadians living in the suburbs west of Boston. For his long, dedicated career as an urban community fiddler, Joe was eventually awarded a National Folk Heritage Fellowship. This track was selected from a recent duet album with Joe's nephew, JP Cormier. They play four reels, three of which can be found in WINSTON FITZGERALD'S COLLECTION OF FIDDLE TUNES...



Le moine complaisant (Traditional)

Nicolas Boulerice: Hurdy-gurdy, vocals
Benoit Bourque: Accordion, voice
Olivier Demers: Fiddle, feet
Simon Beaudry: Guitar, voice


From the album: MAUDITE MOISSON!
Courtesy of Borealis
Recorded 2003

The Juno Award-winning Canadian group Le Vent du Nord is one of the newest groups to emerge from the Quebecois tradition. Originally founded by pianist and hurdy-gurdy player Nicolas Boulerice and fiddler Olivier Demers, they eventually added Benoit Bourque, formally of the trio Matapat, and guitarist Simon Beaudry. At the heart of their exotic sound is the blending of Old World French sounds with the infectious "joie de vivre" of Quebecois music. This sound is due in part to the use of hurdy-gurdy, an instrument featured in Breton music and embraced by Ad Vielle Que Pourra, a popular Montreal-based band in which Benoit also performed. On this selection, all the elements of the band's sound are included: the call and response vocals, the intricate fiddle, feet (a Quebecois trademark), accordion, and the haunting strains of the hurdy-gurdy.





The Coldsprings Strathspey (Traditional)
Herbie MacLeod's Strathspey (Dan R. MacDonald)
Jamie MacInnis Reel (Kinnon Beaton)
Yetts of Muckart (Traditional)
The Maple Leaf Reel (Kinnon Beaton)

Andrea Beaton: Fiddle
Kinnon Beaton: Fiddle
Joel Chiasson: Piano
Gordie Sampson: Guitar

From the album: CUTS
Courtesy of Andrea Beaton

Produced by Andrea Beaton
Recorded 2003, Point Aconi, Cape Breton

The release of Cuts, the second solo album by Cape Breton fiddler Andrea Beaton, coincides with the release of another Beaton family album. THE BEATON FAMILY OF MABOU is the title of a prestigious release by the Smithsonian Folkways label. It features Andrea, along with Kinnon, Elizabeth, Glenn Graham, Rodney MacDonald, and other members of the extended Beaton family on a comprehensive and fully annotated collection of Mabou coal mines music. Included on this compilation is a vintage selection from Donald Angus Beaton, one of Cape Breton's golden age players. On The High Bass Cut, Andrea is joined by her father Kinnon for a double fiddle medley that harkens back to the days of dusty dance halls and lack of amplification. Throughout Inverness County, two fiddlers would team up at a dance to give the music more power and lift. The effect is further enhanced through the use of high bass tuning (crosstuning), where the fiddles are tuned AEAE, creating a rich, dark sound and a powerful cut.



Moon Was Rising (Rita MacNeil)

Rita MacNeil: Vocals
Kim Dunn: Piano, keyboards
Bruce Dixon: Electric bass
Chris Corrigan: Acoustic, electric guitars
Geoff Arsenault: Drums

From the album: BLUE ROSES
Courtesy of Luprock Entertainment, Inc.

Produced by Chris Corrigan & Kim Dunn
Recorded 2004, Halifax, NS

In 1987, Cape Breton singer and songwriter Rita MacNeil's album, FLYING ON YOUR OWN, reached gold status, and Rita received her first Juno award at the age of 42. This was quite an achievement for the shy singer from the small village of Big Pond, yet it was just the beginning of a new stage in a long career. Rita had actually been involved in the music business since 1971. FLYING ON YOUR OWN propelled Rita into a new realm of creativity and success, and the following years granted Rita awards and achievements far beyond that of a gold status album &endash; the Order of Canada, honorary doctorates, Juno and Country Music awards, and several East Coast Music awards. Today, after numerous world tours and award-winning television specials, Rita is recognized as one of Canada's most compelling singers and songwriters. The success of her music can be found in her lyrics &endash; poetry that speaks from the heart, encourages dreams, and transforms personal experience into universal themes.



Wake Up Susan (Ed Haley)
Durang's Hornpipe (Traditional)

Bruce Molsky: Fiddle
Mick Moloney: Tenor banjo
Audrey Molsky: Guitar\

From the album: CONTENTED MUST BE
Courtesy of Rounder Records
Produced by Bruce Molsky

Recorded 2004, Clarksburg, Maryland

When the song-catchers captured old fiddle tunes in the South and eventually throughout America, little would they ever know how far those tunes traveled or would travel. On this selection, Bruce is joined by Mick Moloney on the tenor banjo. Mick commented that the first tune, from an old Ed Haley recording, is almost an arrangement of The Mason's Apron. The second tune certainly betrays its Irish roots. Bruce derives much of his repertoire from old archival recordings, injecting new life into those old settings. Originally from New York, Bruce was drawn to the music and to the Blue Ridge Mountains, where he heard Tommy Jarrell and Albert Hash as early mentors. Today, Bruce is considered one of the foremost old-time players. He is also a guitarist, banjoist, and singer. A recent project involves Bruce with Andy Irvine's Mozaik, a group that includes Donal Lunny and Nikola Parov, a Bulgarian multi-instrumentalist.



Moladh Cùl Eilean Na Nollaig (Hugh F. MacKenzie)

Jeff MacDonald: Gaelic Vocals

From the album: CÒMHLA CRUÎNN
Courtesy of Féis an Eilein

Produced by Wendy Bergfelt
Recorded 2002, Christmas Island, Cape Breton


The Cape Breton bard Hugh F. MacKenzie composed this song to praise his place of birth, the rear of Christmas Island. A recording of this song by its author exists at the Beaton Institute. Jeff learned this song in response to a request by the Féis an Eilein concert series. Each summer on Christmas Island, Féis an Eilein sponsors a series of concerts and workshops dedicated to the Gaelic language and culture. In 2002, Féis an Eilein released the album CÒMHLA CRUÍNN, a compilation of Gaelic singers of all ages. Jeff grew up in Kingsville, Inverness County, and credits folklorist neighbor John Shaw for his introduction to Gaelic singing. Through living with the tradition and through Celtic studies at Saint Francis Xavier University, located in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Jeff has developed a profound understanding of Gaelic culture. Today, Jeff is recognized as an exceptional singer who, like the bards before him, is also composing new verse in an old language.




Nos Fercher (Traditional)
Mantell Siani (Traditional)
Morris Ymdeithiol (Traditional)

Robin Huw Bowen: Triple harp
Andy McLauchlin: Wooden flute, pibgyrn (hornpipes)
Stephen Rees: Fiddle, accordion
Huw Williams: Guitar, stepping
Tony Williams: Double bass

From the album: NOS SADWRN BACH
Courtesy of Sain (Recordiau) Cyf
|Produced by Tony Williams

Recorded 2001, Wales


There was a time in the ancient Celtic kingdoms when the harp was the national instrument of both Ireland and Scotland. With the emergence of the baroque violin and the development of a dance-based repertoire, the harp eventually gave way to the new musical developments and was replaced by the fiddle and bagpipes in both traditions. However, the harp, and especially the triple harp ("telyn deires" in Welsh, so called because of its three rows of strings) retained a prestigious position in Welsh music, even though this music was not without its own baroque influences. Throughout the revival periods of Irish and Scottish music in the 1960s, Welsh music remained marginalized. But in recent years, musicians, such as harpist Robin Huw Bowen and the group Crasdant, have helped bring awareness to Welsh music and its ancient musical traditions. On this selection, Crasdant performs a medley of traditional Welsh tunes, and, like the Danish tunes, these tunes contain familiar-sounding fragments of melodies.



Pabay Mor (music & lyrics, Dougie MacLean)

Published by Limetree Arts and Music (PRS & MCPS UK)

Dougie MacLean: Vocals, guitar, digeridoo
Graham Mulholland: Scottish small-pipes
Jamie MacLean: Bass, percussion, keyboards
Fraser Anderson: Vocal harmonies

From the album: WHO AM I
Produced by Jamie MacLean
Courtesy of Dunkeld Records

Recorded 2001, Butterstone, Scotland


Singer-songwriter Dougie MacLean was born in Perthshire, Scotland, and is widely known as one of Scotland's greatest modern poets. During the 1970s, he was a member of both the Tannahill Weavers and Silly Wizard, pioneering Celtic bands from the revival era of traditional music in the UK. In the 1980s, he returned to live in Dunkeld, Perthshire, where he formed Dunkeld Records, which eventually became one of Scotland's most respected independent labels. In 1999, Dougie made his first trip to Cape Breton for the Celtic Colours Festival. He was struck by both the beauty and by the story of St. Ann's Bay, where Reverend Norman MacLeod chose to immigrate from Scotland with his entire parish. Many years later, Reverend McLeod, with some of the same followers, chose to emigrate to New Zealand. The Boat Builders, included on the CD WHO AM I, is Dougie's poetic description of these events.




The Night We Had the Goats (Traditional)|
West Mabou Reel (Traditional)
Pipe Reel (Traditional)

Wendy MacIsaac: Fiddle
Mairi Rankin: Fiddle
Patrick Gillis: Guitar
Mac Morin: Piano
Ryan MacNeil: Pipes


From the album: VARIATIONS
Courtesy of Beòlach

Produced by Beòlach
Recorded 2004, Point Aconi, Cape Breton.

It is a new age for Cape Breton musicians. In the golden days, performances were limited to picnics, church concerts, and summer festivals. Today, however, the Cape Breton musician can make a living as a solo artist or as a part of one of the numerous music groups on the Island. Beòlach is a Cape Breton quintet that features Wendy MacIsaac from Cregnish and Mairi Rankin from Mabou on fiddles. Ryan MacNeil, from Christmas Island, brings border pipes, small pipes, and an array of whistles to the Beòlach sound. Piano player Mac Morin is from Troy. Pat Gillis of Gillisdale plays guitar in the band. On this selection, Beòlach performs three reels that have been floating around Inverness County since at least the early part of the last century. All three reels, including the West Mabou Reel, which actually can be found in O'NEIL'S DANCE MUSIC OF IRELAND, are part of both the piping and fiddle repertoire.

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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