Traditional Music from Cape Breton Island

On this disc we hear a true taste of a Cape Breton Ceilidh. Ironically, the recording took place some 3000 miles away, in Ireland, where the music, song and dance of this region of the Canadian Maritimes was the focus of a four day festival in February 1993, hosted by the Traditional Music Society and the Music Department of University College, Cork. The aim of the festival was to provide, in Cork, a platform for Cape Breton culture which, although a Celtic cousin, has had little exposure in Ireland prior to this occasion.


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Traditional Music From Cape Breton Island is a lively set of Scottish-influenced reels, jigs, and marches recorded before a live audience at the 1993 Cork University Traditional Music Festival. And while Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, is filled stem to stern with talented musicians, the array of talent here is nevertheless striking. Fiddlers John Rankin, Jerry Holland, Buddy MacMaster, and his niece Natalie MacMaster; Dave MacIsaac on guitar and fiddle; pianists Tracey Dares and Hilda Chiasson; and pipers Paul MacNeil and Jamie MacInnis all appear. They turn in a lively set dominated by the deliberate rhythm of the piano that runs almost constantly beneath the fiddle leads. Joined by foot-stomp percussion and acoustic guitar, Traditional Music is almost relentlessly energetic. The presence of MacNeil and MacInnis' Highland bagpipes offers a different, yet no less exciting sound. The live recording is pristine, the crowd attentive and appreciative, and the frequent whoops from the musicians lets you know just how good of a time everyone at the show was having.  -Johnny Loftus,

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