In other recent news, Mary Jane Lamond & Wendy MacIsaac album “Seinn” is destined to be a real crowd pleaser. From its stellar music and songs to its lush production, this is a fantastic and very enjoyable album that will not only appeal to fans of Scottish or Cape Breton music, but to anyone who loves great acoustic music.
Trad Music in the Echo | May 24th 2013
Splinters & Candy Review Seinn | April 8th 2013
If you listen to Splinters & Candy on WVKR, then you’ve heard me play some tracks from Mary Jane Lamond & Wendy MacIsaac’s latest release, Seinn. The duo have put together a terrific acoustic Celtic album from the shores of Cape Breton. Mary Jane Lamond is an accomplished singer with a deep appreciation for Scottish Gaelic traditions. Wendy MacIsaac is highly regarded for her fiddle and piano playing as well as her step dancing. The pair have been impressing audiences worldwide for over two decades. Their comradery shines on Seinn, a record that deserves a lot of attention for being a fresh, yet timeless traditional Celtic release.
The musicianship on Seinn is outstanding. Mary Jane and Wendy sound like they have been playing together since they were children. From the rollicking “Yellow Coat” to the reflective “If You Were Mine,” Mary Jane and Wendy take you on a journey through the history of Cape Breton where the heritage of the Highland settlers has been kept alive by the passing down of music, songs and stories over the years. While this is a traditional release that doesn’t mean it sounds like something you’ve heard before. Some songs may have been chosen from existing repertoires, but they’ve never been performed quite like this.
Full of passion and energy, these tunes come to life in a way that is inspiring. When I hear cuts like “Keeping Up With Calum” or “Angus Blaise,” I can’t help but feel my pulse quicken as my foot starts to tap automatically. This music is full of heart and you can hear what it means to Mary Jane and Wendy on every track. Wendy’s fiddling is tremendous and she also plays mandolin and some piano on the album. Mary Jane’s voice is in top form, singing in Gaelic throughout the record. She also plays accordion on a few tracks. There are plenty of guests on this CD but a special mention should go to Seph Peters whose driving guitar and banjo provides the perfect foundation for Mary Jane and Wendy to build their harmonies on top of.
Mary Jane Lamond and Wendy MacIsaac are preservers of tradition who are keeping roots music alive while interpreting the music in their own way. Listen to “Yellow Coat” and take a look at a great video the duo put together to celebrate the release of Seinn. Ask for the CD at your local record store or check it out at bandcamp and keep an eye on Mary Jane and Wendy’s live dates to see where they will be performing next.
25 Years Later & Cape Breton is Still Winning at Music | March 14th 2013
This is an excerpt from “The Way I See It”, a theatre/music blog written by Amanda Campbell:
As an East Coaster you grow up knowing that there is an exorbitant amount of musical talent that is saturated on our shores. It is something that I think we all take a little for granted sometimes. “Of course there is going to be live music at the pub and of course it is likely going to be lovely and of course the guy who plays the keyboards for *insert ECMA winner here* and *insert ECMA winner here* also writes beautiful songs of his own and of course the girl who plays the fiddle also plays the piano and also plays the guitar and of course her brother plays the bagpipes, obvious. And of course there is going to be a jam session in the kitchen of that party you are going to and of course everyone will be clapping on beats two and four and of course everyone knows someone who has dropped a record or is working on one and of course it’s going to be incredible and will likely somewhere, somehow reference the ocean in some quaint, wistful way, because we’re from the East Coast where these things are in our blood.” In my experience, it was only when I moved far away from home that I realized how truly remarkable and special our musical canon and our musical culture is. It is something to be celebrated and relished in unabashedly and so it was wonderful to be able to do just that at two events at the East Coast Music Awards this weekend.
The first event I attended was specifically a celebration of Cape Breton, arguably the Mecca of East Coast Musical Exports, which was at the Marquee Club on Friday evening. Mary Jane Lamond and Wendy MacIsaac performed some tunes from their new record Seinn, although the audience was a little rowdy and it was challenging to appreciate the gorgeous arc of the Gaelic lyrics in Lamond’s deft command of the language, but the accordion, guitar and fiddle playing were jaunty and masterful and floated magically above the din of the crowd. I can’t recommend this record enough, MacIsaac’s fiddling is so sweet and rich with emotion, which beautifully matches Lamond’s crisp diction and warm vocals that effortlessly capture and communicate the essence of these folk songs giving them an immediacy, a contemporary energy and infectious spirit that transcends the language barrier and anchors them deeply into the audience’s heart.
Check out more of her blog at www.twisitheatreblog.com.
Huffington Post “this album is irresistible” | March 12th 2013
From the Celtic enclave of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, where folks go to speak and study Gaelic, singer Mary Jane Lamond and fiddler Wendy MacIsaac have produced Seinn. Individually, they’re leaders of their generation of Cape Breton Gaelic musicians, and their joining forces as a duo was an inspired move; Seinn is one of the best new Celtic albums I’ve heard in years. Lamond’s singing has only gained in power and character since I first heard her in 1996, and MacIsaac’s fiddling is crisp and commanding. The material includes lots of traditional Gaelic songs and fiddle tunes, plus compositions by MacIsaac and other contemporary tunesmiths, all in bright, modern, mostly acoustic arrangements. Add to this guest musicians from the top of the folk and Celtic scenes in Canada, Ireland and Scotland, including Ashley MacIsaac (piano), Corinna Hewatt (harp), and Seph Peters (guitar and banjo), as well as vocals from Moya Brennan, Tríona and Maighread Ní Dhomhnaill, Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, and Catherine-Ann MacPhee, and this album is irresistible to anyone who’s ever danced or grooved to Celtic music.
Cape Breton soul inspires Mary Jane Lamond and Wendy MacIsaac | March 11th 2013
The soul of a land and its inhabitants is a hard thing to put into sound, but Nova Scotia singer Mary Jane Lamond and fiddler Wendy MacIsaac have achieved that with their album Seinn. The hills, glens, coves, and villages of Cape Breton—and the people who live and work there—inspire the musical portrait of the island, which was settled by Gaels from Scotland some 200 years ago.
Seinn presents a series of closely linked musical contrasts. Lamond’s haunting songs in Gaelic alternate with instrumental sets of tunes that cleverly shift their tone between darkness and light, driven by MacIsaac’s fiddle. Songs of joy follow laments, and the stylistic approach is by turns starkly traditional and brightly contemporary.