Review Archive

‘Seinn’ - -Mary Jane Lamond and Wendy Maclsaac

(October 09, 2012)

There is something enchanting about Cape Breton music, whatever the tempo or message it builds on Seinnarguably the most immediately infectious, exquisite melodies on the planet. And nowhere is this charm more seductively delivered than by Mary Jane Lamond and Wendy Maclsaac, temptresses of traditional Cape Breton music, who use their enticements to beguile with tradition and innovation. The magic in their music expands through a subtle alchemy to create ‘Seinn’ - cherishing the Scots Gaelic language through beautiful emotion-filled songs while guarding and nurturing the roots of Cape Breton music.

‘Seinn’ is a perfect showcase for both burgeoning tradition and astonishing innovation blending the faintly mournful, perpetually longing of song with the finely placed exuberant joy of fiddle tunes. There are traditional treasures rubbing shoulders with self-penned material and original gems working with sparkling creativity - dances, songs and tunes growing new shoots from old Celtic roots.

Laying off the Canadian province of Nova Scotia, Cape Breton island remains steeped in the culture and music that Scottish immigrants who settled the island, brought with them; homeland traditions that stayed and thrived. From the ‘Yellow Coat’ - a quartet of trad and self-penned tunes that instantly draw you in, through the alluring ‘Òran an t-Saighdeir / The Soldier’s Song’ and the sad resignation of ‘Rinn Mi Còrr is Naoi Mìle / I Travelled More Than Nine Miles’ to the absorbing collection of tunes that make up ‘Angus Blaise’ this is music that speaks with passion – whatever your language.

The wealth of musicians playing on various tracks on the album with Wendy (fiddle, mandolin, piano) and Mary Jane (vocals, accordion) reads like a proverbial directory of Cape Breton music – Cathy Porter (piano, percussion) Seph Peters, Brad Davidge and Patrick Gillis (guitars) Geoff Arsenault, and Mike Shepherd (percussion) David Milligan, Kim Dunn and Ashley MacIssac  (piano) Corrina Hewat (harp) Mairi Smith, Cathy-Ann MacPhee and Cathy MacGregor (vocals) Ed Woodsworth and Fred Lavery (bass) Kevin Fox (cello) Tim Edey (guitar, accordion) and Matt MacIssac (whistles).

‘Seinn’ from Mary Jane and Wendy is available from

Reviewer: Tim Carroll

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