Trad Music in the Echo | May 24th, 2013

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.

MacIsaac (fiddle, mandolin, piano) and Lamond (vocals, accordian) are well known to Celtic music fans. Each has a sterling track record of success, and while the two have been friends for ages, it’s only with this album, their first full-length studio collaboration, that they bring together their distinct musical sensibilities.

The results are outstanding. As would be expected, “Seinn” features several really lovely instrumental tracks. The medley “Angus Blaise” is brilliant and has invigorating bounce that features Wendy’s fiddling and Ashley MacIsaac’s piano playing well. “Keeping Up With Calum” is a MacIsaac original that sees her floating sophisticated ideas about melody and phrasing over a funky, more contemporary guitar and percussion accompaniment, while “Seudan a Chuain / Jewels of the Ocean” is a beautiful pair of tunes that features Wendy on fiddle with Matt MacIsaac (who plays wonderfully) on whistles. Lamond takes the spotlight on the vocal tracks. A brilliant and powerful example of her strength as a singer (and perhaps one of the album’s finest tracks) is “Rinn Mi Coors is Naoi Mile / I Travelled More Than Nine Miles,” which features Lamond in unaccompanied duet with Mairi Smith. Then again, Lamond’s pathos is so palpable in “Oran a Mheirlich / The Thief’s Song,” a song of regret for a man’s past misdeeds, that it, too, would be in the running for “Best of Album” honors. A slightly less intense (but no less enjoyable) example of Lamonde’s work is “Oran an t-Saighdeir / The Soldier’s Song,” a song about a young man being conscripted into the army. It moves along with an optimistic gait that belies the gravity of its apparent subject matter.

Ultimately, “Seinn” is an engaging collaboration that carefully shades a deeply traditional approach with modern accents. It’s a must-have for fans of Cape Breton music, but it’s an album that will likely have broad appeal as well.

This is an excerpt from the article “Some brilliance from beyond Irish genre” by Daniel Neely in Echo Magazine.