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(Glencoe Hall)

Compilations of Cape Breton Fiddle Music

Updated: June 1, 2007 Back to main Cape Breton Page
Many of the collections listed on the Cape Breton page feature great fiddling and are definitely worth checking out. However, two of these collections deserves mention here again:

Failte - A Cape Breton Welcome (Celtic Music Interpretive Centre)   Cape Breton is famous for its hospitality, and this is a musical welcome that has you up and dancing, or at least tapping your foot before you know what hit you. And we did tell you that stamina was important...this is 72 minutes of highly energetic music. The CD was produced as a fundraiser for the new Celtic Music Interpretive Centre in Judique, and the local musicians from up and down Route 19 contributed one of the tracks from their own CDs. Lets see, thats 18 world class musicians (+ accompanists). The CD is heavily biased toward fiddle music (14 fiddle tracks, 2 piano, 1 song), 1 bagpipes), and slightly biased toward younger players you might not have heard, but totally deserve to be on this all-star lineup. The cast includes: Buddy MacMaster,  Ian MacDougall, Glenn Graham, Mac Morin,  Robbie & Isaac Fraser,  Natalie MacMaster,   Karen Beaton,   Ryan J. MacNeil,   Troy MacGillivray, Jackie Dunn, Andrea Beaton, Raylene Rankin,  Kinnon Beaton, Rodney MacDonald,  Howie MacDonald,  Mairi Rankin, Shelly Campbell, and Wendy MacIsaac. The only reason this was not an essential purchase for me was that I already bought all the CDs these tracks were taken from! Be forewarned, that after you get a sample of their playing, there is a high chance that you may be buying a whole lot more Cape Breton CDs in the near future. Hey, this is great stuff, and supports a worthy cause. A superb introduction to the music of Cape Breton. (Very highly recommended )

(Bridges of Cape Breton album cover) 

The Bridges of Cape Breton County(s) -- This CD sampler of Cape Breton fiddle music is fabulous. There are 16 tracks from 16 of Cape Breton's best musicians, all fiddle music except one song from Men of the Deep. The fiddlers include so many great ones: Buddy MacMaster, Jerry Holland, J.P. Cormier, Brenda Stubbert, and Howie MacDonald. What I particularly like about this album is the inclusion of tracks from superb fiddlers who are less well known (at least outside Cape Breton) and don't often appear on compilations, including: Carl MacKenzie, the amazing young Jennifer Roland with a beautiful slow air, Glen Graham, Morgan MacQuarrie, Stephanie Mills, Dave MacIsaac,Charlie MacCuspic, Winnie Chafe, and Rodney MacDonald. (The only one missing is Natalie MacMaster, but since you already know about her and will have to buy all of her albums anyway, putting the spotlight on other CB fiddlers is ok.) This album is simultaneously an amazing bargain, and one of the most expensive you can buy (if you figure in the cost of all the new CDs you are going to lust after now)! Available mail order from Barry Mackinnon at  (902) 735 2745.)


Traditional Music from Cape Breton  Traditional Music from Cape Breton Island, (Nimbus Records, 1993) 80 minutes of fiddle heaven here. Fiddlers Jerry Holland, John Morris Rankin, Brenda Stubbert, Howie and Dougie MacDonald, Carl MacKenzie, Buddy MacMaster, and Natalie MacMaster, accompanied by Tracey Dares, Hilda Chiasson, and Dave MacIsaac, along with Paul McNeil on pipes for good measure, all recorded before a live audience at the University of Cork, Ireland(!) The musicians and audience urge each other on, feet are stomping everywhere, and the energy level is very, very high. On top of it all, there is a superb set of liner notes.
(Routes of  the World) The Routes of the World - Celtic Colours 2001 (Odyssey Records 2001). This is another collection of 18 sets of tunes and songs from various performers at the Celtic Colours festival in Cape Breton. Highlights include the Galician piping of Susana Seivane, and the Gaelic singing of Mary Jane Lamond and Cliar. Also on the CD are fine examples of fiddling by Cameron Chisholm, Paul Cranford, Howie MacDonald, Liz Doherty, the new group Be˛lach, and the Cape Breton Fiddlers' Association, as well as a great piano set from the legendary Maybelle Chisholm. And some nice tracks from the Irish group Dan˙, Scottish guitarist Tony MacManus, the Danes Haugaard & H°irup, and the Acadian group Suroţt. Another good and varied introduction to the music of Cape Breton. (Recommended)

(More Bridges to Cross)

More Bridges 2 Cross (2001). This is a sequel to the excellent Bridges of Cape Breton County(s). Like its predecessor, it features previously recorded tracks from the CDs of 13 of the finest fiddlers and pianists on the island and two great groups - the Barra MacNeils doing a duet version of Tullochgorum and SlÓinte Mhath doing a "blast of tunes". This CD has it all - Buddy, Ashley, J.P. and Joe Cormier, Brenda Stubbert, Jennifer Roland, Kimberley Fraser, Glenn Graham. 65 minutes of righteous fiddling. Heck, this is worth it just for Kimberly Fraser's slow air. Just go buy it, then put on your soon-to-be-worn-out dancing shoes. Available mail order from Barry Mackinnon at  (902) 735 2745.) (Very highly recommended)

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