Dedication - Jennifer's Debut Album

"There is so much soul and beauty in this album, I place it on even the shortest of my 'desert island' lists. It is one of the first Cape Breton CDs I recommend to those unfamiliar with Cape Breton music get. This CD contains great music and great playing, even by Cape Breton standards."

The Music:

Featured on the album in addition to Jennifer are her sister Karen "Karmie" Steele on piano, Ryan MacNeil (piano and synthesizer), Al Bennet (guitar, bass and tubular bells) and Matthew Foulds (drums and percussion). A major contributor to Jennifer's wonderful music is the tune-writing and piano-playing of her sister, Karen "Karmie" Steele. Karmie's two airs "Jenny's Dream" and "Our Friend Archie Neil" are among the best ever written in Cape Breton, and when played by the two of them, heart-breakingly lovely.

  • Dedication (1997). (In Europe -Best.-Nr. MMR CD 1023) The sets of tunes on the album are:
    • My Sister Karmie - (Jigs)
    • 74th Highlanders - (Quickstep, Strathspeys, Reels)
    • Paul Mac's - (Clogs, Reels)
    • Jenny's Dream - (Slow Air)
    • Sweet Journeys - (Waltz, Jigs)
    • Mary Scott - (Marching Air, Strathspeys, Reels)
    • Our Friend Archie Neil - (Slow Air)
    • Breton Batherson Dancers - (Reel)
    • Traditional Medley - (Strathspeys, Reels)
    • Brand New Jigs - (3 jigs, including two by Jennifer)
    • Brand New Reels - (3 reels including two by Jennifer)


  • "This is one of my top ten Celtic albums of 1998!" Colin Randall, Daily Telegraph London

  • "When you listen to Jennifer Roland playing music you hardly believe that as a child, she lost her sense of hearing. This is why Jennifer's music is so special. For a time she had to listen more to an inner voice than to the sounds on the outside. "Dedication" is worthy of a listen if you are inclined to the magic of excellent fiddle playing." The Anglo-Celt Newspaper 1/99

  • "Armed with a prized possession, Winston Fitzgerald's fiddle, Jennifer Roland has been charming audiences with energetic performances. Under the auspices of Kyle MacNeil, Jennifer has fashioned a unique sound out of a broad range of Celtic influences including Buddy MacMasgter, Angus Chisholm, Winston Fitzgerald, and The Barra MacNeils, as well as taking notice of the musicians in her family such as her father Buddy, who played the fiddle, and sister Karmie who still accompanies her...Dedication serves as a musical testament to Jennifer's abilities and a bright future ahead." - Liner notes to The Cape Breton Connection.

  • "Roland also plays slow airs...and her renditions of a couple of poignant slow tunes written by her sister are especially heart-rending." - Dirty Linen (December 2000)

  • "Jennifer has matured into a terrific entertainter. She is clearly one of the best step-dancers in Cape Breton, a great crowd-pleaser, and, in case you care, can step-dance up a storm while fiddling.  [Dedication is] one of my very favorite Cape Breton CDs because it so full of heart, so well played, and has some great tunes written by Jennifer and Karmie. Very highly recommended."     -
  • "Jennifer Roland's debut CD has ...[the] drive and bite [that] are the meat and drink of the Cape Breton tradition and she is steeped in it up to her eyes. The fiddle-piano sound of Cape Breton dance music is perfectly exemplified on this recording, as is the traditional repertoire of reels, strathspeys and jigs. Most of the tunes here are traditional, with known composers including Scott Skinner, Dan R. MacDonald, Jerry Holland, Graham Townsend and Brenda Stubbert. There's also a nicely paced version of Gordon Duncan's reel "Andy Renwick's Ferret" and six of Jennifer's own reels and jigs which sit very well with the older tunes. In fact, the whole album (ten tracks, forty-six mins) is nicely paced, and this is helped by two poignant slow airs composed by Jennifer's sister. Slow airs are a recent addition to the Cape Breton tradition - mainly in the last fifty years or so - and these two are fine contributions to the genre. Together with a couple of clog hornpipes and a Skinner march, they complete the tapestry of Cape Breton music. ... The impression this album gives is rather of someone who has mastered her instrument and is completely in tune with her music." - Alex Monaghan, The Living Tradition

Where You Can Buy Jennifer's CDs 

Updated: July 31, 2007

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