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Dan MacDonald, The Cape Breton Post
I mentioned a couple of months ago that The Barra MacNeils had another CD on the way. Recorded at Soundpark Studio during the 2011 Celtic Colours International Festival, it’s called “The Celtic Colours Sessions” and has an impressive guest list that includes local performers as well as singers and instrumentalists from Scotland, Ireland, the United States and other parts of Canada.
There are 10 cuts in all, including instrumentals from Tim Edey and Bruce Molsky. There are several lovely Gaelic songs that highlight the vocals of Catherine-Anne MacPhee and Fiona and Ciarán MacGillivray, a French number that features Ronald Bourgeois and English vocals from Old Man Luedecke, Ron Hynes, Archie Fisher and James Keelaghan, Matt Minglewood and the Black Family.
Many of these musicians are old friends, having shared the stage with the Barras often over the years. Some, like the MacGillivrays and Minglewood, are practically neighbours. However, this is the first time they have recorded with any of them, but they were all in the area for Celtic Colours so what better time to make it happen.
Every cut is excellent but there are three that shine for me: Ron Hynes doing “Gone To Canada,” one of his own compositions; Archie Fisher and James Keelaghan’s wonderfully soulful version of Ed Pickford’s “Strange Lover Is A Coalmine;” and the rollicking, electrified version of the traditional “As I Roved Out” with Minglewood. The rest are equally as good but these are the ones that grabbed my attention.
This is a wonderful CD, very enjoyable and clearly a lot of fun for the Barras. This will be very popular as a Christmas gift this year and will certainly sell well on the Barras current 31 stop cross-Canada Christmas tour. Wednesday they were in Trail, B.C. and Friday they’ll be in Calgary. They are back in Cape Breton for shows in Port Hawkesbury on Dec. 21 and at the Savoy Theatre in Glace Bay on Dec. 22 before finishing their tour in Halifax the following night.