The Winnipeg, Manitoba-based Duhks have always gravitated towards traditional roots-based song structures, but they've never stopped evolving since their inception five years ago. Due in part to a collective musical worldview that knows no boundaries, that evolution led the band to their latest offering Fast-Paced World, the first Duhks record to feature wunderkinds Sarah and Christian Dugas (replacing vocalist Jessee Havey and percussionist Scott Senior respectively). It's an album that reflects the quintet's new-found confidence, with Sarah bringing five original songs to the band's encyclopedic collection of originals and covers both old and new. The French-Canadian born siblings have been immersed in music their whole lives, thanks in part to their musician parents. "We had a family band that toured across Canada when I was 7 and Christian was 9," remembers Sarah. ""My father had a recording studio in the house, so I grew up hearing a variety of musicians playing everything from rap to rock to world beat. I grew up in a fun and creative environment." It's that kind of musical DNA that makes the band's spot-on fusion of traditional bluegrass, folk rock, Afro-Cuban jazz and soul so accessible and yet so hard to pigeonhole. It's also earned them a Grammy Award nomination in the Best Country Vocal Performance category as well as a Juno award in their native Canada. As the band continues their own musical evolution, Fast-Paced World illustrates just how far the Duhks have come and just how far they're willing to go to challenge themselves artistically. Ultimately though, according to Leonard, the Duhks' "just want to play music that speaks to everybody." Mission accomplished.
Maria Doyle Kennedy
Maria Doyle Kennedy has gained international acclaim for her featured roles on esteemed films and television series like Dexter, Downton Abbey, and The Tudors. As a singer, however, this raven-haired Dubliner, remains one of Ireland’s best kept secrets. Sometimes melancholy, other times joyful, always passionate; Maria’s signature sound can be described as elemental folk shot through with a potent soulful impulse. Once described as “the finest voice this country has ever produced” by influential Irish music monthly Hot Press Magazine, it is no surprise that Maria Doyle Kennedy has collaborated with such legendary artists as: Patti Smith, Snow Patrol, PJ Harvey, Neneh Cherry, Ani DiFranco, Lisa Germano, Damien Rice, Paul Brady and John Prine.
For over a decade, Solas has been recognized as the most influential Irish-American super group. After a personnel change prior to their last release when Co. Kilkenny-born vocalist Mairead Phelan joined the band, they have reemerged, unified once again. On The Turning Tide, the band delivers the raw instrumental virtuosity, the power, the rhythmic ‘hump’, and the dynamic vocal blend that no other band since The Bothy Band has mastered, and in the process showcases the band at the peak of its power. The Turning Tide offers well-conceived set of tunes and songs that share an underlying theme of social commentary. It’s not a new idea for the band – past renditions of ‘Pastures of Plenty’ and ‘The Wind That Shakes the Barley’ are core songs in Solas’ repertoire – but it’s a concept that underscores the current mindset of the members of the band. Multi-instrumentalist and founding member Seamus Egan explains: “We’re not trying to preach or make a general statement about the world, it just happens to be the kind of material the individuals in the band have gravitated towards.” Renditions of Josh Ritter’s ‘Girl The War’, Bruce Springsteen’s ‘The Ghost of Tom Joad’, Richard Thompson’s ‘Poor Ditching Boy’ and Scottish folk-singer Karine Polwart’s ‘Sorry’ are as topical and engaging as anything Solas has ever done. Solas is Seamus Egan (flute, tenor banjo, mandolin, whistle, guitar and bodhran), Winifred Horan (fiddle), Mick McAuley (accordion and concertina), Eamon McElholm (guitar and keyboards) and vocalist Mairead Phelan. The Turning Tide is certain to further Solas’ reputation as one of the most important standard-bearers of Irish music.
McAuley Horan & O'Caoimh
Long-time SOLAS members MICK MCAULEY and WINIFRED HORAN have joined forces with the amazing Kilkenny-born guitarist COLM O CAOIMH to bring you their new release “SAILING BACK TO YOU”.
SOLAS has long been heralded as one of the most innovative and exciting bands to emerge on the Irish music scene over the last two decades and have been cited “the best traditional band in the world” by the Boston Herald while the New York Times praised them as “a five-piece of extraordinary instrumental and vocal fire-power”.
So when Mick McAuley and Winifred Horan released their first duet album “Serenade” in 2006, it was received with much anticipation and widespread critical acclaim being voted into the Top 5 Irish albums of 2006 by The Irish Times. Another few years have passed and now Mick and Winifred have teamed up with the dynamic young guitarist, COLM O CAOIMH for their new album “SAILING BACK TO YOU”. Colm, who is a founding member of the steadily rising Irish group CALADH NUA, (meaning New Harbour) has spent the last few years touring extensively throughout Europe and Canada. A musician of supreme talent and versatility, Colm brings to the project his own unique style of tune backing while complimenting the gentler vocal numbers and enhancing the subtleties of Winifred’s unmistakable fiddle sound. Throw in Mick’s vocal and instrumental talents and special guest Chico Huff’s genius on the bass, and it all goes to make for a beautiful musical journey, sometimes haunting and soulful, other times joyful and exhilarating. The album opens with a traditional French tune called “Les Amantes Infideles” which has the flavours of a smoky Paris cafe while tracks like the tasteful cover of the LOW ANTHEM’S “Charlie Darwin” bring a unique realism and honesty to the album. And, of course, there are instrumental reels, Jigs and airs, both original and traditional, to drive it all on.