Barclay and Steele
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Barclay and Steele

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE
Band Folk Celtic

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Mar
20
Barclay and Steele @ Gladstone Hotel

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Feb
11
Barclay and Steele @ Atelier Cat and Fiddle

Barrington, Rhode Island, USA

Barrington, Rhode Island, USA

Jan
28
Barclay and Steele @ The Admiral Pub

Warren, Rhode Island, USA

Warren, Rhode Island, USA

Music

Press


“(Rebecca’s) brilliantly creative vision of these age-old ballads and songs (is) outstandingly original. You can readily believe you’re listening to Kate Bush backed by 3 Mustaphas and a Turkish fiddler. Cinnabar proves an intense and haunting experience, definitely one of the most stimulating CDs of traditional music this year.” - Folk Roundabout - David Kidman - 2010


“strangely mesmerising vocal, beautifully intricate and exuberant picking. Intriguing and intense” - fROOTS Mar.2008


“John's guitar work is very skilled indeed: both exuberantly intricate and understated, gentle and yet percussive, not exactly drawing immediate attention to itself and yet intensely satisfying to listen to both in isolation and in the role of accompanist.” - Folk Roundabout - David Kidman - Feb 2008


“Female folk singers with a higher vocal range are plenty at the moment, so it’s great to hear a more meaty performance delivered.” - Acoustic Magazine - Kate Lewis - Jun/Jul.2008


Discography

Rebecca Barclay and John Steele
WITH THE NIGHT FAST APPROACHING, 2011
A collection of traditional songs from both sides of the Atlantic arranged for guitar and vocals.
Released by:
Raven's Wings Records
Catalogue number: RWR-1808-CD

Rebecca Barclay
CINNABAR, 2010
World mix blend of traditional songs including: percussive harmonic vocals, fiddle, celtic harp, whistles, electric guitars, Iranian bagpipes, l'accord du pieds, and more.
Released by:
Raven's Wings Records
Catalogue number: RWR-1809-CD

Rebecca Barclay and John Steele
ISLET, 2007
A collection of traditional songs from both sides of the Atlantic featuring predominantly guitar and vocals.
Released by:
Raven's Wings Records
Catalogue number: RWR-1807-CD

Rebecca Barclay
Raging Zephyr, 1993
Unusual arrangements of traditional and original songs including: vocals, tuba, trombone, bagpipes, and saxophone.
Released by:
Raven's Wings Records
Catalogue number: RWR-1007-CD

Rebecca Barclay
Gaia's Balance, 1991
Mostly original songs
with celtic and jazz overtones
Released by:
Raven's Wings Records
Catalogue number: RWR-1001-CD

Photos

Bio

With detailed intricate guitar, a rich resonating contralto vocal and intense, unique song arrangements, and their commitment to older story-songs, this tradition-based duo's focused sound is a beguiling feast of texture, rhythm and changing dynamics.

The duo's newly minted, original and dynamic creations use only the classic tools: a guitar and a voice, but keep each song highly unique.

Audiences invariably mention a pin drop immediacy, the word mesmerizing and point out their surprise at Rebecca’s exuberant vocal which resonates right off the floor, plus the satisfying complexity of John’s perceptive, subtle yet intensely detailed guitar work.

Like the songs they play, Barclay and Steele’s performances are intense, passionate, gutsy, and authentic.

Nominated in 2010 by the Canadian Folk Music Awards for best Traditional Singer for her album CINNABAR, Rebecca creates, with a darkly full-toned and gutsy singing, a resounding blend of traditional songs brought to life with ornamentation and rhythmical influences from a diverse range of cultural traditions. David Kidman of Folk Roundabout describes her work as “brilliantly creative, outstandingly original, an intense and haunting experience, definitely one of the most stimulating CDs of traditional music I’ve heard this year.”

The duo is built around traditional singer Rebecca Barclay’s dark, smoky, multi-ethnically informed vocal supported by guitarist John Steele’s skilled and distinctly English guitar. It is in performance where their intensity and nuance engage the audience. Their arrangements are highly original and finely tuned. Barclay and Steele are partial that every song that they present must be rich and alive with its own unique character and flavour. It may be harder to learn to play in differing ways but the duo feel this effort is essential to create a non-trivial calibre of quality storytelling.

The duo Barclay and Steele consists of two seasoned performers. John Steele plays guitar, mandolin and fiddle. Rebecca Barclay is the primary vocalist, who also plays guitar, mandolin and fiddle, harmonica and percussions. They met in Toronto and have been playing together since 2002 after collaborating for a wedding and a couple of small festivals which gathered them such a great response they decided to develop their act. They were drawn to play together when they discovered each had an interest in specific older traditional story songs, despite having grown up on separate sides of the Atlantic ocean, Rebecca in Canada and John in Northumbria UK.

Their influences were people like Nic Jones, John Martyn, Bert Jansch, Davy Graham, Richard Thompson, Chris Foster, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Nick Drake, The Corries, Dick Gaughan, Ad Vielle que Pourra, Ian and Sylvia, Edith Butler, June Tabor, and Máire Brennan.

Rebecca studied the traditional singing styles of many cultures starting at the "Worlds of Music" classes in East Indian Singing, South African Harmony-Singing, Macedonian Singing and Irish Sean-Nós, as a foundation to augment ways of telling the story through vocals. Rebecca has led the Irish song workshop for the longstanding Chris Langan Weekend, Toronto's annual Irish piping music festival and teaches workshops on both singing and traditional singing.

John’s guitar playing is exuberantly intricate and yet understated, intensely satisfying to listen to both in isolation and in the role of accompanist. John grew up in the North-east of England deeply immersed in the traditional music of Northumbria and the borders. He has played guitar for almost thirty years and has developed a guitar style this is his own and yet also distinctly English: both melodic and rhythmical, at times gentle, at times precisely but wildly percussive. Also a fiddler, John brings elements of ornamentation from the Northumbrian fiddle and pipe traditions into his playing.

In addition to playing with Rebecca, John is a member of the popular and respected ceilidh band Maximum Pastry! alongside some of the North-east's top traditional musicians. Rebecca has played in many celtic bands including the ceilidh band Paddi on the Cellphone, Reeling, The Stonewall Prophets, and also manages her own band the Rebecca Barclay band playing with both jazz and traditional music players.

At the full house Toronto CD release of their first album ISLET at the Gladstone Hotel, Jesse Hull, Manitoba Métis fiddler performed live with them. Jesse is a guest fiddler on the first CD.

The duo has just released their second CD together, June 2011, which has come out smooth, cohesive and listenable. The duo previously made their home for five years in Northumbria UK, before their return to a currently nomadic life North America, based now out of Toronto; Canada, Vancouver; Canada, Rhode Island; USA, and Northumbria; UK. Whilst living in Northumbria the duo was immersed in the traditional folk scene amongst many fine fiddlers, pipers and singers who deeply had an in