Heather Dale

Heather Dale

BandFolkCeltic

Heather Dale offers a new type of Celtic music for the 21st century: a playful, passionate and fearless blend of tradition and innovation.

Biography

-- Heather Dale: modern folk songs with Celtic roots --

Heather Dale offers a new type of Celtic music for the 21st century: a playful, passionate and fearless blend of tradition and innovation.

Cheerfully discarding the stereotypical limits for both folk singer-songwriters and Celtic balladeers, she fuses traditional stories with a healthy mix of Celtic folk, blues, jazz and world music influences. "Although steeped in Celtic culture, Dale's approach to the music is contemporary… there's nothing faint or wispy about this Celtic folk diva." (K-W Record)

Particularly known for her interpretations of ancient legends, she excels at finding modern themes within old (and often overlooked) material. Heather's rich voice and evocative recordings continue to earn her fans around the world. "Her music is powerful stuff, reminiscent of Loreena McKennitt and Sarah McLachlan but with a depth and resonance rooted in its mythic sources." (Vancouver Sun)

Heather plays a wide array of folk and classical instruments, including piano, bodhran drum, mountain & hammered dulcimers, alto recorder, bowed psaltery and tin whistle. Her first solo concert came in 1997; she now tours with fellow multi-instrumentalist Ben Deschamps (guitar, double bass, Irish flute, percussion). As fully independent artists, Heather and Ben are strong supporters of independent music within Canada and abroad.

Heather and Ben are also seasoned road-warriors, and spend much of their time travelling to visit new audiences; in 2005 alone, they completed over 38,000 km (24,000 miles) of touring. Their recent performance schedule took them across the breadth of Canada, with concerts in all ten provinces; they also tour regularly in the UK, along with special performances in the USA and Europe. Whether in a local pub or on a festival stage, Heather always connects with her audience -- sharing her songs with infectious energy and flair. "Heather Dale is a positive, vibrant singer... and audiences really resonate with her voice and enthusiasm," affirms GreenManReview.com.

Born and raised in Toronto, Heather discovered an early passion for legends. She became fascinated by Celtic mythology, European folktales, King Arthur stories and Native American legends... which led her first into fairy tales and fantasy books, and later into medieval literature. But rather than following an academic path in either music or history, Heather chose to indulge her third love: social & environmental activism.

While pursuing environmental studies at the University of Waterloo, Heather began singing at the local student centre and for history clubs in the area. "There were no microphones, no fancy stages," Heather recalls. "I quickly learned to interpret a song without any safety net." These early successes emboldened Heather's later career shift into professional music. Heather still loves to promote historical and environmental education by speaking at schools, universities and literary conventions.

Heather doesn't shy away from exploring non-Celtic influences in her music. She credits this approach to her upbringing in multi-cultural Canada: "I grew up in an environment which not only had British, French and Native history, but it also gave me a first-hand appreciation of Asian, African, European, and South American cultures," Heather says. This musical blending of her own Celtic background with other traditional influences is readily apparent on her new CD "The Road to Santiago" (2005, Amphis/Festival).

A cosmopolitan album of modern folk songs, Heather co-produced her 5th solo CD with folk veteran Paul Mills (Stan Rogers, Tanglefoot). It features Heather at her adventurous best -- with songs that celebrate honest love and the personal search for meaning, as well as delivering cunning commentary on self-image, sexual tensions, and civil disobedience. With strong vocal performances and tight songwriting, Heather's songs draw their inspiration from many diverse cultures, including New-World Celtic, Irish, Spanish, Caribbean, Greek, and even Canadian Inuit. "Heather Dale soars on this recording, an unabashed and uninhibited romantic who has found her voice and her musical wings." (Toronto Star)

"The Road to Santiago" joins Heather Dale's previous recordings: "May Queen" (2003), "This Endris Night" (2002), "Call The Names" (2001) and "The Trial of Lancelot" (2000), all released on her independent Amphis Music label.

Heather Dale continues to chart new territory in her musical explorations and travels. "Heather's songs express something that honors tradition, but in keeping with the best of traditions they break new ground," asserts Walt Haake (WDVR 91.9 FM).

Sound clips and further information are available at HeatherDale.com.

Lyrics

The Greyhound

Written By: Heather Dale

The Greyhound
(Heather Dale -- HeatherDale.com)
(copyright Amphisbaena Music, 2003)

The Greyhound’s sinking in the waves
And fast the sea receives her
Curse the Reaper, bend your back
and cheat your sorry grave
And Captain Bryce is on the deck
So we, her hands, may leave her
Curse the Reaper, bend your back
and cheat your sorry grave

Curse the Reaper, cowled in black
He’s laughing at your failing
Pull that oar until it cracks;
We’re bound for better sailing

At Bryce’s word we went aloft
And fought the screaming bluster
Curse the Reaper, bend your back
and cheat your sorry grave
We shortened sails and gripped the ropes
With all that we could muster
Curse the Reaper, bend your back
and cheat your sorry grave

The Greyhound fought to stay aright
As cruel the wild waves tossed her
Curse the Reaper, bend your back
and cheat your sorry grave
But when the mast began to crack
We knew that we had lost her
Curse the Reaper, bend your back
and cheat your sorry grave

So put your back into it lads
And haul against the thunder
Curse the Reaper, bend your back
and cheat your sorry grave
And cry a prayer into the winds
The ship won’t pull us under
Curse the Reaper, bend your back
and cheat your sorry grave

Curse the Reaper, cowled in black
He’s laughing at your failing
Pull that oar until it cracks;
We’re bound for better sailing

Sedna

Written By: Heather Dale

Sedna
(Heather Dale -- HeatherDale.com)
(copyright Amphisbaena Music, 2004)

Sedna roamed the deep
The cold, forgotten deep
No one wants to be alone

From her hands they fell
Children of the ocean’s swell
With ice’s twinkle given sight
She offered them a name
And seals they all became
And laughing took a coat of dappled light

From her hands they fell
Ever in the sea to dwell
Nimble-fingered, quick and lithe
She offered them a name
And otters they became
Keepers of her secrets in the ice

From her hands they fell
The mightiest of all
Slow and gentle as the tides
She offered them a name
And whales they all became
To tread the paths the lesser are denied

Sedna roamed the deep
The cold, forgotten deep
No one wants to be alone

Hero

Written By: Heather Dale

Hero
(Heather Dale -- HeatherDale.com)
(copyright Amphisbaena Music, 2004)

You think that if you set the price, they’ll turn me in
You think that when I’m up upon the pike, you’ll win
They’ll say that I was fighting for the spirit of the law
What will they say about you when I’m gone?

You murdered and you stole, you mocked the hope I gave
Though I’d prefer a happy end, no man can cheat the grave
I know what they’ll remember in the words of every song
What will they say about you when I’m gone?

They’ll say,
“We stared into the wind that tore away our breaths;
We left behind a message that could not be claimed by death!”
A hero lives forever for the ones who carry on
What will they say
What will they say
What will they say about you when I’m gone?

Discography

Albums released:

The Road to Santiago (2005, Amphis/Festival) - a cosmopolitan album of modern folk songs, which blends of Heather's own Celtic background with other traditional influences from around the world. Influences include New-World Celtic, Irish, Spanish, Caribbean, Greek, and even Canadian Inuit.

May Queen (2003, Amphis/Festival) - original modern songs inspired by the ancient King Arthur legends. Rich and evocative mix of folk-pop, rock, jazz, and haunting Celtic ballads.

This Endris Night (2002, Amphis) - arrangements of Medieval and Renaissance holiday songs. A lively and innovative acoustic album.

Call The Names (2001, Amphis) - original folk songs inspired by Renaissance life. A fun mix of humour, inspiring anthems, and catchy sing-a-longs.

The Trial of Lancelot (2000, Amphis) - original modern songs inspired by the King Arthur legends. A mix of mesmerizing Celtic ballads, folk-pop and bluesy rock.

Set List

Heather Dale's innovative live shows with fellow multi-instrumentalist Ben Deschamps feature over a dozen folk instruments, along with Heather's rich and evocative voice.

Their concerts feature original songs from Heather's five CDs, along with traditional folk and Celtic material.

Whether in a local pub or on a festival stage, Heather always connects with her audience -- sharing her songs with infectious energy and flair. "Heather Dale is a positive, vibrant singer... and audiences really resonate with her voice and enthusiasm," affirms GreenManReview.com.