Norah Rendell & Brian Miller

Norah Rendell & Brian Miller

BandFolkCeltic

Traditional Singer of the Year nominee and "fabulous lead vocalist", Norah Rendell sings and plays flute with top-class Irish bouzouki and guitar backing by Brian Miller. Ireland’s Munster Express wrote that their music “brings sunlight into your heart and set your feet a dancing.”

Biography

"Norah Rendell, the Canadian, takes lead vocals with calm authority." - The Telegraph

"A fabulous lead vocalist" - Rock 'n Reel Magazine, UK

Brian Miller is a guitarist “who really understands the music and doesn’t just play the chords” - Rambles Magazine

She started out as a Baroque recorder player with a degree in early music. She went on to make a name for herself as part of the esteemed Vancouver Celtic ensemble Cleia and the a cappella quintet the No Shit Shirleys, then she earned a Canada Council grant to further her Irish music studies in the music's homeland.

Now, armed with a Masters degree in traditional Irish music from the University of Limerick's Irish World Academy of Music and Dance - the only place in the world to offer such a thing - and having toured extensively in the UK with the band Outside Track, Norah Rendell is returning to B.C. to launch her new duo project with guitarist Brian Miller.

Wait There Pretty One is a collection of ten traditional Irish numbers - plus a traditional Quebecois piece and two covers of contemporary pieces - performed with both a reverence for tradition and a decidedly North American voice. Rendell notes that, as a Canadian who is used to emotive singing styles, she couldn't help but inject her vocals with a level of expressiveness uncharacteristic of true Irish interpretations. Her passion for the music comes through in her plaintive rendition of "In the Town of Castle d'Oliver," her reflective cover of the instantly recognizable "Oh, Can Ye Sew Cushions?" and her powerful delivery of Maria Dunn's "Heather Down Road." She also performs a wonderfully Celtified version of Iris Dement's "Let the Mystery Be," the other non-trad cover on the album.

Rendell, of course, is also a virtuoso flautist, and she shows off her chops magnificently on Wait There Pretty One, both on bridges in the vocal tracks and on stellar instrumentals like the "Dinny Delaney's / Limestone Rock / Lad O'Beirne's" medley. Vancouver's Stephani Custer and Minnesota's Nathan Gourley guest on fiddle on a couple of tracks, and Miller provides solid guitar accompaniment throughout the album.

Miller's work as an accompanist has been called "superb" by no less an authority than the Irish Times. A highly visible character in the Twin Cities Irish music scene since 1998, he often sneaks away to his adopted home of Ireland, where he has been featured on TG4, RTE television and RTE radio. He is also a member of a number of international touring groups and duos including The Tommie Cunniffe Trio, Bua and 5 Mile Chase.

Rendell met Miller in Ireland in 2005, and the two began playing together shortly thereafter. Best of all, the pair of North Americans seems to be winning over discerning Irish music authorities. Daíthí Sproule of the seminal Irish group Altan praised Wait There Pretty One for "the clarity, skill and honesty in the playing and singing and the great repertoire of material chosen." The Munster Express said Rendell and Miller "bring sunlight into your heart and set your feet a dancing."

Discography

Wait There Pretty One - Two Tap Records 2007
The Outside Track - Bedspring Records 2007
Live at Martyrs - Indie 2006
Your Town, 5 Mile Chase - Indie 2005
This Side of Main - Cleia - Indie 2004

Set List

Regular show is 2-45 minute sets, usually 60% songs, 40% instrumentals. For trad. Irish audiences, Norah & Brian play more instrumentals. For folk audiences, Norah & Brian sing more songs, including specialist repertoire from Irish lumberjack songs from the Midwest, and Irish-Canadian traditional songs.