Skye Consort
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Skye Consort

Band Classical Celtic

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"Rick Phillips - Sound Advice"

I really enjoyed this one. There’s a down-to-earth quality here that’s very appealing. The simple beauty of these old songs and dances comes across beautifully. And I think it’s because of the love and commitment of this group. They weren’t trying to be authentic or musicological. They just wanted to present this music in their own arr. But in some ways, by not being authentic, they were. This is music that travelled across France centuries ago. The troubadours and minstrels would’ve made their own arr. as they went. I loved the folky feel to this – the good, but basically untrained voices in the simple and unadorned arr. And the recording is very clean and rich. Texts of the songs with translations would’ve been nice. But I’ll give this the full 5 stars. - CBC Radio 2


"Denis Armstrong - The Ottawa Sun"

Yesterday afternoon, Skye Consort’s blend of English, Irish and Scottish Music from the renaissance at Tabaret Hall with Canadian countre-tenor Matthew White proved so popular with audiences, all their CDs and merchandise sold out.

The Montréal-based ensemble’s self-effacing personality proved their sense of humour was completely at home with their high artistic integrity.

Combining skilful performing and clever story-telling music spun on period instruments and told with enough humour and pathos to make one laugh and cry.
- The Ottawa Sun


"Arthur Kaptainis - The Montreal Gazette"

Briefly Reviewed: Montreal’s ATMA label has made some daring forays into the realm of pseudo-baroque. One release mates counter-tenor Matthew White with a baroque-Celtic fusion band called the Skye Consort.

Production values are high. White sings purely and the accompanying instruments are finely integrated into the mix.

Yet however superbly recorded, this disc demonstrates what perceptive critics have long recognized: that the early-music movement, for all its historical pretensions, really reflects a folk aesthetic of the mid-to-late 20th century.
- The Montreal Gazette


"Réjean Beaucage - Voir"

Le titre plein d’humour du disque donne un bon indice sur son contenu. Les chansons et musiques composées entre les années1000 et 2000 que jouent Alex Kehler (violon), Amanda Keesmaat (violoncelle), Andrew Horton (contrebasse), et Seán Dagher (cistre) et leurs invités ne sont pas tristes, et le choix d’interpréter ces musiques anciennes comme airs de folk contemporain (ou presque), sans prise de tête musicologique, donne un beau résultat, qui rappelle le son du groupe français Malicorne. L’ensemble a fait paraître en 2000 un disque avec le contre-ténor Matthew White, mais l’on a négligé ici d’identifier le chanteur principal... Dagher est trop modeste. parce que sa voix compte beaucoup dans le plaisir que procurent ces airs intemporels. 3.5 sur 5. - Voir


"Daniel Roland - Ici"

L’ensemble de musique ancienne du Québec, le Skye Consort, s’est donné tout un contrat: un survol de la musique française couvrant un millénaire. Si, sur la pochette, il est question d’une période allant de l’an 1000 à 2000, ce n’est pas tout à fait exact. On demeure principalement cantonné au temps de la musique médiévale. Le quatuor chante et joue dans une heureuse polyvalance et il aborde l’interprétation comme si chacun faisait du folk. J’ai beaucoup aimé le célèbre “L’Amour de Moy”, datant de la Renaissance; la gambiste (sic) et soprano Amanda Keesmaat (sic) y fait merveille. - Ici


"Tamara Bernstein - The National Post"

On this debut disc from Montreal's Skye Consort, the tunes, mostly ballads and dances, are Celtic. But the sonorities are those of the early-period world -- baroque violin, cello and gamba -- spiced up with traditional percussion, plucked double bass and cittern. The androgynous countertenor voice of Matthew White tips the balance further toward the 18th century, which is where many of the tunes come from anyway. The marriage of the two worlds is made in heaven, thanks largely to Seán Dagher's magic touch as an arranger. Andrew Horton's double bass, Dagher's cittern and Thomas Gossage's discreet percussion keep the rhythm lively in dance tunes, while violinist Alex Kehler, cellist Amanda Keesmaat and gambist Betsy MacMillan are more likely to bring out the melancholy subtexts of the haunting melodies.
In Dagher's arrangement of The Outlandish Rogue, a Childe ballad in which the abducted woman turns the tables on her would-be murderer, the slightly dissonant, throbbing bass and anxious inner string voices reminded me of Benjamin Britten's best folk-song settings. In Cam Ye O'er From France, a 19th-century political satire, White's performance, as well as Dagher's arrangement, seemed to tap into the disturbing layers that often lie beneath seemingly innocuous folk-song texts. The playing is unfailingly expressive and, apart from occasional lapses in intonation, polished.
- The National Post


Discography

2008 "Courting Stories - True Love and Tragedy" British Isles songs of courtship. With Guest Singer Miranda Mulholland

2004 "Grands succès du deuxième millénaire -Musique Française 1000 - 2000" Greatest hits of the 2nd millenium. All of them. Songs from France and in French.

2004 "The Irish Heart" Irish Ballads and Laments your mom loves. With Guest Tenor Michael Slattery.

2000 "Traditional Celtic Melodies" Baroceltoneotrad. But not all Trad. And not all Celtic. With Guest Countre-Tenor Matthew White.

Coming in 2009 "Welsh Folk Songs and Tunes" with soprano Shannon Mercer.

Photos

Bio

One of our CDs almost got made into a PBS-style big-budget concert/video. Maybe next time. Formed in 1999, Skye Consort has toured and participated in chamber-music festivals across eastern Canada and the United States. From the start, the group’s goal has been to bring an art-music aesthetic to music from many different world traditions. Ensemble members Seán Dagher, Alex Kehler and Amanda Keesmaat highlight the ensemble’s unique blend of instruments with their own contemporary arrangements of seldom-heard vocal and instrumental pieces. Through these refreshing arrangements, the music finds new life. Skye Consort often has the pleasure of collaborating with guest musicians: bagpipes, hurdy-gurdy, percussion, flute, recorder, viola, etc.