The McDades
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The McDades


Band World Celtic


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"Mainstage finale leaves audience screaming for more, and more"

McDades make it something special

Mainstage finale leaves audience screaming for more, and more

By Stephen Pedersen, Halifax Chronicle Herald
Review of Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival set '07

The McDades, Edmonton's smokin' roots, Celtic and traditional band, ripped up the mainstage finale in the tent on Blockhouse Hill on Saturday night at the Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival, with a command performance for a lively audience that leapt to its feet and screamed for it like starving wolves.

The McDades were something special, all right, but down here where we eat, sleep, live and breathe Celtic music, they didn't sound all that Celtic, even though the influence of fast fiddle reels could be felt in their extraordinary repertoire of improvised solos and unisons of fiddle and alto pennywhistle over Middle Eastern-influenced Balkan scales.

Rhythmically, cajon drummer-percussionist Eric Breton and guitarist Simon Marion laid down a continuous pattern of variable accents, aided and abetted by bassist Solon McDade, that acted like a red-hot griddle sprinkled with popcorn kernels. It drove — as it was meant to do — fiddler Shannon Johnson and alto pennywhistler Jeremiah McDade to extremes of technical acrobatics. Though the dancing popcorn that resulted was musical, it left us with a craving for more and more, just like the real thing.

Jeremiah McDade, a graduate of McGill University's jazz program, also played soprano sax in a solo or two that would have fit right in among the best bands at the Atlantic Jazz Festival. He sang as well, as did his front-line siblings (Solon played bass up front rather than behind the band), and then, just when we thought we had heard it all, Jeremiah amazed and dumbfounded us with multi-phonic, didgeridoo-like throat singing on a hot jazzy riff.

This is a group that has to be heard to be believed, and even then you don't believe it. - Halifax Chronicle Herald, August '07

"McDades Make a Joyful Celtic Noise"

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Irish music in mid-March is as inevitable as Sousa in July or "The Nutcracker" in December. Amid the wealth of Celtic activities this time of year, Monday's Institute of Musical Traditions concert with the McDades was a standout. Whether the McDades' style is classified as rock with an Irish brogue or traditional music with a jazz feel, their performance was especially exciting in the intimate setting of Rockville's St. Mark Presbyterian Church.

These Canadians are skilled musicians who play and sing as harmoniously as a family. Which they are: Siblings Solon McDade (bass), Jeremiah McDade (woodwinds) and Shannon Johnson (fiddle) grew up making music together. Teamed with Francois Taillefer (drums) and Yann Falquet (guitar), they're a tight quintet that punches through the boundaries of traditional music.
It was nearly impossible to stay seated as they injected jazz and swing into Celtic and Quebecois tunes. Middle Eastern melodies crept into "Dance of the Seven Veils," and the blues were all over "McKinley Morganfield's," a tribute to Muddy Waters. The band's witty banter and songs like "Jonny's Flush," about a bellybutton, kept a jolly tone throughout the evening.

The Dizzy Gillespie of the Irish tin whistle, Jeremiah McDade explored the extremes of his instrument, sliding notes and producing multiphonics with his flying fingers. Johnson's confident fiddling led the band, her fluent technique and great dynamic contrasts proving excellent musicianship. Percussionist Taillefer incorporated Tuvan throat singing into the mix. His solo demonstration in the ancient art of vocalizing multiple pitches simultaneously was remarkable.

-- Gail Wein, Washington Post - The Washington Post

"fRoots Reviews The Debut CD "For Reel""

Cool tunes with a celtic root, but much wider inspiration and intentions from this smart, chic Canadian five-piece. Spot-on playing, keen band production and a spirit of adventure mark it as more than just another exercise in giving old melodies contemporary resonance. This kicks! - fRoots

"Dirty Linen Article by Tom Nelligan"

"From Edmonton, Alberta, come The McDades, one of the most innovative Celtic-rooted bands I’ve heard lately… They’re both adventures and mischievous as they play with tempos and experiment with unconventional but generally very successful, arrangements. Johnny’s flush/The Boiling Hen is a fast reel set in which fiddle and whistle are joined by pedal steel guitar and Indian Ghatam (clay drum), and the familiar Rocky Road To Dublin gets a complex, jazzy beat and an almost abstract fiddle break in the middle. The cleverest arrangement has to be on the breakneck, Quebecois call-and-response song V’la L’Bon Vent which is backed by Santoor (Persian hammered dulcimer) and tabla. It’s hot stuff, and very entertaining." - Dirty Linen, January 2004

"London Free Press Concert Review"

"As the McDades closed the opening night... most of the heat was finally up on stage... The McDades found their groove somewhere between a down-home kitchen party, a jazzy after-hours club and a folk festival... blazing and soothing."

James Reaney London free press - London Free Press, by James Reaney

"Penguin Eggs CD Review"

“By and large "For Reel" features original tunes-Johnson's "Billy's Kitchen Polkas" being a stellar standout--written in the Celtic tradition. But she and her siblings, Solon (bass) and Jeremiah McDade (various wind instruments), cleverly andj judiciously intertwine their various instrumental pieces with acoustic jazz. Seriously accomplished musicians these three, they get all pistons pumping on the niftly-titled opening "McKinley Morganfield". Muddy Waters, I'm sure would have approved. ... "V'la l'Bon Vent" roars along like a river in spring spate. "For Reel" album of remarkable poise and proficiency.”

Roddy Campbell--Penguin Eggs - Penguin Eggs, Article by Roddy Campbell

"The McDades Wow The Weeklies"

“...The McDades are national treasures.”
Kirby See Magazine - Edmonton

“One of the Celtic Events of the decade in this City.”
Peter North Vue Weekly - Edmonton

“This is one of the finest Celtic sounds to have graced audiences in Vancouver in recent times...”
Brendan Flynn Celtic Connection - Vancouver

“The World Beat of Celtic music knows no bounds in capable hands of the McDades”
Dean Cottrill Hour - Montreal

“This is one family that works and plays together extremely well. On stage, however, is where their intimate connections combine with immense talent to provide the audience with an incredible musical experience.”
The Horses Mouth - Whitehorse, Yukon

"Not simply content to put a new polish on their traditions, the
McDades are crafting a new Canadian sound."
Tom Knapp Rambles Nov. 15th 2003

"For Reel will give its listeners an adrenaline rush and leave them in a blissful state. Then if they're smart, they will hit the replay button and take another musical journey with the McDades."
Patti-Lynn Herrington Cranky Crow World Music - Various Weekly Publications Across Canada & The US


"For Reel" 2004
"Bloom" 2007 Juno Award Winner, 2 time 2006 Canadian Folk Music Award Winner, 2007 Independent Music Award Winner



WINNER 2007 Juno Award for Best Roots & Traditional Album of The Year - Group.

WINNERS of TWO 2006 Canadian Folk Music Awards - Best World Group - Best Instrumental Group.

2007 Independent Music Award WINNERS for Best World Group (traditional).

The McDades celebrate the very idea of what it means to be Canadian musicians. In a country of such varied cultures and peoples, the McDades have successfully found a unique voice.

Coming from a background of Canadian folk, Classical, Celtic, and Jazz, siblings: Shannon, Solon, and Jeremiah grew up performing together. Add to the mix a multi-faceted guitarist, who hails from the west coast, and a percussionist who has traveled the world studying global rhythms, and you will have a truly Canadian sound.

With vocal harmonies that can only come from a family, and an obvious love for each other and their music, the McDades’ sound is rooted in the spirit of improvisation. Encompassing energetic instrumentals and beautiful vocals in both English and French, “the McDades find their groove somewhere between a down-home kitchen party, a jazzy after hours club, and a folk festival.” (London Free Press)

With the release of their second CD “Bloom”, the McDades continue to stretch the boundaries of modern tradition.

Bloom Nominations
- 2007 Juno Award
- Two 2007 Western Canadian Music Awards
- Two 2007 US Independent Music Awards
- Four 2006 Canadian Folk Music Awards