Transatlantic Zodiac
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Transatlantic Zodiac

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada | SELF

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada | SELF
Band Folk World


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Feature on CBC's Atlantic Airwaves"

Radio Interview - CBC Atlantic Airwaves

"Feature on CBC's Atlantic Airwaves"

Radio Interview - CBC Atlantic Airwaves

"Stars are aligned for Transatlantic Zodiac Ensemble"

The Transatlantic Zodiac Ensemble sure knows how to make an impression. The seven-piece band from Nova Scotia surprised unsuspecting bar patrons in Fredericton last August when they set up an impromptu show in the middle of the Tannery.

"We just wanted to play some music for people," says the group's accordion player, Graham Scott. "It was a Friday night so we just carried our instruments down the stairs into the parking lot there and just stood up and started playing. People were really digging it. That's the kind of stuff this band thrives on, too. We like to be spontaneous and just do random stuff like that."

The last time they rolled through N.B. to support their debut release, It's a Mean Season for Silver Linings, the band lacked venues to perform in, so they took to the sidewalks of Fredericton and Saint John, playing their instruments to keep warm in the cool November air.

The ensemble's sound spans musical genres from grunge to klezmer to folk and everything in between. Their first show in a small, dingy pub in Antigonish, Nova Scotia was supposed to be their last. Lead singer Michael Dalton booked the gig, but felt his songs were missing something, so he called on some of his friends for help. Once the crew began rearranging his acoustic tracks into larger than life opuses, the band knew they were on to something.

"Once we played, we almost realized we didn't have a choice, we had to keep playing this music," Scott says. "The first year or so we just spent time taking the songs Mike had written and have been finding some really lush, dense arrangements for it using the instrumentation of the group. We have a lot of fun trying to take these songs and make them work."

If their high energy live shows are any indication, it's definitely working.

"One of the cool things about TZE is it's hard to pin down," Scott says. "But not for lack of having sounds to identify with. When you listen to it you can hear the Eastern European folk influence and then the gypsy influence. There's a lot of the ear to latch onto, but finding a way to put that into a description is the difficult part." - HereNB

"Transatlantic Zodiac Ensemble"

From the first seconds of Transatlantic Zodiac Ensemble’s debut album It’s A Mean Season for Silver Linings, you know you’re in for a record unlike any you’ve heard before.

It begins with the title track, and before you know it, you’re being hit with a barrage of sound stemming from the violins, accordions, guitars, mandolins, saxophones, bass and percussion instruments of this seven-piece group.

Every instrument heard on the record is an acoustic instrument, in other words, TZE (as they’re frequently referred to) could set up on any street corner anywhere (and do) and closely replicate the sounds heard on the album.

Drawing inspiration from eastern European folk, traditional Middle Eastern music, jazz, and grunge (to name a few), the group has successfully conjured a sound that is truly unique.

Amidst the amalgamation of genres, there is no loss of accessibility however, as exemplified on tracks such as Port Mouton Bay or Eternal Queen. Every member of the band at one point or another has partaken in the jazz program here at StFX and the technical talent and musicianship of the group shines through constantly.

Whether it’s Donald McLennan’s pleasantly unorthodox violin solo on the aforementioned Eternal Queen, or Steve Wilton and Ron Hynes drum and bass interplay in the groove-infused track The Way You Smile, the talent is obvious.

Much is to be said for the elusive lyrics of frontman Mike Dalton whose imagery is absolute, but song meanings are open to many different avenues of interpretation. Vocally and lyrically, Dalton’s style could only be described as bittersweet, as he is both skilfully soft-spoken and harshly sarcastic depending on the appropriate time.

A standout track is undoubtedly Snowflake as we hear the harmonics of Dalton’s drop-tuned acoustic set the tone for Wilton’s thunderous snare drum beat to enter the fray. The saxophone subtly duplicates the vocal melody before the entire band enters at 1:20, at which point I challenge anyone to keep their feet still.

A similar challenge could be issued to any track on the album and even more so to their live show which you can catch this Friday at Immaculata Auditorium (which is all ages) at 7:30 p.m. or at the Orient Lounge (19+) at 10:30 p.m.

With It’s A Mean Season for Silver Linings, Transatlantic Zodiac Ensemble have staked their claim on the Maritime indie music scene as some of its premier up-and-comers. Any music collection would be strengthened by this debut effort and it would be wise to keep an eye on this ensemble. - The Xaverian Weekly (Andrew Rankin)

"Transatlantic Zodiac Ensemble Brings World Sounds to Inverness"

For those who like elaborate cluster-rock ensembles, the newly-formed Transatlantic Zodiac Ensemble is a welcome addition to the east coast live music circuit.

The Antigonish-born band formed last summer when Michael Dalton, Donald MacLennan, and Graham Scott came together in an impromptu appearance at a local bar. After a winter of working on their sound and recruiting other musicians, they’ve been up and running ever since. The group is fronted by Dalton’s guitar and vocals, MacLennan on violin and mandolin, Scott on Accordion, Martin Davidson adding saxophone, Ron Hynes on Bass and Steven Wilton on drums and percussion.

True to the “Transatlantic” theme, TZE’s sound is a delightful enmeshing of Yiddish klezmer, afro-beat, a smattering of whatever other folk sounds struck their fancy, all strung along on a contemporary indie sensibility for something that’s reminiscent of a mellower Gogol Bordello. That comparison ends though, with the vocals in the opening of Port Mouton Bay, where Dalton’s voice evokes some unexpected nostalgia for late ’90s Dispatch. Altogether, it’s a combo that promises high energy live shows.
- What's Goin On

"Transatlantic Zodiac Ensemble Rocks House"

THIS IS my last week working a summer theatre gig in Antigonish, which is why my columns have been somewhat Pictou-centric the last few months.

Today, I head back to the city, to the Atlantic Fringe Festival, the 30th Atlantic Film Festival and to many parties, theatrical experiences, concerts and soirees. One invite came this week to catch the CD launch from the boys of Transatlantic Zodiac Ensemble.

Tucked away above the slightly faulty neon beckoning of Wong’s Chinese Restaurant in Antigonish is a little spot called the Orient Lounge, a bar and café that plays host to some great alternative bands and acts. I climbed the stairs, having received an invitation to attend the CD launch just two hours earlier and feeling like I really was off my leash.

Transatlantic Zodiac Ensemble’s MySpace page describes their musical genre as Afro-beat/Chinese/Spanish pop, which totally confuses this little Brit guy. With violent violin, action-packed accordion, sexy saxophones and drums and guitar beating us over the head into a delicious delirium, I have to encourage you all to check these boys out. I was not ready for this experience.

TZE (as they are abbreviated) feel their music entirely. They are highly skilled musicians that thrive on the beat and power of seven instruments in vibrant unison.

The vocals of Michael Dalton are heartfelt and strong, as are his lyrics. TZE has a real sense of the theatrical, cutting loose on occasion, grabbing my guts with some seemingly unhinged but perfectly co-ordinated antics. Their CD is called It’s A Mean Season for Silver Linings, and I suggest you need this in your collection.
- Chronicle Herald


It's a Mean Season for Silver Linings - 2010
1. It's a Mean Season for Silver Linings
2. All Our Gravity
3. Port Mouton Bay
4. Eternal Queen
5. To Wash Away Our Names
6. Stained Glass
7. Snowflake
8. The Way You Smile
9. Beyond the End



Transatlantic Zodiac are a unique blend of folk music and fervent gypsy melodies with thoughtful lyrics and powerful vocals.

Their debut offering, 'It's a Mean Season for Silver Linings', takes inspiration from Eastern European folk music, Middle Eastern melodies, Indian ragas, American jazz, klezmer music, grunge rock, and much more, all set against the backbone of driving rhythms and street folk music.

Transatlantic Zodiac's first three years of touring has brought them to such amazing festivals as Evolve 2011 and 2013 (Antigonish, NS), Sunseekers 2010 (Chance Harbour, NB), In the Dead of Winter 2011 (Halifax, NS) and the Dooryard Arts Festival 2010, 2011 & 2013 and many other great venues throughout the Atlantic Provinces.

Their music has been compared to other bands such as Beirut, Hey Rosetta!, and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.