West of Mabou
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West of Mabou

Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2016

Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Established on Jan, 2016
Band Folk Celtic

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"West of Mabou"

Named after a small town on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia and based in Saskatchewan, Canada, West Of Mabou bring a fair deal of traditional feeling and sounds of Scotland and Cape Breton to this their debut album. A mastery of their instruments is displayed from the onset with the ' Rannie MacLellan ' set, a sign of what's to come.

The backbeat on the album is not to be underestimated as it sits at the heart of some stellar playing, with intricate finger work on both the pipes and fiddles showcasing the top class musicianship undeniably, the percussion compliments the playing, signature changes, and does not overpower, rather the beats enhance the drive, and help to emphasize the many finger and bow movements providing a tribal rhythm for some technically difficult tunes made to sound effortlessly easy,

There are many highlights on the album including ' The Hornpipes ' set, ' Slip Jigs ' and a lovely arrangement of the Gordon Duncan composition ' Sleeping Tune '

Two sold out album launch gigs in their home province have set the band up for playing to a wider audience, they will be welcomed and enjoyed wherever they go as they add their own touch to traditional music and give it a distinctive contemporary blend and sound.

There are very few Celtic bands that have used drum kits to great effect, Moving Hearts are one that have excelled at it though, and I can't help but think that a live gig with West Of Mabou would have you dancing on your chairs, swirling you partners around the dance floor never pausing for breath, and moving hearts and feet to the wee hours.

A highly recommended album for an introduction to traditional music with a contemporary twist. - Fatea Magazine


"West of Mabou"

Delivered with the utmost of passion is the spirited performance of West of Mabou’s self-titled album. With a distinctly Celtic flair the songs teem with life and vigor. Fiddles, bagpipes, and guitars come together to create such a compelling perfectly formed sound. The way the songs ebb and flow gives them a naturalistic hue. By opting for such an approach, completely acoustic, the songs seem to transcend any modernity focusing on an ancient celebratory sound. Even without saying a word the album has an unspoken journey one filled with dazzling displays of light.

“Rannie MacLellan” starts things off on a stellar note, as the bagpipes show off their intricate ornate style and understanding of melody. With a jaunty infectious rhythm is the freewheeling spirit of “The Foxhunter”. Subdued and introspective in scope is the mellowed atmosphere of “Slip Jigs”. Like a fantastic rush of sound “Gordon’s Reels” is stellar with its multiple layers interacting in fantastic unexpected ways. Quite dreamy is the spacious work of “Sleeping Tune”. Offering a quieter take on the sound the song has a languid pace, opting for a fragile structure to take hold. Quite glorious with its airy feel is the tender fiddle work of “E set”. Drums play an important role on the bombastic beauty of “Clumsy Lover”. Ending the album off on a stately note is the regal bagpipes of “The Mist Covered Mountains of Home”.

Timeless and infinitely tasteful, West of Mabou’s self-titled album simply soars to the skies. - Skope Magazine


"Great Celtic Sounds From Saskatchewan: West of Mabou"

Late last month, I saw a notice flit across our Twitter feed about a new album from a Celtic-style band based in Saskatchewan called “West of Mabou.” Curious, I searched for it on Spotify – and darned if I can’t stop listening to it.

My better half, who comes from the United Kingdom, originally introduced me to Celtic-style pop through such groups as The Corrs, and I was also entranced by the sounds of a ceilidh band playing at a friend’s wedding in a Scottish castle (although we failed utterly at the dancing). I was thus well primed to enjoy this album – and what a fabulous one it is.

The album kicks off with the uptempo “Rannie MacLellan,” which combines great fiddle playing with a seductive, almost hiphop percussion, and adds danceable pipes. Throughout such highlights as “Asleep at the Wheel” and “Hornpipes” the group successfully combines traditional Celtic sounds with a very modern sensibility, making the music both beguiling and accessible. (I would be surprised if anyone can stay seated when they play live!)

Occasionally, Celtic music – which often begins with a basic musical theme and develops it both through variations on the theme and soloing by different instruments – can seem a bit repetitive, but West of Mabou never fall prey to that malady. Each tune keeps the listener’s interest throughout, and the musicianship of all five members is impressive.

We posted last month about some of the great music coming out of Saskatchewan; this is one more group to add to that growing list. If you enjoy traditional music delivered with an occasional modern twist – and don’t mind the temptation to chair dance when you’re listening to this at work – this album is highly recommended. Hopefully West of Mabou will tour in the near future somewhere closer to us than Saskatchewan as I very much want to hear them live!

~ L

PS – West of Mabou, you had me from the first track – but the bagpipes on the closing piece, “The Mist Covered Mountains of Home,” sealed the deal. - Great Dark Wonder


"West of Mabou"

"Great band. Great CD... I can't stop listening." - The Celticset, Scotland


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

Named one of CBC Saskatchewan's 2017 Artists to Watch, and supported by Creative Saskatchewan, West of Mabou performs lively dance music steeped in the rich traditions of Scottish and Cape Breton fiddle and pipe tunes.

Based in Saskatchewan, Canada, the band unites the talents of Scott Benson (fiddle), Roberta Wallace (fiddle), Alex Rasmussen (pipes/whistles), Justin Easton (guitar), and Jared Dormer (drums).

Each of the members is an experienced performer in their own right, having performed at festivals, competitions, pubs, and ceilidhs around the world, including the World Pipe Band Championships, Canmore Highland Games, Western Canadian Music Awards, Canada Cup of Curling, and Ford World Men's Curling Championships.

"If West Of Mabou's self titled album doesn't get you chair dancing, frankly the grey suit beckons." -Fatea Magazine

Tour History:

As a band:

·      2017 Celtic Classic in Bethlehem, USA- Main stage performance at the largest Celtic festival in North America, attracting over 260,000 attendees

·      Canadian Tours

·      Mid-Winter Celtic Festival Headliner (Regina, SK)

·      Saskatchewan Highland Games (Regina, SK)

As individuals:

·      Natalie MacMaster / Donnell Leahy Christmas Tour

·      World Pipe Band Championships (Glasgow, UK)

·      Piping Live! (Glasgow, UK)

·      Canmore Highland Games

·      BreakOut West

·      Western Canadian Music Industry Awards

·      JUNOfest

·      Ford World Men’s Curling Championships

·      Canada Cup of Curling

·      Kenosee Lake Kitchen Party

·      Glengarry Highland Games

·      Grand Opening of Mosaic Place Arena

·      Saskatchewan Games Opening/Closing Ceremonies

·      Boxwood Music Festival (Halifax, NS)

Accomplishments

·      Featured on Celtic Music Radio 95FM- Glasgow, Scotland

·      Fatea Magazine Review- Poole, UK

·      Featured on Maui Celtic Radio Show- Maui, USA

·      Featured on Readifolk Radio Show- Reading, UK

·      Skope Magazine Album Review- Boston, USA

·      Album of the Week on Blues and Roots Radio Worldwide Network, airing on 4 continents

·      Debut album hit #21 on the iTunes Canada World Music Chart

·      Great Dark Wonder Album Review- Pennsylvania, USA

·      Global News TV Performance- Regina, Canada

·      CBC Saskatchewan 2017 Artist to Watch

·      Featured on Irish & Celtic Music Podcast- Austin, USA (largest Celtic podcast in the world)

·      Featured on Celticset Radio Show- Hebrides, Scotland

·      Album recording with multi-JUNO-winning engineer and producer, John DS Adams

·      Creative Saskatchewan Sound Recording Grant Recipient

·      Mid-Winter Celtic Festival Headliner- Regina, SK

·      Saskatchewan Highland Games- Regina, SK

·      Canadian Tours, including one with Diamond Jubilee medal recipient, Troy MacGillivray

Band Members