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Celtic Canadian Connections – Huffington Post


Clear, expressive singing, which is among the best on today’s Celtic folk scene. – Stephen Winick, Huffington Post

The exerpt below is from an article called “Celtic Canadian Connections” in the Huffington Post – Posted:

“I’ll begin with Spinning Yarns, the brand-new solo CD from Norah Rendell, a former member of the international Irish band The Outside Track and a current member of Twin Cities band Two Tap Trio. Her goal for the CD was to “feature the songs of Canadian singers of Irish, Scottish, and English descent for whom old songs provided connection to memories of special times, people, and places.” To accomplish this, she did extensive research into archival collections and found some truly lovely texts and melodies. The star source singer of the album turns out to be Angelo Dornan, a New Brunswick singer recorded by Helen Creighton in the 1950s (hear his singing here). Dornan’s repertoire included a lot of terrific and unusual songs, including the album’s opener, “Letty Lee,” which details the courtship of two unusually eloquent and witty lovers. Rendell sings three more of Dornan’s songs, and also mines collections by MacEdward Leach (Newfoundland), W. Roy MacKenzie (Nova Scotia), Edith Fowke (Ontario), Sidney Robertson Cowell (Wisconsin), and Franz Rickaby (Wisconsin). While paying all due respect to the sources, Rendell wasn’t afraid to combine elements of her favorite versions, adhering to her strong personal vision of Canadian (and sometimes American) tradition, based solidly in old-world folksongs.”

“Like Carlos Núñez, Rendell was an early music recorder major at university before becoming a Celtic musician, and this must have helped her ear for arrangements and her skills on flute and whistle, which add to the impressive talents on the disc. Using these skills, she took her newly-polished gems and set them in arrangements featuring guitar and bouzouki from her husband Brian Miller, guitar and mandola from Randy Gosa, Celtic harp from Ailie Robertson, and her own flutes, whistles, and harmonium. This work has everything: traditional songs I can’t remember hearing before (“When I Wake in the Morning,” “St. Patrick’s Day”), unusual versions of favorites (“Here’s a Health Unto All True Lovers,” “Carrion Crow”), sparkling arrangements that complement each song, and thoughtfully written notes that honor the source singers, collectors, and musicians. And I haven’t even mentioned her clear, expressive singing, which is among the best on today’s Celtic folk scene. It all adds up to a brilliant album I could listen to all day–in fact, I just have!”

Purchase the album now on itunes, cdbaby, or bandcamp!

Preview of music from “Spinning Yarns”

Check out this video from a rehearsal for a concert presented by the Celtic Junction in Saint Paul on January 31st.  The song  features Brian Miller on bouzouki, Randy Gosa on guitar and yours truly, Norah Rendell on vocals. For the concert, we tried using a single large diaphragm microphone.  It is a set-up I have always wanted to […]

Vintage Songs Kickstarted – We did it!

I am delighted to announce that the “Vintage songs from Canada’s Countryside” Kickstarter project has been fully funded at 130%! The new album will be released early in 2015.

You have energized and inspired me to make this project a reality. Thank you!

Support Norah’s Album project on Kickstarter

Support Norah’s Kickstarter campaign today and join us on this journey of recording, mixing, mastering and designing an album dedicated to traditional songs of Irish Canada. The campaign is running now until December 4th.

These ballads hold stories that connect us to our history and collective memory, both conscious and unconscious, in ways that only traditional music can.

Follow the links and help Norah spread the word!

Updates on the solo album

The album recording process is rolling along and I’m thrilled with how the songs are developing! Brian Miller, Randy Gosa, Dáithí Sproule, Ailie Robertson and Adam Kiesling have each brought a unique perspective and sound to this project. I feel it must be said that when it comes to accompanists of traditional song, this collection of musicians is truly an embarrassment of riches!

Norah Rendell