Alexis MacIsaac & Calum MacKenzie | The Bay Street Sessions

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Folk: Celtic Folk Folk: Celtic Fusion Moods: Instrumental
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The Bay Street Sessions

by Alexis MacIsaac & Calum MacKenzie

A piano and fiddle duo with a modern approach to Celtic music, featuring guest artists John Dahms, Ross Martin, Angus MacKenzie, Kenneth MacKenzie, Greg Brown, Ronald MacKenzie, Philip Victor Bova, and Eilidh MacKenzie.
Genre: Folk: Celtic Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Sarah's Ashes
Alexis MacIsaac & Calum MacKenzie
4:11 $0.99
2. The Donegal Tinker (feat. Ross Martin & John Dahms)
Alexis MacIsaac
4:33 $0.99
3. Toughie's
Alexis MacIsaac & Calum MacKenzie
4:42 $0.99
4. Brothers (feat. Kenneth MacKenzie & Angus MacKenzie)
Calum MacKenzie
4:28 $0.99
5. Session for Danny (feat. Ross Martin, Greg Brown & John Dahms)
Alexis MacIsaac
4:58 $0.99
6. McKechnie's Farewell
Calum MacKenzie
4:44 $0.99
7. Macedonian Oro (feat. Angus MacKenzie & Ross Martin)
Alexis MacIsaac
3:56 $0.99
8. Gruagach Òg an Fhuilt Bhàin (feat. Ronald MacKenzie & Kenneth MacKenzie)
Calum MacKenzie & Alexis MacIsaac
3:29 $0.99
9. Tunes with Johnny D. (feat. John Dahms, Ross Martin & Philip Victor Bova)
Alexis MacIsaac
3:24 $0.99
10. Slàinte Do Ailean Mac’illiosa
Alexis MacIsaac & Calum MacKenzie
5:21 $0.99
11. The Mabou Knot (feat. Eilidh MacKenzie)
Alexis MacIsaac & Calum MacKenzie
3:23 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
A note

This project evolved from a desire to integrate two distinct musical styles, in recognition that what is different can also be complementary. Although we grew up in separate places, with unique traditions, we each cultivated and nurtured a profound love of music rooted in our respective cultural backgrounds. It is this special affinity and respect for music which we hope reaches you, the listener, as well as our desire for you to discern a labour of love first conceived in our home on Bay Street.

Many thanks to John, Greg, Ross, Angus, Eilidh, Kenneth, and Ronald for your enduring gift of music.

We would also be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge the kind hospitality of Janet and Phil. Thanks especially to Phil for your keen ear and guidance.

Finally, we wish to extend our deepest gratitude to our parents and siblings: we are blessed.

Alexis and Calum

1. Sarah's Ashes
Sarah's Ashes (Tommy Peoples), McDonagh's Salute, O'Sullivan's March
Tommy Peoples is a renowned figure in Irish music who, in addition to being an incredible musician, is also a prolific composer. Sarah’s Ashes ranks amongst our favourite pieces and thus we thought it a fitting start to the album. It’s followed by two lively tunes, McDonagh’s Salute and O’Sullivan’s March.

2. The Donegal Tinker
Paddy Taylor's (Paddy Taylor), Donegal Tinker, House of Hamil
Alexis: I learned this version of Paddy Taylor’s from Solas’ album, “Sunny Spells and Scattered Showers.” It’s followed by a tune recorded by Cathal Hayden, the Donegal Tinker. John and I end our set with House of Hamil, a grumbly three-part reel.

3. Toughie’s
The Pipe on the Hob, Toughie's (Alexis MacIsaac), Magic Shoes (Alexis MacIsaac), The Mouse in the Kitchen (Colin Farrell)
This set starts with a popular session tune, The Pipe on the Hob. The next tune, Toughie’s, was written for our nephew, Oscar, whose infinite energy keeps us perpetually entertained. Magic Shoes pays tribute to Calum’s dancing abilities. He had a penchant for twinkling his toes as a child only when he was in possession of his “magic shoes.” We end with a lovely Colin Farrell tune, The Mouse in the Kitchen.

4. Brothers
Shay MacMullin (Kenneth MacKenzie), Lucy Campbell, The Old Copper Plate, Cuimhneachadh mo Mhàthair (Calum MacKenzie), Bessie MacIntyre’s (William MacLean), Twisted Fingers (Duncan Johnstone)
Calum: This set pays homage to the Mabou Coal Mines of Cape Breton, where my siblings and I were fortunate to grow up. Our parents instilled in us a love of Gaelic culture and tradition which we carry with us today. We dedicate this set to them.

5. Session for Danny
Willie Coleman's, The Shoemaker's Fancy, Celtic Colours #2 (Brenda Stubbert), Shanghai Seanchai (Michael Hynes)
Alexis: Danny O’Connell, a beautiful player from the Ottawa Valley, was responsible for introducing me to Irish music. Sadly, Danny passed away a number of years ago, but his spirit and memory live on in the notes played at sessions across Ottawa. Greg and John join me for this track to recreate a session vibe in his honour.

6. McKechnie’s Farewell
McKechnie’s Farewell (John Sommerville), The Hag's Purse, Nellie Garvey's (Eamon Doorley, IMRO, MCPS)
Calum: Alexis taught me McKechnie’s Farewell after learning it at the 2014 Celtic Colours Festival in Cape Breton from John Sommerville, a great Scottish musician. It’s followed by The Hag’s Purse, an Irish jig, and Nellie Garvey’s, a kicking tune written by Eamon Doorley.

7. Macedonian Oro
Macedonian Oro, Farewell to Whalley Range (Mike McGoldrick), Fraher's
Alexis: Flook recorded a spectacular version of the Macedonian Oro on their album, “Flatfish,” which I have arranged for the fiddle. I follow it with a slip jig by Mike McGoldrick and Fraher’s, a jig I learned from Ottawa-based musician, Duncan Gillis.

8. Gruagach Òg an Fhuilt Bhàin
(Dὸmhnall Ailein Dhὸmhnail na Bainich)
Calum: My father, Ronald MacKenzie, kindly lent us his voice for the album to sing a song from his native home of South Uist, Scotland. The song is by Dὸmhnall Ailein Dhὸmhnail na Bainich, a bard and a crofter from Daliburgh, South Uist. The song tells a tale of a girl named Peggy MacAuley whom Dὸmhnall met at a dance in Lochboisdale. Although fate would have it that they would never see each other again, she left such an impression that he wished to compose a song to remember her by. In an odd twist of fate, my mother, Maureen MacKenzie, who visited the isles as a young Gaelic learner, heard the song sung by Peggy herself years later.

9. Tunes with Johnny D.
Dinny O'Brien's (Paddy O'Brien), The Ewe, Pigeon on the Gate
Alexis: John and I have been playing music together since we were teenagers and I count him among my major musical influences. I learned Dinny O’Brien’s from Martin Mc Cormack, a fantastic uilleann piper from Monaghan, Ireland. The last two tunes come from John.

10. Slàinte do Ailean Mac’Illiosa
Kilts on Fire (Howie MacDonald and Brenda Stubbert), Hughie Rorey MacKinnon, Slàinte do Ailean Mac’Illiosa (Alexis MacIsaac), Memories of Tony Bekkers (Alexis MacIsaac)
This set is dedicated to two great men whom we’ve lost, Allan Gillis and Tony Bekkers. Allan was a proud Cape Bretoner who was an enthusiastic fixture in Ottawa’s Cape Breton music scene. Tony Bekkers, late uncle to Alexis, kindly encouraged his niece’s musical endeavours. We begin with a beautiful march written by Howie MacDonald and Brenda Stubbert, followed by a lively strathspey and two reels composed in honour of Allan and Tony.

11. The Mabou Knot
(Alexis MacIsaac and Calum MacKenzie)
We wrote this tune to play for our first dance at our wedding, July 11, 2015, in Mabou, Cape Breton. We are so happy that our sister-in-law Eilidh is able to join us on harp for this rendition.

Musicians, in order of appearance:
Alexis MacIsaac, fiddle
Calum MacKenzie, piano
John Dahms, fiddle (tracks 2, 5, and 9)
Ross Martin, guitar (tracks 2, 5, 7, and 9)
Angus MacKenzie, border pipes (track 4) and low whistle (tracks 6 and 7)
Kenneth MacKenzie, fiddle (track 4) and highland pipes (track 8)
Greg Brown, concertina (track 5)
Ronald MacKenzie, vocals (track 8)
Philip Victor Bova, acoustic bass (track 9)
Eilidh MacKenzie, harp (track 11)

Tunes traditional unless otherwise noted.

Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Phillip Victor Bova, Bova Sound

Additional recording:
Hector MacInnes, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig Studio, Isle of Skye, Scotland
Allan Dewar, Celtic Music Interpretive Centre, Judique, Cape Breton

Produced by Alexis MacIsaac, Calum MacKenzie, and Philip Victor Bova

Graphic Design by Margie Beaton

Photos by Shelby and Simon Photography

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