One of the finest in its genre
Tom Knapp | Lancaster, PA USA | 06/28/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Music was a constant in the Leahy family's lives growing up in Lakefield, Ontario, and they honed their skills playing rural fairs and weddings in the 1970s and '80s. That must be why eight of the Leahy brothers and sisters make their music seem so effortless. Likewise, it must have something to do with their seeming delight in the craft; to see or hear them play is to witness a group of talented musicians who truly love what they're doing.
That sound and passion comes through clearly on their self-titled debut album, which years since its release remains one of the best examples of spirited Celtic music.
Don't let the Narada label fool you. Once equated with wispy background music, Narada has since made an effort to remake its image with a strong Celtic traditional base. Leahy is a fine example.
The all-instrumental album has 10 tracks of some of the finest traditional tunes I've heard. Each is played with masterful aplomb, with a Cape Bretony feel which only strengthens my conviction that Canada is home to the new generation of Celtic master musicians. The strongest element of a strong family group is fiery Donnell Leahy, who burns through many of the tracks with a fierce kind of fiddling seldom paralleled. When he's not busy setting fire to his strings and blurring the fingerboard with wild grace and grace notes, he slows down for soulful, passionate melodies with a lush Gypsy spirit.
The fiddle is Leahy's focus, so if you don't like the instrument, don't buy the album. Besides Donnell, brothers Doug and Angus also add fiddle layers to the tunes. The band also features brother Frank on drums and sisters Erin on keyboards, Siobheann on bass, Maria on acoustic guitar and mandolin, and Agnes on percussive stepdancing. Together, they create a package of many moods, from the biting "Cape Breton Medley" and melancholy "The Coulin" to the frenzied/mellow "Czardas" and whirlwind "The Call to Dance." The album kicks off with the potent "B Minor," with powerful fiddle solos overtop solid keyboard and backing musicianship, which sets the tone for all that follows.
Pick this one up. It's a hint of the future of Celtic music.
by Tom Knapp, Rambles.(n e t) editor"
Fresh, bright Celtic fiddle music that will set your toes a-
Brianna Neal | USA | 10/01/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"From an original act of eleven (eleven!) Canadian brothers and sisters, the current core of nine siblings keeps the Leahy family tradition alive in music and song. Featured is fiery fiddling virtuoso Donnell Leahy, with brothers Doug and Angus also on fiddle and sister Erin keeping pace and setting the tone with delightfully intricate keyboard accompaniments. Most of the tunes are traditional, but the underpinnings are decidedly modern - jazzy piano with bass, guitar and trap set. If you decide to get up and start dancing to this lively music, you might not be alone; Agnes Leahy adds to the percussion with her own step dancing, which the group regards as way of making music, not just something to be performed to music. Cool! I've always thought of dance that way, too. There's strength in numbers, and this album proves it. Leahy's love for their material is obvious, and their enthusiasm--multiplied ninefold--is infectious. Listen to this album and you'll be grinning from ear to ear. Truly a fun listening experience! Leahy has since put out two other albums that I'm aware of: "Lakefield" and "In All Things." I, for one, can't wait for more!