"CANTIGA's Magic Steps CD, like their previous recording, Once Upon A Time, is built upon an emotional content which is indeed a pleasure through which to contemplate one's own discovery of the world. You will find elegance, simplicity, grandeur, pride, stateliness, beauty, eloquent sorrow, and whimsical merriment.
Magic Steps fittingly, opens with The Horses Brawl. It showcases a counterpoint viola da gamba performance by guest artist Alexandre (Sasha) Raykov. The piece's embodied emotion is one of measured euphoria midst a dignified call to adventure --- as if to declare: "Onward and Upward!"
The Irish Traditional Aran Boat Song, cut #5, is my favorite Magic Steps selection. I indeed think it epitomizes the group CANTIGA and, yes, evokes for me fragile, haunting feelings. Might I suggest a glass of port and a late-night, quiet, candle-lit room to accompany this particular song. In fact, before you polish off that port, you might give ear to Ja Nuns Hon Pris, Ganglot, and Cantiga 100 (cuts #6, #8 and #9). I suspect that these songs will prove to be 'sleeper' favorites endearing themselves inextricably through repeated listening. For me, that's already beginning to happen.
Bottom line: Magic Steps presents all the familiar strides of CANTIGA in top form: Martha Gay's steady hand on harp, the unmistakable playful sound of Bob Bielefeld's woodwinds, the simple, articulate warmth of Max Dyer's cello, all uplifted by the percussion of Ray Dillard. The result is, quite simply, a musical world to delight in visiting. And especially, in the case of this CD, the collection takes on a more-than-usual, personal importance to all of us in its capture of some of the last recording sessions of passionate playing of the late CANTIGA co-founder, fiddler Malcolm Smith (1951-1996). Magic Steps is appropriately dedicated to his memory." Owain Phyfe, Nightwatch Recording
"This CD belongs in the collection of everyone who enjoys early music, energetic dance tunes, or exceptionally fine fiddle playing."
"Magic Steps" is a mix of works performed over several years by the members of the group Cantiga (Spanish for "song") The arrangements are fresh, lively and a delight to listen to. You can certainly hear the vibrant passion and evident joy that these musicians have for their work in each tune."
Maggie Boleyn, Webmistress, The Tudor Times http://www.tudortimes.com