About this CD Release:
My wife has been encouraging me for the past two years to do a compilation CD from albums I had recorded over the years, beginning with "LETS HAVE A CEILIDH" (1975). When we undertook the project, we discovered the bad news that our quarter inch master tapes had deteriorated almost beyond repair. The GOOD NEWS -- Thanks to Graham Newton, who used a "baking" process, the music has been restored to its original sound quality. Thanks also to Greg Weir for taking time out of his hectic schedule to remaster what turns out to be a double CD of over two and a half hours of Cape Breton and traditional music; and along with this wife, Marilyn, for coming up with the album title "Steeped and Served: The Sandy MacIntyre Collection," and for being part of the project from start to finish. Thank you as well to the photographers, Clair McGuirk and Ian Sampson. Thank you to Robert Deland for the front cover artwork and design.
A special thank you to the wonderful musicians that have contributed their formidable talents to these recordings over the years including Mickey Andrews, John Allan Cameron, Mary MacIntyre, Brian MacIntyre, Dave MacIsaac, Doug MacPhee, and Damien Walsh. Finally thank you to the great composers that have contributed tunes for my albums over the years: Dan R. MacDonald, John D. Cameron, John Campbell, Wilfred Gillis, Joey Beaton, Margaret MacPhee, Phil Cunningham, Gordon Duncan, Ed Reavey, Charlie Sherritt and Hector MacAndrew and anyone I may have inadvertently overlooked.
I dedicate "Steeped and Served: The Sandy Macintyre Collection" to my wife Lucy, sons Brian and Steve, and grandchildren Nicole, Alex, Michelle, Mitchell, Ryan and Kyle. Thank you to my family, friends, fans and students for your ongoing support. -- Sandy
Sandy MacIntyre was born in Inverness Town, Inverness County, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, and was raised in a typically musical Cape Breton family. His mother Cassie, well known for her violin playing, began playing at dances at age thirteen. His father Ronald, also a fiddler, was well known for his Gaelic singing, Gaelic being the first language of the MacIntyre home. Sandy lists his grandfather John Angus MacIsaac, his parents, his brothers John R. and Francis, his uncles John Archie, Alex Angus, Dan Hughie, Donald Angus, Dougall Finley, Campbell MacIsaac and Peter MacDonnell, (all were fiddlers, and two were pipers as well) and his aunts. He comments: "They could have easily performed a full variety concert consisting of fiddle, piano, stepdancing, bagpipes, Gaelic singing and story telling. I know there are hundreds of Cape Breton fiddlers with similar backgrounds."
Sandy absorbed his family's cultural inheritance in good measure. He started playing the pump organ at age 8 or 9 chording for family members and visiting fiddlers. About age 16 he took up the fiddle, learning by ear. He also learned the guitar and in high school he was a drummer in the Inverness Pipe Band. In Toronto, at age 19, lonely for the music of down home he found a fiddle, pursued his fiddle playing and took up note reading, at first choosing pieces he already knew by ear. He linked up with other exiled Cape Bretoners to bring musicians to Toronto for Cape Breton style dances and to keep the music alive. Following his appearances on the CBC TV show "Ceilidh", Sandy has become one of the best known of Cape Breton's many fine fiddlers. He is also a prolific composer with over a hundred tunes to his credit, many in active circulation among Island players. A versatile musician, he is equal to the task of accompanist on piano, guitar or bass. His use of unique settings and his creative medley arrangements of tunes, allows him to extend his repertoire into a contemporary vein without compromising the traditional spirit of the music.
During the year, Sandy runs fiddle classes in Toronto and teaches Cape Breton stepdancing. He returns to Cape Breton during the summer to teach fiddle at St. Ann's Gaelic College and to play at concerts and ceilidhs. From Cape Breton he goes to Scotland to play at such events as the annual International Celtic Concert in Inverness. In 1991, stepdancing instructor Harvey Beaton joined Sandy for 10 days of workshops and concerts in the Inverness, Scotland area. A growing interest internationally in the music of the Cape Breton Gael is such that the flow of tradition is now very much in two directions. The demand for concert tours and workshops on all aspects of Cape Breton musical tradition is increasing steadily, both in North America and in the Ancient homelands of the Celts. At home, participation by the young in the fiddle and stepdance traditions and the interest in Celtic music and the Gaelic heritage is gaining strength at an unprecedented rate.
Sandy has great faith in his culture and in all the Island people who keep that culture alive and vital and he always backs up his faith by giving generously of his time to organizing the fund-raising concerts, ceilidhs and dances that benefit his culture.
Sandy MacIntyre keeps his love of his Cape Breton heritage and his passion for the Music of the Fiddle on the front burner at all times.