Seumas Gagne's debut solo CD featuring traditional and original songs in Scottish Gaelic, traditional dance tunes and more. Seumas is joined by Christine Traxler on fiddle, Colin Isler on cello, and Tom Fallat on all manner of drums.
One of the two original songs provides the title for the recording, "Oran do Bhaile Ard" which translates as "Song for Ballard." Seumas wrote the song near the end of the seven years he spent living near the Ballard neighborhood in Seattle, before the housing boom turned his rental duplex into new townhouses and sent him into self-imposed exile in nearby Greenwood.
The recording is a departure from the customary instruments and arrangement style used in Scottish and Irish music. Seumas sings lead and accompanies himself on a Seattle-made Dusty Strings folk harp. For the eight tracks with vocals, Christine Traxler and Colin Isler create lush harmonies and elegant counterpoint. Three of the tracks are sets of traditional dance tunes, on which a fan of Celtic music might expect the fiddle to take the lead, but Gagne has surprises there as well. The harp stays out in front playing the tunes the whole time, never retreating into an accompaniment role. Tom Fallat's varied percussion contributions on several tracks will catch the listeners ear also. Along with a full drum kit, tabla, dumbek, and other hand percussion instruments make appearances. On four of the vocal tracks, Seumas is also joined by backing vocalists Doug Barr, Dale Cummings, Penny McLeod DeGraff, Kathryn Cole, and Carmen Mettler.
The CD was recorded and mixed at Empty Sea Studios on Phinney ridge in Seattle and engineered by Michael Connolly.