Secret Manuscripts
(self-produced, 2001)

Take two members from the west coast of Canada and two members from the east coast of Canada, bring them together and you get Banshee, a hot up-and-coming group based in New Brunswick. Bryon and Shelley Chase are originally from Nanaimo, B.C., but have family roots in New Brunswick. Stacey Read is from Sackville, N.B., and JP Savoie is from Moncton, N,B. The group came together in 2000 when the Chases decided to return to their family roots.

The band has taken its name from Irish mythology; "banshee" is the Gaelic word for ghost, almost the complete opposite of what the group is live ... you can be sure you won't miss seeing them when they perform, as they are bouncing all over the place!

Their debut CD Secret Manuscripts is pretty close to what you'll get when you see the band perform live -- energetic, upbeat, danceable songs and tunes, finishing up with an in-your-face set of fiddle tunes. Banshee's music consists of Irish, Scottish and Maritime lore, combined with humour, music and stepdancing!

The band hasn't been together all that long but you can feel the instant chemistry they must have felt as the CD is crisp and flows along very well. The band performs its own contemporary music (five of the tracks were written by band members) as well as traditional Maritime tunes.

Starting off with the traditional "Bedlam Boys," the wonderful voices of the band come through, which are very clear and easy to understand. One of my favourite tracks is their rendition of the traditional Scottish song "Loch Lomond." It has a nice soothing feel to it. The spotlight on the fiddle set called "Owly Fiddler Set" is on Stacey Read, one of New Brunswick's finest fiddlers. She has her own solo work out, which you can read about here.

You can often find Banshee playing at various pubs around New Brunswick on the weekends. They have also been as far as Texas and various other performances around the Maritimes. Keep an eye out for this group -- they are a group that I'm sure great things will happen for in the future.

The focus of the band has always been to carry on the traditions found in Atlantic Canadian homes and to explore the voyages of those who originally settled this region. Their energy is contagious, their music is moving and guaranteed to get you on your feet! The result is a musical journey not soon to be forgotten. But if you can't see them live, at least for the time being, pick up a copy of Secret Manuscripts -- it's the next best thing!

[ by Kimberley Marie ]
Rambles: 23 March 2002