(self-produced, 2001)

There's a new storm of talent brewing in Cape Breton. A new showcase of the island's best young performers, aptly named Beolach (Gaelic for "lively youth"), provided some of the most memorable during Celtic Colours 2001. I was ecstatic when Wendy MacIsaac, one of the band's two fiddlers, handed me a copy of the band's self-titled album to take a piece of the magic home with me.

Believe me, the band doesn't suffer in the studio. Fresh and exciting as they are on stage, the musicians of Beolach did a cracking good job nailing their sound to a disc.

Beolach is MacIsaac and Mairi Rankin on fiddles, Ryan J. MacNeil on border pipes and whistles, Mattie Foulds on percussion, Patrick Gillis on guitar and Mac Morin on piano. MacIsaac, Rankin and Morin also provide the fancy footwork -- a treat live, but still good percussion on the disc.

These six Capers aren't only great musicians. They're also talented arrangers -- the blend of tunes on this album keeps me hitting the repeat button to hear tracks again. Trust me on this one -- check out Beolach for a taste of Cape Breton's "lively youth" at their finest.

[ by Tom Knapp ]
Rambles: 3 November 2001