Contented Minds
(Milky Way, 2001)

Cucanandy is a traditional Celtic quartet from North Carolina. The group is composed of Jason Cade on fiddle and mandolin, Mike Casey on flute and guitar, Malke Rosenfeld on flute, bodhran and whistles, and Stephanie Johnston on guitar and vocals.

What sets this group apart from hundreds of other traditional bands is Malke Rosenfeld's percussive step-dancing, which is definitely a surprise and a nice change of pace (no pun intended). With flutes, fiddles, Johnston's sweet voice and other instruments, the sound of the group is well-integrated, and the dancing fits right in with the rest of the music, as well as most groups fit in a bodhran. Contented Minds is their second CD.

Cucanandy manages to cram lots of music into their twelve tracks by making most of it sets. There are jigs and reels aplenty, as well as laments and ballads. The band has gathered their music from all over the Celtic lands. One set, "L'Esquimaux," is from Quebec, while "Tha Mi Sgith Dhen Fhogair Seo (I Am Tired of This Exile)" was written in North Carolina by John Macrae after arriving in America just in time for the Revolutionary War. Some of the pieces in the sets are originals.

This is music that will set your feet moving and drag you away after them. My only wish is that I could see the group in person to see Rosenfled dance.

[ by Laurie Thayer ]
Rambles: 30 December 2001

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