Glencraig Scottish Dance Band,
The Ceilidh: Are Ye Dancin?
(Greentrax, 2006)

Cancel Christmas and turn off Thanksgiving; for the biggest party night of the year, go Scottish. No, I don't mean stint on the booze or get everyone to buy his or her own, I mean get with the greatest party music on the planet.

Despite the reputation for being careful with the pennies, the Scots are past masters at the Hooley, and nowhere do they exemplify that better than at the Ceilidh. The subtitle of this album by the Glencraig Scottish Dance Band is superfluous in the extreme. I defy anyone to keep their feet or fingers still as they listen to the 17 tracks on offer.

Opening with "The Riverside" jigs and proceeding through marches, waltzes, polkas, reels and hornpipes, the band will whisk you away to the mist-covered mountains and tiny halls of the Highlands. You will feel the frost on your breath as you listen and imagine that wild landscape, golden glowing fires and welcoming glass.

The music is varied but always well played. You can experience "The Anniversary Two Step" or "The White Heather Foxtrot" before engaging in "The Siege of Ennis."

But wait, not only do you get the music with backgrounds to the tunes; belying that Scots' reputation, you get an extra bonus: free tutoring in doing the dances, and how's that for value?

For a happy Hogmanay or any other celebration take the following ingredients, a group of friends, a supply of drink (soft or hard), an open floor and The Ceilidh, mix well, warm to room temperature and beyond and enjoy. It's as simple as that.

by Nicky Rossiter
2 December 2006