various artists,
The Sounds of Nova Scotia, Vol. 2
(Stephen MacDonald, 1991)

The Sounds of Nova Scotia, Vol. 2 contains 10 selections by leading artists and groups with a Scottish base and frequent reference to the highlands. Most are of a folk style and tell of some everyday aspect of life in the region. They are quite picturesque and fill the mind with images of people, houses, barns and the ocean. I would classify every song in the collection as "easy listening."

My favorite of the selections is "Mairi's Wedding," a wedding song that focuses on the dancing and toasting. It ends with a long breakdown that beckons you to jump up and join the dancing and celebration. "Home I'll Be" is a haunting piece with a sad bagpipe introduction. Rita MacNeil has a beautiful voice for singing folksongs with light, supportive background music to frame her voice prominently in the foreground.

I really like "Small Town Wind." It makes you picture the little town and the coastline. This one will touch all listeners from a rural area in a special way. "Cape Breton Lullaby" winds up the 40-minute collection with a strong bagpipe introduction leading the high-pitched, haunting feminine voice of Teresa Doyle frequently vibrating at an octave that hits your spine. The only accompaniment to her voice is the bagpipe holding notes. It is a beautiful piece, but I cannot imagine it being used as a lullaby. It is just too haunting and echoing.

The selections included are "My Heart's in the Highlands" (The Barra MacNeils), "Sound the Pibroch" (John Allen Cameron), "Girls of Neil's Harbor" (Sam Moon), "Nova Scotia Lullaby" (John Gracie), "Mairi's Wedding" (The Rankin Family), "Fisherman's Song" (Fred Lavery), "Home I'll Be" (Rita MacNeil), "Small Town Wind" (Max MacDonald & the Cape Breton Summertime Revue), "Joshua" (Miller's Jug) and "Cape Breton Lullaby" (Teresa Doyle).

This is the middle of three volumes of The Sounds of Nova Scotia. Volume 1 was released in 1990 and Volume 3 was released in 2001.

- Rambles
written by Alicia Karen Elkins
published 11 September 2004

Buy it from