Gaelic and fiddle tunes have been an important part of the American Folk Festival. Their upbeat, sometimes mournful, melodies are crowd pleasers.
Maine’s neighbor to the north is once again proudly representing itself with performances by singer Mary Jane Lamond and fiddler, pianist and dancer Wendy MacIsaac.
The women, who have performed together for more than 17 years, will share the stage performing traditional Gaelic music, as well as tunes hailing from Scotland and Cape Breton. As Festival veterans, Lamond and MacIsaac are excited to return and perform together.
“We loved the [National and American Folk Festivals] because they are truly ‘folk’ festivals,” Lamond said. “We do this because we feel passionate about it and it really comes through in the performance. ”
That passion and love is reciprocated by the audience.
“People are really there to learn,” she said.
Lamond has roots in Scottish Gaelic culture through her father’s parents. She grew up immersed in its traditions and music. Today, with more than two decades of experience, her music offers modern arrangements that continue to honor tradition. She is an award-winning performer, and has five studio albums to her credit.
Lamond will be joined onstage by MacIsaac, a fiddler, pianist, and stepdancer. The women’s collaborations span 17 years, and their performances leave toes tapping.
Hailing from Creignish, Cape Breton, MacIsaac also has Gaelic music in her blood. She began stepdancing at age 5. Seven years later she took up the fiddle and by the time she was 15 years old, she was in demand throughout Cape Breton. MacIsaac has recorded three albums on her own, one with her current band, Beolach, and has been featured in Lamond’s recordings.
As returning favorites, the women will be near the home they love, but also among the people they love to perform for.
That’s one of the many reasons the duo is glad to be back, Lamond said.
“We [perform] for the love of making music,” she said.
by Debra L. Bell, Bangor Daily News
Mary Jane Lamond and Wendy MacIsaac are generously supported by Bangor Hydro-Electric/Emera.