Mary Jane Lamond is a sharer of songs, stories and spirit. This sharing has garnered Mary Jane numerous Juno and East Coast Music Award nominations, critical acclaim and a worldwide audience. Mary Jane's latest recording "Storas" (Gaelic meaning "a treasure"), is a beautiful interpretation of some of the Scottish Gaelic songs that have become part of Nova Scotia’s Gaelic tradition. Her use of modern instrumentation and arrangements\ provides a respectful and beautiful framework for these Gaelic treasures but it is Mary Jane's spell binding vocal performance and heartfelt delivery that makes these selections truly come alive for the listener.
On the North Shore of Cape Breton Island, the rich heritage of the region’s Scottish settlers was kept alive through song. It was in Nova Scotia, visiting her grandparents throughout her youth, that Mary Jane Lamond fell in love with Scottish Gaelic traditions and song. While enrolled in Saint Francis Xavier University’s Celtic Studies programme, Lamond released her first album, Bho Thir Nan Craobh, a collection of traditional material that introduced her unique singing voice and a then unknown fiddler named Ashley MacIsaac. The two talented Maritimers then collaborated on the award-winning radio smash "Sleepy Maggie".
Mary Jane Lamond took time-honoured Gaelic songs to the next level on Suas e!, which combined classic texts with contemporary pop sounds. The Globe & Mail praised it for its "refreshing balance between modern and ancient," and the album earned several Juno and East Coast Music Award nominations as well as a MuchMusic Global Groove Award for the video "Bog a'Lochain."
The success of Suas e! contributed to an explosion of interest in Celtic culture and Lamond took the songs on the road with a live band. Her experiences on the stage directly influenced the sound of Làn Dùil.
"I had the same philosophy, which is to pick a variety of songs in the tradition and work on different ways to arrange them," Lamond explains.
On Làn Dùil Lamond’s spell-binding renditions of treasured Gaelic songs are fused with original arrangements using a variety of instruments, from the familiar fiddle and bagpipes to Indian tabla. Ultimately, it’s a new style of world music that is unique to Mary Jane Lamond.
Yet as the singer herself will tell you, it’s the stories that matter. While Làn Dùil soothes and stirs, it also chronicles Cape Breton’s living Scottish Gaelic culture. The sounds of friends, family and local legends are heard throughout the album.
Despite the important role her music plays in preserving Scottish Gaelic songs that would otherwise rarely be heard outside Cape Breton, Mary Jane Lamond says Làn Dùil’s primary purpose is to entertain. "This is a huge oral literary tradition that is being lost at an alarming rate," she says, "and I am involved with community things that help conserve it for younger people. But I’m also an interpreter, a singer and musician and in my music the challenge is to create something new and exciting that doesn’t destroy the heart of it."
Òrain Ghàidhlig (Gaelic Songs of Cape Breton), focuses on the songs and poetry which are the cornerstone of this tradition. This recording remains true to the simple sharing of music that is the foundation of Gaelic culture – from the engaging milling songs performed by a group of Cape Breton’s finest traditional Gaelic singers to the lively old style fiddling of Joe Peter MacLean, a musician never before captured on recording. Recorded at the beautiful North River Church in Cape Breton, this enhanced cd also features visuals taken during the recording sessions.
Mary Jane Lamond makes timeless music for a modern age. Mary Jane Lamond continues to make a unique contribution to both world and pop music.