Banshee,
Long Awaited Day
(self-produced, 2003)

Banshee's second album Long Awaited Day captures the musical abilities of the young quartet from Canada with original and traditional tunes. Made up of brother and sister Bryon and Shelley Chase, both of whom sing and play various instruments, Glen Deveau on drums, congas and djembe, and Stacey Read on fiddle and backing vocals, each member has a very different background in music and brings different strengths to the group.

The fiddle-playing of Read is very pure and sweet. She has several collaborative and solo recordings to her name already and her playing enhances the material. Her talent shines through on the fiddle sets and she provides beautiful accompaniment to many of the songs. Bryon Chase, who wrote two songs and co-wrote a third with Shelley, plays whistle and guitar, but his real forte is singing. His voice is perfect for many of the songs and he sounds as if he has never sung anything but traditional music in his life. His singing is heartfelt and his songs are well-crafted. "Roamer's Rave" earmarks him as a songwriter to watch.

Shelley Chase, who plays bodhran, wrote one song and co-wrote another with her brother, also sings in a clear, strong voice. Her voice has a jazzy flavour to it, making some of the traditional tunes sound a little strange, but she does a wonderful job of the original songs and the final track "Sir Eglamore," a traditional tune. Glen Deveau's drumming accurately reflects the mood of the tunes and it used wonderfully as accentuation in many songs.

The recording was expertly put together with the help of producer Brian Talbot, who also works with Canadian group Slainte Mhath. Fiddler Richard Wood appears on one track and Scott MacFarlane plays bass throughout.

The original songs are well written and played, especially "Over My Head," co-written by the Chases, which is a bouncy, danceable, sing-a-long song about love. Many of the traditional tunes are well-chosen as well. The only complaint is that two of the traditional tunes appear on the Barra MacNeill album Racket in the Attic and very similar (or even the same) arrangements are used. It is a bit of a letdown for people who already know these songs to hear them rehashed the same way. The same is true of the bonus track, which was recorded with a very similar arrangement by Mary and Rita Rankin on Lantern Burn. Their musical talents are quite extraordinary and they should do their own arranging in their own style. It worked well on such tracks as "Arthur McBride" and "Follow Me Up to Carlow."

This album is fantastic. The original songs and traditional material go well together and are given wonderful treatments by some very talented musicians.

- Rambles
written by Jean Emma Price
published 7 February 2004

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