Musique Celtique
(self-produced, 2002)

There was a time in Quebec history when Catholic children were brought from Ireland to live with the French Catholics of Quebec and to help families on their farms and in the homes. Now there are many French-speaking Canadians of Irish ancestry living in that region.

I'm not sure if the members of Quebec's Rosheen are of that historic circumstance, but it doesn't really matter; on their CD Musique Celtique you'll find a wide selection of extremely well-done Celtic/Irish music including seven original compositions -- mostly songs and one instrumental. I was impressed by the tone and zip and rush of Celtic melody throughout.

In seven other tracks, there were a few traditional tunes I hadn't heard the names of before. The one called "I Buried My Wife and Danced on Top of Her" sounded familiar though, as did "The Hunter's Purse," which was part of a lively medley. Another exuberant group of tunes with some super playing included "Sweeney's," "Finnish Polka" and "Dennis Murphy's." A tune composed by Gregoire Painchaud called "The Crossing" was the only original instrumental and I can think of a lot of fiddlers who would enjoy this piece.

Songs "Star of the County Down" and "Black is the Color" were sung in English with what sounded like an Irish accent, from the crystal clear voice of principal vocalist Lynn Vallieres. "Siul Aruin" she sang in Gaelic, "Roisin Dubh" she sang in French -- and I would say she was blessed by the faeries to have a voice as airy and light as any Irish breeze -- in any language.

I thought two other two ballads suited the tone of the album. The only track that didn't seem to fit was the speaking piece called "Veronica's Veil," though it is a beautifully sensitive rendering of the piece.

Rosheen has a light and lively sound that splendidly carries a true Celtic experience. I expected a sound similar to Grand Derangement, an Acadian band from Nova Scotia, but this group has its own style. I don't think you could go wrong by listening to them and following these musicians into the faery realm of Irish soul.

- Rambles
written by Virginia MacIsaac
published 12 April 2003