Since the group’s formation in the late 1990s, Calasaig secured an admirable reputation in the world of traditional music through their numerous performances and recordings. Their albums, Until Then, Making For The Shore and Near & Far have brought the band critical acclaim and have ensured their continued inclusion in the top ten of several traditional music album charts in Europe and the US, as well as on radio play lists around the world.
Their 4th album, Merchants’ City, was recorded in Phase One studios in Toronto and at The Foundry in Glasgow. It was released in North America on REL Records in August of 2003 and was released in the UK and Europe by Lazy Mist Records in February of 2004.
The band: Keith Johnston – cittern, guitar, vocals; Celine Donoghue – fiddle, tenor banjo, mandola, vocals; Andy Webster – guitar, bouzouki, vocals; Keith Easdale – Highland pipes, small pipes, mandocello, whistle, flute, mouth organ, vocals; Kirsten Easdale – vocals, viola, bodhran
Calasaig played at the Goderich Celtic Festival during their August 2003 tour in Ontario, Canada.
It was apparent from the hush and bustle of the audience during set-up that this band had achieved star status in this part of the world. As soon as they fired up with their now easily recognisable Calasaig sound, the crowd got right in behind them.
The band played songs and tunes mostly from their last two CDs (on R2), the most recent having only been released days before in North America. The greatest excitement is reserved for those tunes where the big pipes play an important part. It is this balanced use of bagpipes that allows this band to stand out from others. This is one band where the bagpipes are just one of the instruments, not the most important. What happens then is an arrangement that has lift and builds in a kick-ass performance that is every bit as engaging as the Celtic-Rock days of the recent past. Calasaig audiences are being treated to sounds that can hold their attention. The band has demonstrated a lasting ability to play traditional tunes but look and behave like bands playing rock music. They have proved once again, as did their idols Silly Wizard, Tannahill Weavers and Battlefield Band from the early 1970s, that this music has unlimited staying power with any audience wishing to connect with their roots via music.
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