Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Canadian Music - Ashley MacIssac (1997)

Been meaning to do this for a while. A weird choice, really should start with the Tragically Hip, the quintessential representation of Canadian music, or some other bands, but I've been listening to Ashley on Facebook, and so here goes.

Ashley MacIssac is from Cape Breton, which is an island off of Nova Scotia, and host to a whole lot of Scottish people and renouned for its music. In the 90's, he emerged as this young traditional fiddler who played jigs and stuff, but accompanied by contemporary influences, such as heavy drums and guitar. Which was really unusual, if you think about it. That's like heavy metal and bagpipes - not exactly common. Here's probably his most extreme punkish example from his first album, "Devil in the Kitchen", which is still pretty cool in my opinion:

Note the 90s style grunged out lighting and frenetic editing. Ah, memories.

He's still known for being a crazy-ass talented fiddler; he just had a bit too much white up the nose at the time. Has since cleaned up somewhat - is still pretty controversial. Even back then, he wasn't exactly hugely popular, but for a friggin' fiddler, he did pretty well with his debut album Hi How Are You Today? Which of course, I owned and played out.

The most popular song was Sleepy Maggie, which was a longer song with contemporary beats and fiddle, the female vocals sung in Gaelic of all things. And it was a hit! They played this video all the time. And it was my first real attempt to learn Gaelic. I can indeed still sing all the lyrics to this.

Why did I love it so much?

Well, not many people know outside of family and close friends, but when I mention, in brief, that I used to dance, people assume it's ballet or tap or jazz, etc. Which I did all take for about four years. However, the dance style I studied for 14 years was:

So yeah. I kinda know and love the music, and choreograph in my head. Stories for other times, I promise.

Final thought: this is Ashley back in the 90's, playing a traditional number, but keep watching for something pretty cool, which makes me want to dive right back into dancing again:


ZB said...

That's beyond cool. I want to see you dance!!!

Jen said...

um, i had no idea you did this! i'd love to see it.