The Beaton Family Of Mabou includes: Andrea Beaton, Kinnon Beaton (fiddle); Betty Beaton (piano).
Recorded at Soundpark Studios, St. Peter's, Nova Scotia.
The music of Cape Breton in Canada has enjoyed wide visibility and respect in recent years, and justifiably so. Although the Beaton Family of Mabou, a small community on the island, had released an album before (in 1978), covering two generations of players, this ranges wider in the extended family, but offers the same drive to the music. Like most music from the island, it's heavily Scots-inflected, even when the tunes are originals, and played with a particular drive (just listen to Andrea Beaton's fiddling on "Bandelena March," with feet pushing down on the beat to emphasize it). This is music for dancing, even on the occasional slower number, and the stepdancing of Allison Beaton fills out pieces like "The Brig O'Balater Strathspey" and adds a lovely rhythmic complexity to the music. This might be family playing, but it's a rare and very accomplished family, from matriarch Elizabeth Beaton (who appears on a few cuts, having lost none of her power, although in her eighties) to the younger generation. Most interesting is the "breather" cut featuring just Betty Lou Beaton's piano, showing wonderful tone and sympathy on Nathaniel Gow's "Coilsfield House." Satisfying on every level, this is an absolute gem of a disc. ~ Chris Nickson