The stellar “Celtic Band” Breakwater (Jeff Faragher – Cello, Guitar & Vocals; Aurora Smith – Fiddle & Vocals; Ben Johnson – Drums; Rob Fahie – Bass) performed in two concerts, one in Cranbrook, one in Kimberley, in March of this year – see the review below:
Two weeks ago they performed at the Kaslo Jazz Festival. Since we last heard them in Kimberley they have “kicked it up a notch” with tighter ensemble playing, blistering solos and new material. The fact that they continue to expand their repertoire and are constantly bring new material on board gives them a distinct edge over their contemporaries. There was no sitting on their laurels for this band on this tour. Their older material was well represented with the sly segue from the traditional Canadian Log Driver’s Waltz to J.S. Bach’s Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring. Similarly with Cold Play’s , Viva La Vetta sliding into Antonin Dvorak’s New World Symphony. But it was not all Classical high jinks. There were healthy doses of traditional fiddle music that included a set of jigs – The Roaring Barmaid / Morrison’s Jig / The Swallow Tail Jig; the Lunasa Set of the Spootiskerry Reel and the Road to Bagra . I couldn’t let the tune with the weird name pass me by so I looked it up in the The Sessions and in the comments it was described as “composed by Shetland fiddler Samuel Ian Rothmar Burns in 1980. Spootiskerry is the name of a farm in the Burns family. A “skerry” is a group of rocks which is covered by the sea, but can sometimes be visible depending on the tide.” So there you have it – my little bit of trivia for the day. Although the strength of the band is in instrumental music they did throw in a few vocals. Aurora did a fine job on the classic highland ballad Wild Mountain Thyme (Will you go Lassie go), and Scarborough Fair. Jeff lead the audience in a soulful version of There is more Love Somewhere. What was missing from the evening was Jeff’s version of the classic Maritime song Song of the Mira ……. maybe next time. There was TV Music – The Theme from Dr Who; film music – The Curse of the Black Crow from Pirates of the Caribbean and a rip roaring version of Amy Cann’s the Catharsis Reel. Aurora and Jeff are very much front and centre in the music but they would not be as successful as they are with out Rob Fahie providing the solid bass parts and the outstanding drumming of Ben Johnson. I have a personal dislike of drummers performing in Celtic bands. I feel they are trying too hard to tap into the pop culture ethos and as a result the music suffers. Drummers always have a tendency to play way too loud without any sensitivity or thought to musical dynamics. Ben is not like that. He is more like a percussionist searching for the right textures to enhance the music. Way to go Ben!. The band finished the evening with an encore version of The Ashokan Farewell from the Ken Burns PBS documentary on the American Civil War. For some unknown reason the light during the performances was a little “dodgy” never-the-less here are some more images from the evening.