Slainte Mhath: VA

Nova Scotia’s Slainte Mhath blends straightforward renderings of traditional Scottish tunes with modern applications like sampling, loops and groove-laden rhythms. With virtually no singing Slainte Mhath allows their impeccable instrumental prowess convey their message. Alternating between traditional and modern music ideals they are driven by a duo of fiddler players, Boyd MacNeil and Lisa Gallant, Scottish piper John MacPhee and keyboardist Ryan MacNeil who injects a jazzy and sometimes R&B flavor into their repertoire. Flanked by a funky rhythm section of drummer Brian Talbot and bassist Jamie Gatti, Slainte Mhath is North America’s answer to Shooglenifty and Tartan Amoebas. While their traditional approach is by-and-large flawless and can easily rival that of the genre’s major players, this band is at its best when it permits the collision and intermingling of styles.

November 2004

Review by: Dave Sleger