Well, this is something new and unexpected! The band Triton (Alex Kehler, Jeremiah McLane and Timothy Cummings) has released a recording of BalFolk dance music. Whether you dance or not, it’s an absolutely stellar listen. These three musicians cross many borders with these tunes. It’s Canada/USA, but also Canada/USA/Europe (think France, Belgium, Scandinavia and beyond). It’s a trio that goes far beyond the usual expectations, and you find yourself dancing a waltz, not in three but in a count of five.
BalFolk refers to the traditional dances that have been sweeping Europe in the past few years. North America has not escaped either. BalFolk events happen in Toronto and New England as well, and aficionados of other traditional dance forms are eagerly learning the moves of the Bourrée, Schottische, Polka, Waltz and Mazurka, to name just a few.
There are compelling rhythms here that, along with the dynamics of the music, just drive us to get up and move. But perhaps the most outstanding thing here is the variety of sounds that originate from the selection of instruments. There are a variety of different piano accordions, a violin, nyckelharpas, a Hammond B-3 organ, a grand piano, a variety of whistles, a Scottish small pipe, a Border pipe and a låtmandola (a Swedish instrument like an octave mandolin with ten strings). As well, there are voices. Of special note is the gorgeous vocal contribution of Élisabeth Giroux from the Québec band ÉTÉ.
Alex Kehler, born in Nova Scotia and now from southern Québec, is a multi-instrumentalist who studied classical Baroque music. An extremely versatile musician, he has played in a number of other highly esteemed bands including La Nef, Skye Consort and the Kehler-Williams Duo (with Nicholas Williams of Crowfoot and Genticorum). Alex’s love of Scandinavian music drove him to play nyckelharpas and låtmandola, as well as violin and cittern.
Timothy Cummings, musician and composer from Vermont, is also a multi-instrumentalist but specializes in pipes. It’s his terrific Scottish small pipes and Border pipes that we hear on this recording. Timothy’s musical accomplishments include hugely diverse repertoire from Brittany, Appalachia, Cape Breton and the British Isles.
Jeremiah McLane (Clayfoot Strutters, Nightingale), is also a highly accomplished musician and composer with an equally varied background including jazz, blues, Québécois, and traditional French music. Jeremiah has been involved for years in the resurgence of traditional music and dance in New England and contributed hugely to the sound of the dance music originating from that region.
You might say that all three of these highly accomplished musicians could play anything and everything you could throw at them, and they would make it sound amazing. But on this CD, they’ve chosen stellar repertoire that really shows off what they can do, not only as individuals but together. The sum here really is greater than its parts. https://www.tritontrad.com/