There are more than 285 competitive bagpipe bands in the United States, made up of thousands of pipers and drummers. Bands are divided into grades based on skill: Grade 5 is the lowest, akin to Little League; Grade 1 is the majors. In May 2014, the Massachusetts-based Stuart Highland Pipe Band was promoted to Grade 1, and next month they'll be facing off against other top-level bands in Glasgow at the annual World Pipe Band Championships. But first, the Stewies made their North American debut at the premier level at a competition in Ontario: Blowhards: On the road, down the bottle, and across the border with Boston’s greatest competitive bagpipe band. [more inside]
A girl upon the shore did ask a favour of the sea;For nearly 20 years, Newfoundland group Great Big Sea have been creating acoustic Celtic folk-rock covers and interpretations of traditional Newfoundland and Labrador sea shanties, folk, fishing and party songs, which draw from the island's rich 500-year-old multicultural (Irish, English, Scottish and French) heritage. [more inside]
"Return my blue eyed sailor boy safely back to me.
Forgive me if I ask too much, I will not ask for more,
but I shall weep until he sleeps safe upon the shore."
Bluesy Canadian garage duo The Pack A.D. has put out four albums in like five years, the most recent in September of this year. [more inside]
Benjamin Darvill, a.k.a. Son of Dave, is a one-man band of sorts, combining harmonica, vocals, beat-boxing, a rattle and foot-stomping to create his own infectious form of blues. Darvill, a Canadian formerly with Crash Test Dummies, has released four albums to date as Son of Dave, his latest and best being 'Shake A Bone', recorded and mixed by Steve Albini in Chicago, the title track used briefly in an episode of Breaking Bad. [more inside]
Nardwuar the Human Serviette is an interesting, abrasive and knowledgeable music journalist. Many of his interviews are on film and posted to youtube. Previously on metafilter. Warning: single link to a youtube user. [more inside]
The Most Serene Republic, quite possibly the most underrated of all the acts on the Arts & Crafts label, create music in a similar vein to fellow Canadian indie rockers Arcade Fire, Stars, and Broken Social Scene. Experience their explosive, big-band, polyphonic, experimental flair by listening to their 3 releases in full: Underwater Cinematographer (2005), Phages EP (2006), and Population (2007). A few video music videos as well: The Men Who Live Upstairs, Oh God, Content Always Was My Favourite
The brass quintet Canadian Brass is both venerable--it's been around 38 years--and prolific--its discography is as long as your arm. While they often play classical arrangements, they also mix in jazz and blues, along with a complement of showmanship and humor. (Also, they play Flight of the Bumblebee on the tuba.) [Mouseover for titles.]
Ashley Maher is a Canadian singer living in Santa Monica, but her music comes straight from Senegal. She also dances a mean sabar (YouTube link).
Still going: jazz pianist Oscar Peterson celebrated his 80th birthday on Monday, with a rare treat. The veteran jazz musician is the first living Canadian to be honored with a commemorative postage stamp.
Han Bennink - accomplished dutch percussionist, performed a on a drumkit made of cheese as part of a recent Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art exhibit, "Demons Stole My Soul: Rock 'N Roll Drums In Contemporary Art"