The Guardian (Charlottetown)
Bùmarang makes strong return
Trio of Dave Gossage, Sarah Pagé and Kate Bevan-Baker transport audience to Irish shores
On Monday evenings since the beginning of July, the Victoria Playhouse Concert Series has once again been presenting a great lineup of artists, including Laura Smith, Kim Dunn, The Eastern Belles, Dennis Ellsworth, Ken Whiteley and more.
This past Monday I was lucky enough to enjoy an evening in one of my favourite spots on P.E.I., while experiencing the sounds of the Montreal-based Celtic trio, Bùmarang.
The rain may have been pouring down outside, but it made for an even cozier night inside the Victoria Playhouse, as a good crowd had gathered to take in the show that started at 7:30 p.m.
Without a word of greeting and instead letting the music do the introduction for them, Bùmarang began with an en chanting Irish air, that hung peacefully in the air, brought to our ears by Dave Gossage on flute, Sarah Pagé on lever harp and Kate Bevan-Baker on fiddle.
This was the first time I had ever heard an Irish jig played on a harp – the key experience that the next tune brought with it – as the trio continued to effectively transport us from a small town in P.E.I. to shores on the other side of the Atlantic, where the melodies of these tunes were first brought into the world, and have lived and danced for centuries.
This kind of musical transport to times of the old land may have been accomplished all the more profoundly due to the fact that the trio features a harp instead of a guitar as its bass/chordal accompaniment. This is something rarely seen in Celtic groups of today,and the harp’s presence seemed to bring with it a feeling of the traditional music of the past.
“We’re really happy to be back,” said Pagé, in between songs in the first half of the show. “This is the second year in a row that we’ve been on P.E.I. in August, and we hope to be back again next year, if all goes well.”
For Bùmarang’s return visit to the Island, it’s clear that we can thank Bevan-Baker (who shone in both her fiddle playing and in her singing), as she’s a native of Hampton, P.E.I., just down the road from the Victoria Playhouse.
Other key highlights of Bùmarang’s very well-received two-hour long show included jaw-dropping flute and whistle playing by Gossage (quite possibly the fastest and most intricate whistle playing I have ever witnessed), creatively and beautifully-delivered songs like Red is the Rose and By the Banks of the Roses, and dazzling sets of jigs and reels propelled by the tightly-synced unified force of the three instruments.
All in all, Bùmarang is a Celtic power trio made up of three players who can equally front groups on their own. And yet their unique collaboration within this group packs an impacting punch, which you can hear now on their newly-released EP this year.
And if you like the sounds of all of this, you’re in luck because you have three more chances to catch Bùmarang before they make their return to Montreal.
The trio will be featured at the Benevolent Irish Society ceilidh in Charlottetown today at 8 p.m., at the Charlottetown Farmers’ Market tomorrow morning and at the Kings Playhouse in Georgetown tomorrow at 7:30 p.m.
For more on the Victoria Playhouse Concert Series, including its presentation of Gordie MacKeeman and His Rhythm Boys this Monday at 7:30 p.m. (and other shows in the theatre’s strong 2016 season), visit www.victoriaplayhouse.com.
Next week: It’s time to hit the town for the 2016 PEI Jazz & Blues Festival.