January 22, 2021

Music Monday: October 10, 2016


Music Monday: Music from the North Country

Last year, in a Saturday Ramblings post, I listed five of my favorite “autumnal” music albums, and one of them was by a family group from Nova Scotia named The Rankin Family, called North Country.

The Rankins as a musical group were born out of the practice of the céilidh, a traditional Gaelic social gathering for storytelling, music, and dancing. The Rankins had twelve children in their small community of Mabou on the west coast of Cape Breton Island who regularly entertained their neighbors on the weekend gatherings.

Five of the children eventually formed a group and performed at various occasions in the 1970s. In the 1980s and 90s they began recording and became an award-winning musical act in Canada, winning several Juno awards, the equivalent of the U.S. Grammy.

Members of the group eventually went their separate ways to pursue independent careers, and brother John Morris and sister Raylene have since died.

The Rankins’ music over the years has included a wonderful combination of original pieces, poignant traditional Gaelic songs, and rollicking jigs and reels. I especially love it in the fall, when the north country cries out amidst fading beauty and joy delights in the harvest dance.

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  1. senecagriggs says

    I am now a fan of the Rankins! Thanks C.M.

  2. Andrew Zook says

    CM, your mention of them last year was the first time I heard of them. Have listened to them many times now, purchased a song and love, love them! One of my all time favorites. Their music and harmony makes my soul soar! Thanks

  3. Steve in Toronto says

    Great band and the sisters are very accessible. If you are ever on Cape Breton island check out the pub they run in Mabou http://www.redshoepub.com/

  4. petrushka1611 says

    Can I come whine about how this is too lowbrow for me, and I can’t understand it? 😉

  5. JudyfromEdmonton says

    So lovely to open your blog this Canadian Thanksgiving morning and see a nod to our very own Rankin family. We are often so overwhelmed with American culture up here it’s good to see some of who we are at our best makes it your way as well.

  6. My sister got me interested in the Rankin family ages ago. Love seeing them “promoted” here.

    I’ll make the obligatory recommendations: if you’re new to the Rankins and enjoy this kinda stuff, try Allison Krauss and Union Station, or Cry, Cry, Cry.

    Cry, Cry, Cry’s “Cold Missouri Waters:

    Cry, Cry, Cry’s “The Ballad of Mary Magdalen”

  7. Christiane says

    WONDERFUL music! Thanks, Chaplain MIKE

  8. Wow. I thought I was the only one in the States who’d heard of them! (I think I found their CD in a bin at the local used CD stores back in the 1990’s.) Lovely voices, incredible talent. I really need to go dig through my collection of CDs and find the ones I have of theirs and load them into the CD player in my truck.

  9. That “Fair Thee Well” touched the Irish chords inside me. Great stuff!

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