The Carillon brings you the weekly news from the University of Regina.
The little band that could
by Jamie Kreiser|
The band Scruj MacDuhk is well on its way to becoming a household name. They have released two albums that were critically acclaimed; a third album is planned for release in June; they have received several Juno award nominations; and they have been the recipients of several Prairie Music Awards.
According to Leonard Podolak, banjoist and vocalist for the group, Scruj MacDuhk started out as "the little band that could."
Podolak explains, "Scruj MacDuhk started out as me and some friends jamming around for a while. We didn't know that we'd become a serious band."
Serious or not, the Celtic-folk band had their first gig on St. Patrick's Day in 1995. The group proved they had the ability to create catchy music. They were on their way.
However, life in a band proved to be difficult. "Not everyone is able to give up everything to make music," says Podolak.
Several original members ended up leaving the group, including guitarist Jeremy Walsh. According to Podolak, Walsh left MacDuhk on good terms.
"He just had other things he wanted to do."
Despite some significant losses to the group, the next generation of Scruj MacDuhk have proven that they have the ability to live up to the reputation and the standards that the prior members have set. Along with Podolak, the current members of the group are: Ruth Moody (vocal, piano, bodhran), Lyndsey Bart (vocals, guitar, flute), Jeremy Penner (vocals, fiddle), Oliver Swain (vocals, bass fiddle), and Christian Gugas (percussion).
The success of the current members can be attributed to their passion and talent for traditional, Celtic, and folk music.
"Our music comes from the heart," says Podolak, "and most of us come from very musical families."
Moody comes from a family that was highly musically oriented. Many of her siblings, including her brother Richard, went on to become singers. Penner's father was an opera singer. Podolak himself grew up in a folk music atmosphere. His father started the Winnipeg Folk Festival.
The latest heartfelt release from MacDuhk was 1999's Road to Canso. Listeners were treated to traditional melodies in both English and French and some highly energized instrumentals. Fans of Canso are sure to enjoy MacDuhk's next release.
"There will be a bunch of the same stuff on this album such as old-time Irish medleys. There will also be more original material and some newer sounds for us, such as some Cajun music.
Basically it will consist of the same flavors with a few surprises."
The fact that MacDuhk continues to succeed without giving into the packaged pop music that you mostly hear would have to be their ultimate trademark.
Comments Podolak, "If we do something that the pop charts appreciate, that's great, but we won't do something just for the sake of appealing to people. We play music we know; we play music that we like."
Another distinct feature of MacDuhk is their graciousness to their fans for the opportunity to perform and create music for them.
"We are so thankful that we have this opportunity. Who wouldn't want to create music and perform it for people all over the world? I hope I can do it for the rest of my life."
Scruj MacDuhk will be performing at the Exchange on February 12. So what can one expect at their performance?
Says Podolak with a laugh, "A band with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. We also have a good vibe and great hearts. Don't expect to just sit back and listen. It will be a good place to tap your toes and check out something you haven't seen before. You're in for a good time."
Questions or comments? Email Erin Mazur, Technology Co-Ordinator.