(Wings - Jennifer's new CD)

Jennifer's 3rd album
For Each New Day

Jennifer Roland

Cape Breton Fiddling with Heart

(an unofficial fan site)


 

Also check out Jennifer's official website

Recordings Where to Buy Jennifer's CDs Concert dates Biographical infomation Contact Info

   Among the many brilliant fiddlers of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Jennifer stands out for all those who have have had a chance to hear her, or the pleasure of meeting her. Jennifer certainly has technical virtuosity and dazzling dancing skills,. However, it is the heartfulness of her playing and the quality of the tunes she and her sister have written that distinguish Jennifer from the others. There are many fiddlers on the island who can provide a good night of fiddling or dancing, but few who can so touch their listeners with their playing and dancing. Jennifer is grateful for the exceptional support she received from family and friends growing up, and gives back her thanks through her playing. It is a truly remarkable gift to us all.

Besides her busy schedule as a performer, Jennifer devotes a lot of her time supporting many charitable and humanist organizations in aid of autism, Cancer Society, Transition House, AIDS coalition, and many more. Jen is also the musical ambassador/spokesperson for the Parkinson Society Canada. Jennifer also owns and directs her music school, Jennifer Roland School of Music and Dance.

Some folks outside of Cape Breton have had the thrill of hearing Jennifer play. In October 2009, she was off for another lengthy tour of Germany.  During the summer of 1009, Jennifer was invited to play at Dollywood, Dolly Parton's resort in Tennessee.

   In a blessed region where it seems nearly everyone plays the fiddle....astoundingly well, the locals appreciate the unique talent, tradition, and heart that Jennifer brings to her music. In 2007, her new album For Each New Day, was one of only five nominated for the extremely prestigious East Coast Music Award as the "Instrumental Recording of the Year": .


Recordings:

Jennifer's Own Albums: (click for more info on each album)

 

    • Master Crowley's
    • This Flower I Picked For You (a gorgeous slow air)
    • Cape Dauphin Set

 

 

  • Wings (2001 self-published). This CD reflects Jennifer's growth as a musician and is more experimental than Dedication. The same musicians that played on her debut CD are here joined by Cape Breton legends Howie Macdonald and Tracey Dares Macneil on piano.

 

 

  • Dedication (1997). (In Europe -Best.-Nr. MMR CD 1023) Featured on the album in addition to Jennifer are her sister Karen "Karmie" Steele, Ryan MacNeil (piano and synthesizer) Al Bennet (guitar, bass and tubular bells) and Matthew Foulds (drums and percussion). A major contributor to Jennifer's wonderful music is the tune-writing and piano-playing of her sister, Karen "Karmie" Steele. Karmie's two airs "Jenny's Dream" and "Our Friend Archie Neil" are among the best ever written in Cape Breton, and when played by the two of them, heart-breakingly lovely.
    • "This is one of my top ten Celtic albums of 1998!" Colin Randall, Daily Telegraph London
    • "There is so much soul and beauty in this album, I place it on even the shortest of my 'desert island' lists. It is one of the first Cape Breton CDs I recommend to those unfamiliar with Cape Breton music get. This CD contains great music and great playing, even by Cape Breton standards."    - www.sfcelticmusic.com

Appearances on Other Albums:

Cabot Trail Driving Guide  It's a driving guide  with  interviews with a wide variety of folks living and working around the Cabot Trail from musicians to folk artists; from lobster fishermen to experts from Cape Breton University. You'll hear about local legends, historic figures and countless other aspects of the trail. Jennifer does this introduction to this CD (and plays a set of tunes, no doubt?  - I don't have the CD)

(More Bridges 2 Cross)

  • "Thank You Winston" on More Bridges 2 Cross  (from Jennifer's Wings CD) (Celestial Entertainment)

(Bridges of Cape Breton)

  • "Our Friend Archie Neil" on The Bridges of Cape Breton County(s) (1998, Celestial Entertainment)-- Jennifer plays Karmie's beautiful air  from her Dedication CD on this terrific  sampler of Cape Breton music.

(Cape Breton Connection CD cover)

  • "The Breton Batherson Dancers" on The Cape Breton Connection (1998, Stephen MacDonald Productions). This is another collection of 16 top Cape Breton fiddlers. Jennifer is keeping company with the likes of Natalie MacMaster, Buddy MacMaster, Jerry Holland, and Brenda Stubbert!

 

Where You Can Get Jennifer's CDs:

Tours, Concerts, workshops, etc:

  • For tour information check Jennifer's schedule on  Jennifer's official website

Biographical information:

Jennifer is the youngest of ten children. She grew up in Alder Point, Cape Breton on the eastern shore. Like many children born on Cape Breton Island, music surrounded her from the moment she was born. Her father played fiddle, and the family always enjoyed the kitchen parties and Ceilidhs. By the age of three, Jennifer was playing the piano by ear. At six, she began taking dance lessons as well as several years of classical piano. At nine, Jennifer began studying the fiddle with Kyle MacNeil of the world renowned Barra MacNeils.

I had the pleasure of seeing Jennifer for the first time on the second night of the 1st Celtic Colours International Festival in Cape Breton at the Big Pond Fire Hall in 1997. She was the first musician out before the crowd, among a card of musicians that included J.P. Cormier and the Irish accordian genius Sharon Shannon. Her playing is what I remember from that night. Since then, Jennifer has come a long way. The very shy girl has blossomed into a remarkable poised musician and performer without losing any of her sincerity or charm.

Jennifer was the 1997 recipient of the Tic Butler Memorial Award. That year also marked the release of her debut album "Dedication". Jennifer was given a coveted showcase spot at the 1998 East Coast Music Awards.Jennifer had a starring role in the 1998 production of the Cape Breton Summertime Revue. All this before she reached the age of 20.  In 2001, Jennifer was selected from many East Coast musicians to "showcase" at the 2001 East Coast Music Awards, one of only 3 from Cape Breton for this honor. In 1998/99, Jennifer toured the U.K., Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Canada and the United States in support of her debut album. From the the first Celtic Colours International Festival in Cape Breton through the 10th anniversary festival in 2006 Jennifer has been a featured performer. Jennifer has also developed an avid following after performances at Disney World in Florida, at Longs Peak, Colorado, in New England and throughout the US including Texas, Minnesota, Alabama, Atlanta, as well as throughout Europe and of course, Canada.  

Most of Jennifer's music consists of traditional Cape Breton tunes. These are descendants of Scottish tunes the original settlers of Cape Breton brought with them when they emigrated from the Highlands and Hebrides Islands in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Other Cape Bretoners such as The Rankin Family, Natalie MacMaster, Buddy MacMaster and Ashley MacIsaac preceded Jennifer on tours outside of Canada and brought the unique music of Cape Breton recognition and praise throughout the U.S., Europe and even Japan. Those audiences are now in for a great treat as they get to hear and see what Jennifer has to offer.

Jennifer's new CD, For Each New Day is a great place to start listening.to her music. The album is simply superb.We have known for years that Jennifer's slow airs are breath-takingly beautiful. Her masterful version of  challenging march Johnny Cope may come as a surpirse to some of her fans.  Even beyond the beautiful playing on the other tracks, Jennifer's command of this piece and the spectacular feeling she infuses into it, would anyone sit up and take notice. Jennifer has been in the top rank of Cape Breton fiddlers for at least a decade, and this album will hopefully bring her all the recognition and fans that she so richly deserves.  Thanks, Jennifer giving us such a terrific CD!

- Jim Scarff  www.sfcelticmusic.com


Contact Information:

Updated: July 31, 2007.


If there are broken links, errors, or other technical problems with this site, please send an e-mail to Jim Scarff at jim@sfcelticmusic.com