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Slainte Mhath signs Distribution Deal

By Stephen Cooke - Halifax Herald

The quintet's long-awaited second album, Va, will be released by the Warner Music-distributed label across Canada within the next two months. Linus has a small but prestigious roster of Canadian acts, including singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith, rap-rockers Shocore, alternative pop band By Divine Right and the rambunctious female quartet Tulli.

No two artists are the same but they reflect the wide-ranging tastes of label founder Jeff Kulavic.

"It made sense to go with Linus," said keyboardist Ryan MacNeil. "You get a good sense that the people there are music lovers, and they work with a real attention to their artists.

"Our music is very different, but they understand what we're doing."

Slainte Mhath (pronounced slawn-cha va) already has distribution overseas through Scotland's Greentrax Records, which helped pave the way for a Rising Star nomination at the BBC Radio 2 International Folk Awards on Feb. 11.

The band will open the folk awards gala show, which will feature The Chieftains as the closing act and will reach an estimated audience of two million listeners via broadcast and the Internet.

"That's the hard thing about us, is where to place us," said MacNeil, noting the band's well-honed traditional chops and its recent more exploratory compositions.

"We're not a Top 10 pop act that sells the bulk of its album in the first week it's released. It takes a lot more work to get people to hear our music, which is why our lives shows are so crucial.

"Up until now we've been quite happy with our record sales but we want to ensure that when we play a small town, the product is in the stores. Now we have the machine in place to get more bang for our buck."

Considering the loud approval of the band's ECMA showcase on Friday and a sold-out show in Saint John's 1,100-seat Gothic Arches venue, Slainte Mhath have lots of ammo to work with.


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