Mandy Keating & Helen McLachlan

Melbourne based duet, Mandy Keating & Helen McLachlan have played music together for over a decade. Originally from Geelong, they have played together in celtic bands (Paddiwack, Dandara, Finn McCool and Keating's Brew) and are now playing as a duet. They have a unique sound, revealing subtle anglo-celtic melodies, moving lyrics, warm and inviting harmonies and rhythmic influences of bluegrass, celtic, folk and gospel.

Mandy and Helen are both talented musicians & songwriters, they play around seven instruments between  them. They refer to their music (which is both originals and covers) as contemporary celtic. In their performances, they have created a unique diverse sound by combining their talents on guitars, banjo, whistle, mandolin, percussion and vocals.

In 1996, Mandy produced a solo CD titled ‘Hide Your Eyes’, which included a bonus track by Helen.
As a duet, Mandy and Helen have recently finished their first CD titled ‘Our Town’ which contains both traditional and contemporary music, as well as a couple of originals.

Over the years they have performed at the Queenscliff, Maldon and the Port Fairy Folk Festivals.  This year they got rave reviews after performing at the National Festival in Canberra,  National Celtic and Kilmore Festivals.


Melbourne based duet, Mandy Keating & Helen McLachlan have played music together for over a decade.
“Our Town” is their first release as an acoustic duo, and covers a range of bluegrass, celtic, folk and gospel
standards as well as an original apiece. The recording has an honest homegrown singalong quality to it,
with Mandy and Helen sharing vocals as well as several instruments, including guitar, banjo, whistle, mandolin
and percussion

The album opens with the Appalachian folk of ‘All My Tears’, featuring Helen on banjo, followed by a
sprightly version of Kate Rusby’s ‘Cobbler’s Daughter’. The warmth of the vocal harmonies really comes
to the fore in songs like Cheryl Wheeler’s ‘Summerfly’ and the celtic lilt of Christy Moore’s
‘Back Home In Derry’. The southern gospel classic ‘I’ll Fly Away’ gets a treatment that captures the
singalong spirit of the Gillian Welch version. Mandy Keating’s original ‘Cook’s Secret’ is a fine effort
in a celtic/bluegrass mould, again putting the banjo to good use. ‘Pretty Saro/Seamus Cooleys’ is a
sweet set that showcases Mandy’s whistleplaying and a splash of bodhran.

This is unabashedly simple folk, heartfelt and warm, no frills playing and a consistently pleasant listen
that could well suit a lazy summer afternoon.

review by Bradfield Dumpleton, for 2007

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Last Updated:  15/9/2007


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