It’s no secret that Cape Bretoners are proud of their Island heritage. “We are an island, a rock in the stream. We are a people as proud as there’s been…” go the lyrics to Cape Breton’s unofficial anthem, “The Island”.
It’s often argued that those who come from islands are somehow just a little different—a point that
Newfoundlanders, Shetlanders, the Irish, the Scottish, and many more around the world would be
quick to agree with. There’s something about an island that keeps a culture unique.
Exploring that idea this year, Celtic Colours International Festival will welcome artists from islands all over the Celtic world. The 16th edition of the nine-day, island-wide celebration gets underway October 5th at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre and wraps up on the 13th at Sydney’s Centre 200.
“We’re very excited to be bringing you The Chieftains who are on their 50th anniversary tour, our own Natalie MacMaster, Fiddlers’ Bid from Shetland, and the Battlefield Band from Scotland, along with our Artists in Residence—Irish guitarist, singer and songwriter John Doyle and Cape Breton singer-songwriter Cyril MacPhee,” said Artistic Director Joella Foulds.
Returning to the Festival this year, by popular demand, are the Asham Stompers, The Once, Vishtèn,
Madison Violet, April Verch Band, Alan Kelly Gang, The Outside Track, and Daniel Lapp. As always we’ll see a host of local favourites including Rita MacNeil, J.P. Cormier, a Brakin’ Tradition reunion, Mary Jane Lamond & Wendy MacIsaac, Troy MacGillivray, Kimberley Fraser, Howie MacDonald, Brenda Stubbert, Andrea Beaton, Sprag Session (formerly the Colin Grant Band), the Men of the Deeps, and many more.
Performing at Celtic Colours for the first time are Oirialla, a band from Ireland featuring festival favourite Nuala Kennedy, Fionia String Band from Denmark, the Dardanelles from Newfoundland, Makem & Spain featuring Tommy Makem’s sons, and the Chaisson Family from Prince Edward Island.
Creative projects this year include the next editions of the Fiddletree and Roots to the Future projects as well as a concert dedicated to Cape Breton songs of work and protest. And of course there will be a full complement of Community Cultural Experiences including dances, meals, sessions, workshops, lectures, exhibits, outdoor activities and more.
Experience it all at Celtic Colours International Festival, a Canadian Tourism Commission Signature Event and winner of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada’s 2011 Cultural Tourism Award.