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David Greely

USA
David Greely’s French Louisiana music is opening a new wing in his tradition. David has taken the swampy syncopations of Cajun music and its renaissance French dialect to a new level of sophistication without losing its urgency and texture. In solo acoustic performance, he sounds like two or three fiddles, weaving accompaniment to his vocals as if it’s someone else singing. Presenting his concerts in English or French, he embraces all the aspects of his heritage that a fiddle and voice can reach—ancient ballads, cane field blues, yearning waltzes and fiery two steps—and melds his ancestral legacy with his own adroit compositions and stories of the rich souls who kept this music and language alive.
David was born in Baton Rouge of Cajun and Irish ancestry, and learned Cajun music on dance hall stages throughout South Louisiana, in the archives of Cajun and Creole music at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette, and from his apprenticeship to Cajun fiddle master and National Heritage Fellow Dewey Balfa. As a founding member of Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, David toured Folk Festivals worldwide for 23 years, and was nominated for four Grammy Awards. He has received the Louisiana Artist Fellowship Award for Folklife Performance, and is an adjunct instructor of Cajun fiddle at the University of Louisiana.

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Dave MacIsaac

Nova Scotia
Internationally recognized as a master of stringed instruments, Dave MacIsaac is a musician’s musician and is widely admired as such. He plays traditional fiddle tunes with fiery passion, and his stunning guitar playing, whether solo or as accompaniment, is industry legend. Always interested in expanding his knowledge of Celtic music, Dave has thousands of recordings of Cape Breton traditional music. He also possesses an archival knowledge of tunes, and is often called upon to name that tune for recordings, as well as being in high demand for session work. John Allan Cameron often stated that, “If a cod fish had strings… Dave MacIsaac could play it!”

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Darren McMullen Band

Nova Scotia
Darren McMullen is a highly sought after multi-instrumentalist based out of Halifax, Nova Scotia. His list of on-stage instruments includes mandolin, bouzouki, tenor banjo, whistles, guitar and bass. Darren started young on piano and then guitar and played his way through the popular pub band scene until he landed a gig with J.P. Cormier in 2004 which took him throughout Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. Since then he has released two solo albums and been busy touring and performing with a wide range of artists. In the Darren McMullen Band, he has teamed up with Zach Smith on percussion, Rachel Davis on fiddle and vocals, and Ben Furey on mandolin and vocals. Darren will also be performing with Sprag Session and Coìg.

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Darrell Keigan

Cape Breton
Darrell’s musical career began over twenty years ago, playing house parties, and local halls in Cape Breton. Celtic music was introduced to Darrell at an early age by his parents–his mother Mea being a beautiful Gaelic singer, and his late father, John, a gifted traditional singer and guitar player as well. Over the last two decades, Darrell has played to audiences throughout much of Eastern Canada, and has shared the stage with many great singers and musicians. In that time he has released two albums, “First Flight” and “An Evening With Darrell Keigan”.

With a deep love and respect for the music he performs, Darrell has won many fans all over the world. With his keen interest in history, Darrell creates a show that involves his audience. From local songs and stories to those taken from Scottish, Irish and Cape Breton history and whether he’s playing to a packed hall, or sitting in a living room packed with friends, Darrell’s love of music and people is instantly evident.

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Darol Anger

USA
Darol Anger has spent the last 30 years opening connections between violin styles of the world. Exceptional among modern fiddlers for his versatility and depth, his style and his rhythmic innovations have changed fiddling all over the globe. Darol’s career began in 1975 with the legendary David Grisman Quintet featuring guitarist Tony Rice. With these 2 players as Darol’s first great musical mentors, the DGQ established the highest-ever standards of performance for a string band up till then. In the Quintet, Darol worked with musical giants such as Stephane Grappelli, Vassar Clements, Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Dr. Billy Taylor, and Mark O’Connor, and met long-time musical partners multi-string wizard Mike Marshall, pianist/vocalist Barbara Higbie, and composer/violinist David Balakrishnan.

After leaving the DGQ, he recorded a string of successful albums for Windham Hill with Marshall, Higbie, and The Montreux Band, working closely with other musical luminaries such as innovative guitarist Michael Hedges, bassist Michael Manring, and steel pan genius Andy Narell. With composer/violinist David Balakrishnan he founded the Turtle Island String Quartet. Turtle Island blazed a new frontier for the venerable string quartet form, teaching and performing their original music, mind-boggling jazz arangements, and other contemporary music all over the world while teaching their breakthrough style and techniques along the way.

After 11 years with Turtle Island, Darol returned to new acoustic and world string band music, often working with other great fiddlers of the day, forming the bands Psychograss (with Marshall, banjo giant Tony Trischka, bluegrass guitar hero David Grier , and grammy-winning bassist Todd Phillips) the Grammy-nominated Fiddlers 4 (with reknowned cajun fiddler Michael Doucet, Appalachian revivalist Bruce Molsky, and cello phenomenon Rushad Eggleston), Newgrange (with grammy winner Tim O’Brien and Compass Records founder/banjo whiz Alison Brown), the 4 Generations Of Jazz Violin (with jazz violin giants Regina Carter, Johnny Frigo, Joe Kennedy Jr., Matt Glaser and others), and his much-loved long-running collaboration, theAnger-Marshall Duo. His latest collaboration has been with the phenomenally popular early music group the Anonymous 4. These collaborations have yielded a string of important recordings– spanning over 30 years– which define, develop and encompass an entire genre of music.

His latest group, The Republic Of Strings, is the latest step in this process, passing on the knowledge of his mentors’ generation to a new generation of brilliant string musicians, with respected guitar innovator Scott Nygaard and a stream of amazing young talent, continuing in the musical tradition of bandleaders such as Bill Monroe, Miles Davis, Art Blakey, and David Grisman.

An award-winning composer, Anger is also committed to string education and helped create the String Resource Board for the International Jazz Educators Association. He is a contributing editor with Strings Magazine, teaches at Mark O’Connor’s Fiddle Camp, and continues to discover and expose new string talent.

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Cyril MacPhee

Cape Breton
Cyril MacPhee’s professional music career began when he was 18 years old. Growing up just outside of St. Peter’s in a musical family, the young musician was immersed in Cape Breton ceilidhs and heavily influenced by his father’s Scottish and Irish fiddling, Country and Bluegrass music, and Folk singers like Stan Rogers. His musical influences are extremely varied, from the Beatles to Harry Hibbs, and this shows through in his songwriting and musical style.

He released three albums with the popular power-folk group Brakin’ Tradition before embarking on a career as a solo artist. This singer, songwriter and skilled guitarist has since released two solo albums, 1998′s ECMA-nominated “When I Say I Do” and “Back on Track” (2001). Most of his music has a country-folk sound much like that of Gordon Lightfoot while there is pop element to other songs. MacPhee has versatility in his music that is a truly unique blend of folk, country and Celtic music.

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Company Road

Cape Breton
Brothers and sisters have an infinite anomalous bond unlike any other and when you inject a shared love of music into that bond-line it strengthens it beyond understanding.

The four MacDonald siblings who make up the group Company Road have that bond and it is clearly obvious when they perform, interact and harmonize, even if they may have recently tried to strangle each other back stage! Kelly Jean, Mitch, Gordie and Brennan absolutely love singing and performing together and there is certainly something uniquely magical about watching them.

Although traditional Cape Breton fiddle music and dance is undeniably in their blood, being raised in Port Hood, a place deeply rooted in Scottish, Gaelic heritage, where stepdancing and kitchen parties are like snacks, Country music was a staple in their home growing up. It was the voices of George Jones, Vern Gosdin, Waylon & Willie, Merle, Tammy, Dolly, Loretta, Alan Jackson, Bobby Bare, and John Prine that drifted from the record player and AM radio, down the hall, past the only bathroom and into the ears of Cecil and Mary Janet’s seven children. And it shows that they still have a genuine sense of love for that music and all descendant Country to Americana and Indie-Folk music that has followed.

Brothers Brennan (Kilt; Gin & Juice; Crossfire) and Mitch (2nd place Canadian Idol Season 6) are no strangers to the stage having performed all over the nation and beyond and shared stages with the likes of Bryan Adams, Natalie MacMaster, Mariah Carey, Great Big Sea, Chantal Kreviazuk, Jason McCoy, Tom Jackson, and Matt Andersen. Gordie and Kelly Jean however have only recently been convinced to come out of the kitchen and bring their talents to the stage. Each brings their own style and voice to their music, from Kelly Jean’s amazing control and power, to Gordie’s incredible sense of harmony, Mitch’s soft indie-esque vibe and Brennan’s musical comfort and writing combined with family humour and personality. You’ll be in good company with this crowd.

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Colin Watson

Cape Breton
Colin Watson was raised with Gaelic as a first languages and has an avid enthusiasm for all aspects of Cape Breton’s Gaelic tradition. His specialty is Gaelic singing. With a repertoire of mouth tunes and song, he has sung for BBC Scotland and appeared at concerts and milling frolics throughout Nova Scotia. Colin graduated from Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, Memorial University in 2011 after living in Newfoundland for four years. He currently lives in Jamesville, Victoria County, Cape Breton.

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