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Artists Archive

Buddy MacDonald

Cape Breton
Buddy MacDonald, from the North Shore of Cape Breton, has been a singer/songwriter and entertainer for over thirty years. He was exposed at an early age to the singing and story-telling of some of the great singers of his native Island. Much of his song-writing is still influenced by this style he was so familiar with as a young boy.

Over the years he has travelled and entertained audiences throughout Canada, the United States, Germany, Scotland and the Scandinavian countries, performing as a solo act and in different combinations with other musicians from Cape Breton including Natalie MacMaster, Howie Mac Donald, Ashley MacIsaac, Dave MacIsaac, and John Allan Cameron among many others.

Since Celtic Colours began in 1997, Buddy has been the host of the late night Festival Club, and he has performed all over the Island with musicians from all over the world, including Scotland’s Dougie MacLean and Archie Fisher, Ireland’s Tommy Makem and Michael Black, and a host of others. Buddy’s songs have been performed and recorded by artists throughout the country.

Buddy continues to tour and chase audiences to wherever they will sit down and listen. Whether in a small country hall, pub, festival or concert theatre, his love of writing, singing and entertaining comes across to bridge the gap between performer and listener.

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Brenda Stubbert

Cape Breton
Brenda Stubbert is an extraordinary fiddler, pianist, and composer from Cape Breton, one of the very finest musicians the island has ever produced. Deeply rooted in the distinctive music of Cape Breton’s Northside, she grew up surrounded by wonderful musicians. Her father, Robert, is a highly respected fiddler and composer, strongly influenced by the Irish tradition. The family home in Port Aconi, a small fishing community near Sydney Mines, was alive with music. Legendary fiddlers Winston Scotty Fitzgerald, Johnny Wilmot, Joe Confiant, and many others came by regularly, infusing the house with music. At five, Brenda was step dancing and playing the piano. At eight, she was playing the fiddle. After that, she never looked back; music was the center of her life.

Brenda Stubbert is also one of Cape Breton’s leading composers. Two books of her compositions are in print, and her tunes are in repertoires everywhere Celtic fiddle music can be heard. And she’s a great teacher of the music, having taught for twelve years at Cape Breton’s influential Ceilidh Trail School, as well as at the Gaelic College and other venues on and off the island.

Brenda is in constant demand throughout Cape Breton. Her dances are lively and well attended. Since 1986, Brenda has released 7 albums, including Endless Memories (2008) which won the East Coast Music Award for Traditional Recording of the Year, and her most recent, Different Strokes with Different Folks (2011).

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Brad Davidge

Nova Scotia
Brad Davidge is a very exciting, versatile player, full of energy and soul, a combination that is not easy to come by. His songwriting abilities are that of a true craftsman, mature yet current, and his vocal abilities are endless, possessing a 4-octave range, with both power and subtlety on demand. Brad has received coast-to-coast acclaim, including Music Nova Scotia and East Coast Music Award nominations. The Toronto-born, Newfoundland-raised guitarist/singer/songwriter joined Terry Kelly’s touring band after graduating from the St. F. X. music program and he has toured and recorded extensively with Natalie MacMaster and Mary Jane Lamond.

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Bob, Jennifer & Kate Quinn

Cape Breton
Bob Quinn is the composer behind the widely known song, “My Love, Cape Breton & Me”, which is found on Natalie MacMaster’s Blueprint album as recorded by her cousin, Kate. Jennifer (Whalen) Quinn performed often with Nova Scotia favourites John Allan Cameron and Anne Murray. Together, they will come together to celebrate Jennifer’s uncle, Buddy MacMaster, for the festival this year.

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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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CapeLand Dancers

Cape Breton
Kelly MacArthur and The CapeLand Dancers
Kelly MacArthur is a champion dancer from Cape Breton, who has competed and performed all over the world for over 30 years, with nearly every musician and band that has come out of Nova Scotia. She has won several titles, including Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canadian Champion, as well as Western Canadian Runner Up. She was the Nova Scotia Dance Ambassador for tourism for 10 years, won a NS Women in Business Award in the Arts & Culture sector and a Maine Ambassador of Tourism & Culture Award. She was also featured in the Barra MacNeil’s video, “My Heart’s in the Highlands”.

Kelly has been teaching Highland Dance and Cape Breton Step Dance for the past 25 years, all over Canada and the United States, including 17 years at her own Dance Studio in Sydney, the MacArthur School of Dance.

The school has a performance troupe under Kelly’s direction, called the CapeLand Dancers. This Company consists of top-level dancers from all over Cape Breton, all of whom are immersed in the Gaelic culture of Cape Breton, and dance a variety of styles, including traditional and modern choreographed stage pieces.

Performing highland and step dance along with Kelly this year at Dancing Up a Suête, are both junior and senior members of the Company, all of whom are seasoned performers and top notch dancers. Kelly’s choreography has won many awards, and is known for its versatility, so she is thrilled to be working alongside Celtic harpist, Maeve Gilchrist, to create a beautiful dance piece.

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Cape Breton Fiddlers’ Association

Cape Breton
Preparation for the 1973 Festival of Cape Breton Fiddling in Glendale gave birth to the Cape Breton Fiddlers’ Association. The Association’s main mandate has been to preserve and promote traditional Cape Breton fiddle music.

In 1998, the Association celebrated its 25th anniversary with two hundred and two fiddlers on stage at the Gaelic College. Ten years later, nearly one hundred members embarked on a ten-day tour of Scotland.

By providing workshops and opportunities to learn new tunes and techniques, publishing tunes, and providing venues for musicians, the Cape Breton Fiddlers’ Association is flourishing.

Cape Breton fiddle music is alive and well both on the Island and throughout the world and the Cape Breton Fiddlers’ Association is proud to have played a significant role in this resurgence.

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Cape Breton Chorale

Cape Breton
The internationally-acclaimed Cape Breton Chorale has been thrilling audiences at home in Canada and around the world since its formation in 1973 with its unique style of classical, modern, religious and secular music. Under the direction of Sister Rita Clare, CND, the 50-plus voice mixed adult group has given more than 250 performances at home and abroad, touring England, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland, and representing Canada at the International Musical Eisteddfod in Wales.

Canadian radio and television audiences have been able to enjoy the music of the Cape Breton Chorale through a number of appearances on various programs, including the CBC Choral Competitions where the Chorale competed as Atlantic finalist. The Chorale has shared the stage with musical stars including Celine Dion and Rita MacNeil, and has performed before numerous visiting dignitaries, including Queen Elizabeth II. It has hosted and sung with visiting choirs from Canada and Europe, participated in workshops with distinguished Canadian choral conductors, and has joined with other Nova Scotia choirs to perform major works.

The Cape Breton Chorale has released five albums and demonstrated, through its versatility and repertoire, its well-deserved reputation for excellence.

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