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Colin Grant

Cape Breton
Hard-driving but clean, lively and passionate, traditional yet original—Colin Grant’s fiddle playing has inconspicuously stepped to the forefront of the East Coast traditional music scene and people are sitting up and taking notice. Although most at home with traditional Cape Breton fiddle music, his versatility as both a lead and side musician has given him experiences in a variety of traditional styles, in addition to folk, rock and country genres. Colin has put this experience to use with Sprag Session, playing a dynamic and thoughtful mingling of beats and melodies from an extensive host of musical influences. In addition to solo performances, Colin will also be playing with Sprag Session and Coìg during Celtic Colours this year.

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Còig

Cape Breton
Chrissy Crowley, Rachel Davis, Colin Grant, Jason Roach and Darren McMullen got together in 2010 for a tour promoting Celtic Colours. The engaging line-up of well-known solo acts—featuring expertly-played fiddle, piano, guitar, mandolin, whistle and banjo—enjoyed playing together so much that they decided to perform as Còig (“Ko-ick” – Scottish Gaelic for “five”) whenever they can. And we’re happy they are together for the Festival this year.

Chrissy Crowley, from Margaree, has an impressive list of awards, nominations, and international appearances. She embraces her Celtic roots and makes them her own, through original compositions coupled with contemporary arrangements of traditional tunes.

Rachel Davis, from Baddeck, spends her time switching from international festival stages to small local dances at home. In a genre that sees many performers pushing the envelope and testing new waters, her style of playing trad tunes in a trad way is a refreshing reminder of why the Cape Breton fiddle style drives so hard, and is so sought after.

Colin Grant, from Sydney, has been touring steadily as a solo performer, and with Sprag Session. His respect for traditional style, combined with his drive to take the Celtic fiddle to new places results in an exciting sound that is as much Buddy MacMaster as it is Ashley MacIssac.

Jason Roach, from Cheticamp, is one of the most impressive piano players you will ever hear. With a style all his own, and an unparalleled intensity on the keys, you’ll have to remind yourself that there are other players on the stage.

Darren McMullen, from Hardwoodlands, NS, is a highly sought after multi-instrumentalist. Easily switching between guitar, mandolin, whistle and banjo with Còig, this “swiss-army knife” keeps the rhythms diverse, and is sure to impress with his lead playing of his various ‘on-stage weapons’.

With busy solo schedules, these musicians do not get a lot of chances to play together as Còig. Take advantage of this rare opportunity to see them in action.

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Christine & Sylvie Doucet

Cape Breton
Born and raised in Chéticamp, Cape-Breton, Sylvie and Christine Doucet have been dancing for as long as they can remember. They were both founding members of La swing du suête and have shared their love of dancing with many audiences over the years. Christine now lives in Sydney where she teaches step dancing to young students and is in charge of the dance troupe Pieds en cadence. Sylvie lives in Chéticamp where she teaches step dancing to adults and is assistant director of the dance troupe La swing du suête. Both sisters are happy to be reunited on stage to share their love of dance and celtic music.

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Cassie & Maggie MacDonald

Nova Scotia
Fun, exciting, charming and talented Cassie and Maggie MacDonald are a dynamic Celtic sister duo who have emerged onto the music scene as the ones to watch.

Born in Halifax, with strong roots in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, the girls have been wowing audiences across Canada with their unique blend of original and traditional Celtic music. Cassie’s fiddle playing has been described as “sweet and elegant with just the right amount of raw power” while Maggie’s piano playing has an irresistible drive that will leave your foot incapable of staying still and complements Cassie’s playing perfectly.

Together these delightful sisters bring more than your average fiddle and piano duo; Cassie is an award winning highland and step dancer and also sings harmony for Maggie. In addition to her piano playing, Maggie sings lead, plays guitar, banjo, accordion and is also an accomplished step dancer. Their music fits together seamlessly encompassing various styles from Cape Breton reels to Antigonish polkas, Quebecois fiddling and footwork to down east standards. Their vocal harmonies are sweet yet powerful and their step dancing exact and exciting, showing off their youthful charm and energy.

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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.
Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, the Cape Breton Fiddlers’ Association will be featured in a very special closing concert.

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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. This year we celebrate the Chorale’s 40th anniversary with a special concert to close the Festival.

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Bruce Guthro

Cape Breton
Bruce Guthro is an artist who has captivated audiences around the world with his honest, straight-to-the-heart songwriting and live performances that are as engaging and personal as the man himself. Troubadour and storyteller, Bruce’s music gets to the heart of the matter, and his success can be attributed to his ability to connect with his audience. His songs cross the boundaries of pop, folk, and jazz and showcase the vast abilities of the songwriter to put into words many diverse experiences as though he has lived them all. Along with his solo career, Bruce has toured for over a decade as lead singer for the Scottish super group Runrig, which has a strong following in Europe and continues to grow internationally. After all his achievements, Bruce remains as down-to-earth as when he first appeared on the Canadian music scene, writing truthfully and passionately about the world around him while leaving his audiences wanting more.

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Brittany Haas

USA
California-born Brittany Haas is widely regarded as one of the most influential fiddlers of her generation. She grew up honing her craft in fiddle camps nationwide, and came to her unique sound through the old-time fiddling of Bruce Molsky and the innovative stylings of Darol Anger. A prodigious youth, she began touring with Darol’s Republic of Strings at the age of 14. She simultaneously studied baboons in the evolutionary biology department of Princeton University (and minoring in music performance, composing with professor Dan Trueman) and joined seminal chamber-grass band Crooked Still. She has toured with them since, and also performed with Yonder Mountain String Band, Tony Trischka, Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas (her cellist sister), Abigail Washburn, and The Waybacks. She played her fiddle on Steve Martin’s Grammy Award-winning CD, “The Crow,” and performed in his band on Letterman and SNL. She released her debut self-titled solo album at 17, produced by Darol Anger and featuring Bruce Molsky, Mike Marshall, Alison Brown and others. Currently residing in Nashville, she is the co-leader of the Brittany Haas/Dan Trueman band who released their debut record “CrissCross” in 2011. She also plays in a fiddle duo with Lauren Rioux, an all-girl indie old-time band called The Fundies, “4tet” with Cleek Schrey (hardanger fiddle/pump organ), Jordan Tice (guitar) and Nic Gareiss (percussive dance), a trio with Jordan Tice and Paul Kowert (bassist in the Punch Brothers), and a duo with Kai Welch.

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