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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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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

Nova Scotia
Darren McMullen is a highly sought after multi-instrumentalist based out of Halifax, Nova Scotia. His list of 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 three solo albums and been busy touring and performing with a wide range of bands including the Rankins, Pogey, Dave Gunning, Matt Andersen, Bruce Guthro, Matt Minglewood, David Francey, Gillian Boucher, Troy MacGillivray, Andrea Beaton, Rachel Davis, Anna Ludlow, and Chrissy Crowley.

Darren also plays in Sprag Session with Colin Grant, Jason Roach, Donnie Calabrese and Colin Clarke, and fronts his own Darren McMullen Band.

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Dàimh

Scotland
Taking their name from the Scottish Gaelic word for kinship, Gaelic supergroup Dàimh are a 5 piece band based in Lochaber in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland; an area as much renowned for its scenic beauty as for its rich musical and cultural heritage. A long-established favourite at folk festivals in Scotland, Ireland and across Europe, twice nominated for Folk Band of the Year at the Scots Traditional Music Awards, Dàimh are also regulars on BBC television.

Gaelic champion Griogair Labhruidh on vocals and Uillean Pipes adds the depth and power of his commanding vocal performances to an already phenomenal instrumental arsenal of bagpipes, fiddle, whistles, mandola, banjo and guitar. From pyrotechnic jigs and reels to achingly poignant ballads, they run the full expressive gamut of folk music at its best, and are justly renowned for their thrilling live shows.

Dàimh have released 5 studio albums to date. Their most recent, Tuneship, once again sees the band blazing a new trail in the Scottish music scene with their own instrumental compositions skillfully integrated with traditional Gaelic Songs.

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Colleen MacLellan & family

New Brunswick
Colleen is the daughter of famed pianist Maybelle Chisholm McQueen. Growing up in a musical family as the Chisholms of Margaree, Colleen has developed her unique style. She’ll be performing with her son Cameron as well as other members of the extended family.

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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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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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