St. Ann’s, Nova Scotia – Cape Breton is preparing to once again host a world-class Celtic entertainment and cultural celebration this October. With a growing reputation as one of the premier Celtic music events in the world, the Celtic Colours International Festival has its sights set on making this festival the finest in its four year history. To succeed festival organizers are looking into new ways of bringing the Celtic culture to life.
Pride in the array of talented performers featured on Celtic Colours’ stages is one aspect that makes the festival unique. This year’s line-up includes Tommy Makem, the Barra MacNeils, Dougie MacLean, Danu, Kilt, Eleanor Shanley, and over two hundred other fine musicians and singers. Whether front and center at a rousing ceilidh, or leading the audience through a gentle aire in a formal concert setting, Celtic Colours 2000 performers treat audiences to a Celtic experience possible only on Cape Breton island. But Celtic Colours is also proud of its audiences. The Celtic Colours party wouldn’t be possible without the people it attracts. The Gaelic traditions promoted by Celtic Colours survive because followers of Celtic music, language, and dance feel so strongly about their culture. Performers agree that their fans are in fact part of the show, and as such play an important role in the success of the Celtic renaissance.
Charlie MacCuspic of the Cape Breton Fiddlers Association believes audiences actually help artists to perform, ” I play the fiddle, and when I know somebody is enjoying the music it helps me a lot. There’s a shared energy between performer and listener in the Gaelic tradition that goes beyond the normal concert setting.” Festival organizers are listening. They believe some of the festival shows, which are built around specific themes, could be moved around the island to allow for the exposure referred to by MacCuspic.
“We’re looking into touring some shows like Celtic Women or Celtic Pianos to communities around the island. Celtic Colours is unique because many different communities host events. Maybe the time has come to build on the success of certain events and present them in new communities,” says Celtic Colours Society Chair, Sam MacPhee. ” Certain performances like Louisbourg’s ‘Step Into The Past’ or the Gaelic College’s ‘The Cape Breton Fiddlers’ must be hosted in those locations due to the theme of the evening.” continues MacPhee, ” But certainly, other shows are more flexible and could benefit from a change in scenery.”
MacCuspic affirms the Gaelic College as a perfect location for showcasing the talents of the Cape Breton Fiddlers Association; ” The Gaelic College is a natural choice for two reasons. It’s centrally located, because so many fiddlers come from all corners of Cape Breton; and the College is set up to promote our Celtic culture and fiddle music is a huge part of that culture.”
Shows tailored around a specific theme are a growing trend in the Celtic Colours line-up. For 2000, Celtic Colours will add two new shows, “Fiddlers’ Heaven” and “Tune Circle”. “Fiddlers’ Heaven” will be a night of fiddle music set in the cradle of Celtic music, Judique, with performances by Buddy MacMaster, Blazin’ Fiddles, and Sean McGuire. The “Tune Circle” promises to be an intimate Port Hood evening of song and story with Jerry Holland, Liam O’Flynn and Pat Chafe.
With a line up that rivals any featured at other festivals of its size, and a commitment to promoting Celtic culture while encouraging the tradition of audience interaction favoured by Gaelic heritage, Celtic Colours 2000 is ready to bring the world to ceilidh on Cape Breton this October.