GRAND ÉTANG — Ronald Bourgeois is making quite a Celtic Colours debut.
The acclaimed Acadian singer-songwriter from Cheticamp is performing five times in nine nights and he’s one of two artists-in-residence at this year’s festival, alongside Bruce Molsky. In that role, Bourgeois has been working with Celtic Colours artistic director Joella Foulds to highlight Acadian, Cajun and Appalachian music, a special focus of this year’s festival.
“It’s great. To put the focus in such a big way on Acadian music and Cajun music, it’s not something that happens every day and this is a big festival, a lot of people come from all over the place and it’s nice to recognize the contribution that Acadians have … to the musical tapestry of Cape Breton,” he said.
Bourgeois said he’s been having a great time connecting with dozens of artists and groups like the Grammy Award-winning Beau Soleil avec Michael Doucet, who he shared the stage with Monday night, along with James Keelaghan, McKayla MacNeil, Kayla Bona and Clifford (Ciffie) Carter.
“Everybody is digging into different things and hearing different things,” said Bourgeois, noting even a veteran performer like Doucet was learning new things. “Michael couldn’t believe what he was hearing coming off the stage.”
Bourgeois said audiences are also getting a lesson in an aspect of Celtic music they may be less familiar with than others.
“Bottom line, there are people who are getting a taste of Acadian and French music that never have. (Monday) night in D’Escousse, probably 45 per cent of the audience was from the U.S. or from outside of Atlantic Canada and for them it was definitely an eye-opener to get that taste,” he said.
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