The organizers of the Celtic Colours International Festival are already looking ahead to a time when the freshly minted leaves of summer turn their vibrant colours.
The lineup for the 12th annual Celtic Colours was released on Monday, June 23.
“We’ve been getting tons of requests from all over the world about who is playing this year,” said Festival Marketing Director Max MacDonald. “It’s nice to be able to provide detailed information on our website this early so they can plan their travel to Cape Breton in the fall.
“This year’s Festival will see a focus on the relationships between the various Celtic Cultures of the world. Celtic Colours will host artists from all over Canada, the U.S., Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Denmark, France, Spain and Cuba. “We tend to think of ‘Celtic’ as Scottish, Irish or Cape Breton,” said Artistic Director Joella Foulds.
“The early Celts dispersed to many parts of the world and they took their culture with them. While the cultures evolved and changed, there are still surprising similarities and links between them. We want to learn more about those connections and share that with our audience”.
Spanish superstar Carlos Núñez makes a return visit to Cape Breton to headline the opening show at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre on October 10. This show will use music to explore the history of Cape Breton going back to the early visits of fishers from the Celtic areas of France (Brittany) and Spain (Galicia) through to the Irish and Scots arrival on our shores.
Nine days and 46 shows later, the Festival will close at the Sydney Marine Terminal with a tribute to Rita MacNeil featuring some of the wonderful artists she has performed with over the years.
Scotland will be well represented by the return of Shooglenifty, Archie Fisher and Mairi Smith as well as first time visitors, Lori Watson & Rule of Three, Inverness Gaelic Choir, Grace, Hewat & Polwart, Angus Lyon & Ruaridh Campbell, Bryan Gear and more.
Some of the many Cape Breton artists are Rita MacNeil, J.P. Cormier, Gordie Sampson, Buddy MacMaster, Jerry Holland, Beolach, Men of the Deeps, Ashley MacIsaac and Winnie Chafe.
The brilliant Brock McGuire Band from Ireland will make their second visit to Cape Breton. Gaiteros de La Habana, a group of young musicians who are part of the Galician piping revival in Cuba will be making their first visit to Canada. Popular folk singers James Keelaghan and David Francey will be here as part of a special songwriting project taking place during the Festival.
Bette MacDonald, Maynard Morrison and Mary-Colin Chisholm will take part in a couple of shows where the accent will be on comedy. The festival will also feature over 200 Education and Community events ranging from dinners and dances to art displays and lectures.
“We were very pleased that Celtic Colours was named the Top Event in Canada last year by the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, as well as ECMA Event of the Year for the fourth straight year. The festival had visitors from 25 countries and generated over $5 million in economic impact into Cape Breton Island,” said Festival Board Chair, Dr. Jacquelyn Thayer Scott.
Full festival details can be seen on the festival web site. www.celtic-colours.com. Tickets will go on sale July 7th and the 2008 Celtic Colours International Festival will run from October 10-18.