(Sydney, NS) Denis Ryan, founding member of the influential folk group Ryan’s Fancy, will host Island to Island: The Cape Breton-Ireland Musical Bridge, which kicks off the Celtic Colours International Festival this Friday night in Port Hawkesbury.
“We are so thrilled that Denis has offered to host this show,” says Joella Foulds, Artistic Director of the Festival. “I was secretly hoping he would be excited about our Irish contingent, but I had no idea how delighted he would be to hear who was coming.”
Although many of Celtic Colours audiences aren’t familiar with the names of most of the Irish artists scheduled to perform at the Festival, Ryan says they are “household names in Ireland” and represent the “cutting edge of progressive folk”. And he is excited to be able to play a part in this event.
“To me it’s just great,” says Ryan. “It’s a privilege to be asked to do this one. Knowing these performers, I don’t think we’d be fortunate enough to get them all together in Ireland, so this is a rare opportunity to see them all in one place and playing together.”
The title of the concert, The Cape Breton-Ireland Musical Bridge, refers to connections made in the early 1990s when Irish fiddler Liz Doherty’s study of Cape Breton fiddle tradition led to a Cape Breton Festival being arranged to take place in Cork, Ireland in 1993.
“As it happens,” Foulds explains, “Denis was an important link in the building of the musical bridge in the first place by making connections for Liz Doherty in Cape Breton. He comes from the same town as Prof. Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin and knows him very well, in fact he knows most of our Irish artists. There’s nobody better than Denis to lead us on this journey.”
The journey starts Friday night, October 9 at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre and continues until Saturday, October 17, wrapping up with Master Cape Breton Fiddler: A Tribute to Jerry Holland in Sydney. Along the way, there are 44 concerts and over 250 cultural experience events in communities all over Cape Breton Island. Tickets are still available for Island to Island, Master Cape Breton Fiddler and dozens of other concerts, but don’t wait too long, they are going fast. Visit www.celtic-colours.com or phone 1-888-355-7744 for information or tickets.