Finding common ground with Carlos

Carlos Núñez

By Laura Jean Grant –The Cape Breton Post

Núñez’kicks off Celtic Colours tonight in Port Hawkesbury

PORT HAWKESBURY – It’ll be a cultural fiesta like no other when the Celtic Colours countdown clock officially ticks down to zero tonight(Fri) and the festival kicks off with a bang and a bagpipe.

‘Common Ground: Carlos Núñez’ Celtic Journey’ is the opening night show for the 12th annual Celtic Colours International Festival – a nine-day celebration of Celtic music and culture featuring 47 shows and more than 265 community and educational events in locations across Cape Breton. The opening concert gets underway at 7:30 p.m. at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre and a limited number of tickets are still available.

The man leading the way for tonight’s show, Carlos Núñez, is excited to share the stage with his own band as well as some of the best and brightest on the Celtic music scene today including J.P. Cormier, Jerry Holland and Marion Dewar, Buddy MacMaster, Gaiteros de La Habana, Annie Ebrel, Corrina Hewat, Blue Engine String Quartet, Sabra MacGillivray & Celtic Touch Dancers.

“It will be a big show and it will be different from the previous years,” said Núñez. “We will have many, many guests and it will (feature) Celtic, classical, rock n’ roll and many, many different songs. It will be like a journey.”

A Galician musician who plays the traditional Galician bagpipe and a variety of whistles, Núñez explains that the show will explore Cape Breton’s rich cultural history by weaving in sounds and artists from many regions of the world.

They range from Asia to Cuba, Latin America to Scotland, Spain to Ireland, and Brittany, France to Cape Breton.

“I think we are making something international. Celtic music is not a regional thing anymore. We are making it a universal phenomenon,” he said.

Highlights of the night are sure to include the Gaiteros de La Habana, a group of young bagpipers who will be performing for the first time outside of Cuba, the Breton language being heard for the first time in many years in this region when Ebrel takes the stage, and the traditional Scottish and Irish traditions of Cape Breton being well represented by  MacMaster, Cormier and Holland.

Núñez, who is making his fourth appearance at Celtic Colours, became fascinated with Cape Breton and its unique history during his first visit to the island several years ago.

“The first time I came to the festival I had the same feeling we have in Spain, when you come to a special part of the country that maybe the rest of the world doesn’t know.

“Everyone knows about Canada, typical things about Canada, but people can’t imagine that in Canada that there is this little corner called Cape Breton . . . where you can find Celtic traditions. Cape Breton for me is like a secret paradise.”

And what keeps Núñez coming back? “The feeling that something was growing here. I think we are growing an international family. This is really the future,” he said.

Celtic Colours is a significant economic boost to the island, having pumped an estimated $55 million into Cape Breton since the festival’s inception in 1997.

It draws thousands of visitors each fall, and last year alone, more than 19,000 tickets were sold to people from across Canada, 46 American states and 21 other countries.

The complete schedule and information about shows, artists, community events and tickets are available at

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