Here’s to Rita

By Laura Jean Grant –The Cape Breton Post

Rita MacNeil

SYDNEY — Cape Breton’s first lady of song will be celebrated in the grand finale of the 12th edition of the Celtic Colours International Festival.

Home She’ll Be: A Tribute to Rita MacNeil takes place tonight at the Sydney Marine Terminal beginning at 7:30 p.m.

The sold-out show will feature some of the biggest names on the island’s music scene including The Men of the Deeps, Scott Macmillan, J.P. Cormier, Gordie Sampson, Matt Minglewood, Raylene Rankin, Ryan J. MacNeil and Rita herself.

With 22 albums to her name, MacNeil is a national star who has received numerous awards and acknowledgements. She was named to the Order of Canada in 1992, has won several Juno Awards and Canadian Country Music Awards, 10 East Coast Music Awards, as well as the ECMA’s Dr. Helen Creighton Lifetime Achievement Award. She also holds honorary degrees from five universities.

Having toured many times with MacNeil, perhaps no one has witnessed her impact on the music industry more than The Men of the Deeps.

“We have travelled with her quite a bit and we see the adulation people have for her,” said Yogi Muise, business manager and member of The Men of the Deeps. “This tribute to her is long overdue and we’re extremely proud to be part of it. There’s no place we’d rather be than where we’re going to be (tonight). It’s going to be quite a night. The lineup is pretty great.”

The other two shows taking place on the final day of the Celtic Colours festival are both matinee performances — Luadh’s Ceol: Milling and Music at the Gaelic College, and Salute to the Cape Breton Fiddler at Strathspey Place. Both shows start at 2 p.m.

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