For nine days in October, the sounds of driving fiddles, skirling bagpipes, dancing feet and voices joined together in song will resound throughout Cape Breton Island as the sixth annual Celtic Colours International Festival attracts visitors from all over the world and music lovers from surrounding communities.
From October 11-19, Celtic Colours will present hundreds of local and International artists in 44 concerts scheduled in 33 Island communities. Venues vary from a 17th Century reconstructed French Chapel to brand new state of the art performance facilities to community halls, but what the venues have in common is the prominent place each holds in the community it serves. The Celtic culture of music, dance and story-telling lives on in these communities and provides foundation for the celebration of living culture that is the Celtic Colours International Festival.
The Festival opens Friday, October 11 with a Gala Concert at Centre 200 in Sydney featuring Scotland’s Phil Cunningham, who was such a hit at last year’s Festival; the sensational Irish instrumentalist, Sharon Shannon; internationally renowned Irish-style fiddler Liz Carroll; Cape Breton’s award-winning, stringed-instrument virtuoso J.P. Cormier; the voice of the Rankin Family, Raylene Rankin; and this year’s Artists in Residence – Cape Breton composer, Jerry Holland and one of the world’s foremost authorities on Scottish Folklore, Margaret Bennett.
As has become the custom, Celtic Colours will wrap up with the World’s Biggest Square Dance in Baddeck. This closing concert, scheduled for October 19, presents local dance traditions with music provided by some of the finest local dance players in an environment which also showcases a variety of international performers. Performing this year at the World’s Biggest Square Dance are Cape Breton dance players Jerry Holland, Buddy MacMaster, Sandy MacIntyre, Brenda Stubbert, Doug MacPhee, Dave MacIsaac, and Andrea Beaton as well as American banjo phenomenon Alison Brown, Galician piper Carlos Nunez, the fiddle and pipes of Brittany’s Patrick and Jackie Molard and the ever-entertaining Phil Cunningham.
Other featured performers include: from Canada, Lennie Gallant, Slainte Mhath, Sheumas, Stewart and Kyle MacNeil, Howie MacDonald, Beolach, Cowboy Celtic, Daniel Lapp, Winnie Chafe, Cape Breton Fiddlers’ Association, Carl MacKenzie, Trio Marchand-Ornstein-Miron, Mary Jane Lamond, A Crowd of Bold Sharemen, Glenn Graham and Kendra MacGillivray; from Scotland, Fine Friday, Shine, Alasdair Codona and Mairi Smith; from Ireland Eamonn Coyne, Frankie Gavin and Eleanor McEvoy; from USA Joe Derrane and Cucanandy.
The full Celtic Colours International Festival schedule is available at www.celtic-colours.com.
Tickets go on sale July 15 through Select-A-Seat. For the first time this year, tickets can also be purchased online through the Celtic Colours International Festival website, www.celtic-colours.com. For tickets phone toll free 1-888-355-7744 or locally 564-6668. For Festival information phone toll free 1-877-285-2321 or locally 562-6700.
The Celtic Colours International Festival greatly appreciates the financial contributions of Nova Scotia’s Department of Tourism and Culture, the Department of Canadian Heritage, Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation, the Royal Canadian Mint, Cape Breton Credit Unions and media sponsors CBC Maritimes and the Cape Breton Post.