The Barra MacNeils are one of Canada’s premier Celtic groups. The family band from Sydney Mines is deeply rooted in Celtic music, culture and history, and consistently wows audiences with their captivating vocals, harmonies and musicianship. After more than 25 years, the group is as busy as ever, having released two new recordings in 2012–a live album with Symphony Nova Scotia and a special project recorded with a variety of musical guests from Celtic Colours. With multiple lead vocalists, beautiful sibling harmonies, top-drawer instrumental prowess on a wide variety of instruments, dancing, storytelling, Gaelic songs and a journey through an ancient culture, The Barra MacNeils live in concert must be experienced to be believed.
Tag Archives | Cape Breton artists
Whether performing with her full band in front of thousands, as a vibrant acoustic duo with guitarist Seph Peters or solo in a kitchen of her native Inverness County playing the old tunes of her ancestors, Gillian never ceases to inspire with the dynamic expression of her music. On stage or in the classroom, Gillian is most comfortable with violin in hand and has been since the age of 10. An avid explorer, she more recently calls Turkey her home, although Scotland, England, Canada and New Zealand remain part of her regular touring circuit. Currently, Gillian is working with Irish guitarist Tony Byrne on a new album featuring her innovative take on Celtic music but displaying the more traditional aspects of her playing.
Mabou Coal Mines native Joanne MacIntyre was raised in a culture rich environment of Scotch music, dance and Gaelic language. She has sung on stages around Cape Breton since her teens, bringing the island’s distinct style and “swing” to appreciative audiences. Joanne was a regular performer at Highland Village as a Gaelic singer, step dancer and story interpreter and now teaches Gaelic language and Gaelic Studies at Dalbrae Academy in Mabou. The Lochaber descendant continues to expand her repertoire of songs from the Cape Breton and Inverness County Gaelic traditions. Her debut album Craobh a’ Mhathain was released this year.
Ashley MacIsaac was performing as a dancer in concerts by the time he started school and added fiddle and piano a short time later. While still in high school he found himself working with Paul Simon and performing in a Phillip Glass off-Broadway production. Since first recording in the early 1990s, he has experimented with musical styles and evolved into an award-winning, genre-bending performer, writer, and singer. Ashley is currently working a new project of Celtic Beats with Jay Andrews of Halifax (aka Sticks), the previously unreleased Beautiful Lake Ainslie CD with Barbara Magone is set for release later this fall as is a re-issue of his Crossover CD.
Janet Cameron, Paul Wukitsch and the late Joe Peter MacLean performed together as The Boisdale Trio for over twenty years. Janet is from Boisdale and has been a community accompanist for many years. Paul immigrated to Cape Breton in the 1970′s and became close friends with fellow fiddlers Johnny Wilmot, Wilfred Prosper and Joe Peter MacLean. Paul and Joe Peter would play dances and ceilidhs throughout the rural areas around Boisdale in the early 1980s. The Trio came together with Janet in the late ‘80s after she retired and moved back to the family home in Boisdale. Janet and Paul will be joined by Janet’s brother Father Francis in paying to tribute to Joe Peter this year.
J.P. Cormier is a gifted multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter who reads the times with songs. He has released more than a dozen records including two career retrospectives, and a book of the tunes featured on his guitar album. J.P.’s impressive body of work has earned him a vast and loyal fan base and multiple award nominations and wins, including 12 East Coast Music Awards, Canadian Folk Music Award, 5 Music Nova Scotia Awards, Juno nominations, commendations from the Governor General of Canada and Premier of Nova Scotia.
Joel Chiasson is a veteran piano player from Cheticamp, Cape Breton. Citing Hilda Chiasson as his biggest influence, Joel has provided piano accompaniment on more than 25 recordings by artists including Natalie MacMaster, Ashley MacIsaac, Mary Jane Lamond, Buddy MacMaster and Andrea Beaton over the past 20 years. In the late 1990s, Joel toured extensively with Ashley MacIsaac and Natalie MacMaster. Today Joel lives in Sydney with his family and works as a school teacher, but thankfully he still manages to get out and play for concerts and dances in and around Cape Breton.
Jennifer has been wowing audiences in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Holland, England, Scotland, the Arctic and all across Canada and the US for years. Jennifer’s performances are always filled with emotion and energy, and she has three albums to her credit—two of which earned her East Coast Music Award nominations in the Instrumental Recording of the Year category (2001, 2007). Jennifer continues to tour, compose music and owns and operates her own school of music in Dance. Jennifer’s band includes Jason Kempt (piano), Keith Mullins (percussion), Lyndon MacKenzie (guitar), Allie Bennett (bass), and dancers Shelby Matthews and Courteney Waye.