Colin Watson graduated from Dalbrae Academy and lives in Valley Mills district of River Denys, Inverness County. He was raised with Gaelic as one of his first languages and has an avid enthusiasm of all aspects of Cape Breton's Gaelic tradition. His specialty is Gaelic singing. With a repertoire of mouth tunes and song, he has sung for BBC Scotland and appeared at concerts and milling frolics throughout the Island. As well, Colin has and active interest in Cape Breton music and step dancing and frequently enjoys square sets at the local halls. He is currently learning more Gaelic songs and taking fiddle lessons.
Trained by dedicated teachers like Bonnie Jean MacDonald, Margie, Dawn, and Andrea Beaton, Douglas has absorbed the proud history of the Cape Breton style of Celtic fiddling. Born and raised in the northern Inverness County community of Belle Cote, he has played piano in concerts since the age of five, and fiddle since he was nine. Still in his teens, Douglas is a veteran of Celtic Colours and has played many dances and concerts in Cape Breton. He has also performed in Scotland, Ireland and France and released his first CD in 2010. The CD shows Douglas honouring the tradition handed down to him by his teachers and the many great Cape Breton fiddlers who have influenced Cape Breton fiddle playing.
Derrick and Melody Cameron live in Mabou, Cape Breton on the small dairy farm where Derrick was raised. Melody is an accomplished Cape Breton style dancer and fiddle player and they have performed together throughout Canada’s Maritime Provinces and the New England States. Highlights include playing the Stan Rogers Folk Festival and the Washington Irish Folk Festival, teaching workshops and performing at the North Atlantic Fiddle Convention in Aberdeen, Scotland and playing for many dances, pubs and concerts throughout Cape Breton Island. They were featured in the documentary “And They Danced” and have released three recordings.
Harvey was raised in Port Hastings, Cape Breton. He began step-dancing at 14 and was soon dancing on the summer Scottish concert circuit. Besides being an accomplished dancer, Harvey is also in demand as an instructor. He has performed and taught in many parts of Canada, the US, and Europe, including University College Cork in Ireland, Sabhal Mor Ostaig Gaelic College in Skye, Feis Ross in Ullapool, and Ceòlas in the Hebrides. Although primarily known as a dancer, Harvey is also an accomplished piano accompanist who has played with a number of Cape Breton fiddlers.
In 1987, using a harp loaned to her by the Clan MacNeil organization in Iona, Lucy MacNeil went to Houlton, Maine to study with Elizabeth Hannon from Ireland. Not long after, she wrote a tune called “The Lone Harper” that was included on a compilation album and the Barras MacNeils album “Rock In The Stream”. The harp was added to the instruments she already played with the group—fiddle and bodhran—but beyond Christmas shows it was used sparingly. Lucy is very much looking forward to revisiting the instrument and playing in concert this year with one of her favourite harp players, Laoise Kelly from Ireland.
Kelly MacArthur is a champion dancer from Cape Breton, who has competed and performed all over the world and taught Highland and Cape Breton Step Dance for the past 25 years, including 15 years at her own Dance Studio in Sydney, the MacArthur School of Dance. The school has a performance troupe called the CapeLand Dancers which consists of top level dancers from all over Cape Breton. Performing with Kelly are Beth MacLellan and Breagh MacInnis. Both girls have been dancing with Kelly for 15 years, and are top competitors and seasoned performers.
Margie Beaton along with her sister Dawn, comprise the Beaton Sisters from Mabou, Cape Breton. With her ECMA winning CD, “Taste of Gaelic”, she has toured around the globe–most recently to the North Atlantic Fiddle Convention in Northern Ireland and teaching at the Ceòlas school of music in South Uist, Scotland. Her flair for intricate harmonies, graceful steps, and a tasty musical style will feature prominently at Celtic Colours this year, both in her solo performance at Fiddles and Prose, and in the Beaton Sisters Band performance at Roarin’ Roots.
Mario Colosimo has been providing piano accompaniment to island musicians for over 30 years. Although classically trained, he plays every style of music from Celtic to Swing. He has lent his piano, guitar and vocal talents to many local bands and artists and regularly shares piano duties with Jean MacNeil at Rollie’s Wharf’s Thursday night traditional session. Mario operates a music studio in Dominion where he teaches guitar, fiddle, piano and piano accompaniment. In 2010, Mario collaborated with Paul Cranford on his Tunes from the Lighthouse Collection and recorded a double CD called More Tunes from the Lighthouse. He also worked with Cranford in 2011 transcribing songs for The Celtic Colours Collection.