Sabra MacGillivray is a champion highland dancer, a spectacular step dancer and a talented musician. She tours and performs with her sister, Kendra and brother, Troy, most often as a highland dancer or step dancer or accompanying the fiddle and piano on bodhran. Sabra received her teaching certificate in highland dancing when she was 16 years old and currently teaches from her home in Creignish, Cape Breton. She has provided instruction in both highland and step dancing at workshops all over the world. Her group of young and vibrant highland/step dancers, the Celtic Touch Dancers, have won awards on a provincial and national level.
The Beaton Sisters Band consists of sisters Dawn (fiddle, banjo, mandolin and dance) and Margie (fiddle, piano and dance) Beaton. Piano-player extraordinaire, Jason Roach from Cheticamp, Cape Breton is a lively rhythm based soloist and accompanist with a powerful beat to keep the tunes cooking! Kenneth MacKenzie, from Mabou, Cape Breton is a piper and fiddler. His roots are strongly Gaelic and his piping styling is up-tempo, made perfect for any step-dancer. Together, these artists will have your toes tapping and your legs dancing!
A stunning synthesis of virtuosity and energy, The Outside Track’s marriage of Canadian, Scottish and Irish music and song has been rapturously received around the world. Hailing from Scotland, Ireland, Cape Breton and Vancouver, its five members–Norah Rendell, Mairi Rankin, Lily Neill, Fiona Black, and Cillian O’Dalaigh–are united by a love of traditional music and a commitment to creating new music on its foundation. Using fiddle, accordion, harp, guitar, flute, step-dance and vocals these five virtuosos blend boundless energy with unmistakable joie de vivre.
Wendy MacIsaac is a fiddler, piano player, and stepdancer from Creignish, Inverness County. She is recognized as one of Cape Breton’s finest fiddlers, having toured the world with Mary Jane Lamond, Beolach, The Cheiftains and on her own. Wendy has released three albums-The Reel Thing, That’s What You Get, and Timeline and has taught step-dancing at festivals and workshops around the world.
Brandi McCarthy is a fiddler and step dancer from Port Hawkesbury who began dancing at the age of 6 and fiddling at age 9. She has further developed her style and repertoire by attending workshops, ceilidhs, and square dances around Cape Breton. She also teaches locally and abroad. While in University, Brandi spent a year living in Ireland, busking and attending traditional music festivals, workshops and sessions. She has studied Irish Dancing in Galway, Limerick and Dublin, and continues to pursue her interest in Irish Dancing, recently attending the Stanford School of Irish Dance while living in Fredericton.
Preparation for the 1973 Festival of Cape Breton Fiddling in Glendale gave birth to the Cape Breton Fiddlers’ Association. The Association’s main mandate has been to preserve and promote traditional Cape Breton fiddle music. In 1998, the Association celebrated its 25th anniversary with two hundred and two fiddlers on stage at the Gaelic College. Ten years later, nearly one hundred members embarked on a ten-day tour of Scotland. By providing workshops and opportunities to learn new tunes and techniques, publishing tunes, and providing venues for musicians, the Cape Breton Fiddlers’ Association is flourishing. In 2013, the Association will welcome several fiddle groups to celebrate the 40th Festival of Cape Breton Fiddling.
Andrea Beaton is the youngest of generations of Beaton and MacMaster musicians. Like her father (Kinnon) and grandfather (Donald Angus), she is a lively violinist and composer, adding fine new music to the island’s repertoire. Andrea has released six albums including 2010 East Coast Music Award winning “Branches” and her latest, “Little Black Book”, released earlier this year. In 2007 she released an album with her father, Kinnon Beaton and in 2006 she recorded “The Tap Session” in Scotland with Troy MacGillivray, Fin Moore, and Luke Plumb. Her previous two releases, “Cuts” (2004) and “License to Drive’er” (2002), were both nominated for East Coast Music Awards.
Anita MacDonald is an accomplished musician, dancer, and Gaelic singer from Little Narrows, Cape Breton. Her passion for Cape Breton music has inspired her to work extensively with the cultural component of Féis an Eilein in Christmas Island. Anita has performed extensively throughout Cape Breton and she is often sought after to conduct workshops in music, dance, and song. In 2011, she received the Frank “Big Sampie” Sampson Award from the Festival Volunteer Drive’ers Association to record her debut album, “Stepping Stone”, which was released during last year’s festival.