Anita MacDonald is a musician, dancer, and Gaelic singer from Little Narrows, Cape Breton. Anita’s fiddle playing has a distinctive sound, influenced by the deep roots of her musical family and her teachers throughout the years. Her energetic style has put her in demand as a performer and teacher, across Cape Breton and beyond. Ben Miller is a player of Scottish smallpipes, border pipes, and highland pipes, whose repertoire and style draw mainly on the Gaelic traditions of western Scotland and the Canadian Maritimes, blended with a healthy dash of Irish tunes for good measure.
Tag Archives | Fiddle
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 continues to surprise crowds, whether it’s Celtic Beats with Jay Andrews of Halifax (aka Sticks), or a traditional set with Maybelle Chisholm McQueen, he’s always there drivin’ ‘er.
Brenda Stubbert is an extraordinary fiddler, pianist, and composer from Cape Breton. Two books of her compositions are in print, and her tunes are in repertoires everywhere Celtic fiddle music can be heard. Brenda is in constant demand throughout Cape Breton. Her dances are lively and well attended. Since 1986, Brenda has released 7 albums, including Endless Memories (2008) which won the East Coast Music Award for Traditional Recording of the Year, and her most recent, Different Strokes with Different Folks (2011).
Carl MacKenzie is a regular performer at dances, concerts and workshops across Cape Breton and has also performed throughout Canada, Ireland, Scotland and the United States. A traditional fiddler from Washabuck, Victoria County, he has a vast repertoire, which he prefers to learn from books. Carl has composed over fifty tunes and his playing is expressive of the musical magic and soul that sets him apart from so many other musicians. Carl has released 11 CDs, the latest being Highland Classic (2007). We are fortunate to have him back with us this year.
Preparation for the 1973 Festival of Cape Breton Fiddling in Glendale gave birth to the Cape Breton Fiddlers’ Association whose main mandate has been to preserve and promote traditional Cape Breton fiddle music. In 1998, the Association celebrated its 25th anniversary with 202 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.
Brittany Haas is a 5-string fiddle player from the San Francisco Bay Area, now residing in Nashville. She grew up honing her craft in fiddle camps nationwide, and came to her unique sound through the old time fiddling of Bruce Molsky and the innovative stylings of Darol Anger. She toured, performed with Darol’s Republic of Strings and seminal chamber-grass band Crooked Still, Yonder Mountain String Band, Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas, Abigail Washburn, The Waybacks and recorded on Steve Martin’s Grammy Award-winning CD, “The Crow,” performing in his band on Letterman and SNL.
Chrissy Crowley, Rachel Davis, Colin Grant, Jason Roach and Darren McMullen got together in 2010 for a tour promoting Celtic Colours. The engaging line-up of well-known solo acts—featuring expertly-played fiddle, piano, guitar, mandolin, whistle and banjo—enjoyed playing together so much that they decided to perform as Còig (“Ko-ick” – Scottish Gaelic for “five”) whenever they can. And we’re happy they are together for the Festival this year. With busy solo schedules, these musicians do not get a lot of chances to play together as Còig. Take advantage of this rare opportunity to see them in action.
Colin Grant’s fiddle playing has inconspicuously stepped to the forefront of the East Coast traditional music scene and people are sitting up and taking notice. Although most at home with traditional Cape Breton fiddle music, his versatility as both a lead and side musician has given him experiences in a variety of traditional styles, in addition to folk, rock and country genres. Colin has put this experience to use with Sprag Session, playing a dynamic and thoughtful mingling of beats and melodies from an extensive host of musical influences. In addition to solo performances, Colin will also be playing with Sprag Session and Coìg during Celtic Colours this year.