Helen MacDonald and Dawn MacDonald-Gillis began step dancing at the ages of 5 and 8 under the tutelage of Kaye Hanrahan in New Waterford. With strong ties to the Iona area, they grew up surrounded by traditional Cape Breton music. By the time they had reached their teen years, their synchronized footwork saw them invited to perform in many concerts in Cape Breton and beyond. They began teaching step dancing, both privately and for other dancing schools in the industrial Cape Breton area. They both continue to teach step dance workshops.
Tag Archives | Fiddle
Dawn and Margie Beaton have been performing at concerts, ceilidhs and festivals since they were very young. They have performed in the Maritimes, Scotland, Ireland, France, USA, England, Brazil and China, and been featured internationally on television, radio and video. A fixture at Celtic Colours since the festival began, they were chosen as recipients of the Frank Sampson Award in 2008. The Award helped them record their first CD, “Taste of Gaelic”. The unique and traditional album with tunes composed by Dawn and Margie, won an East Coast Music Award in 2010 for Roots/Traditional Album of the Year.
Douglas has been turning heads in the Cape Breton fiddling community since the last ten years–and he’s only 20 years old. 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. A veteran of Celtic Colours, Douglas has played many dances and concerts in Cape Breton and has also performed in Scotland, Ireland and France. He 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.
Dwayne Côté was raised in a family deeply rooted in all aspects of Cape Breton, Irish and Scottish music traditions–his mother being a renowned dancer, instructor, and performer and his father, the late Gordon Côté, a celebrated Celtic fiddler/teacher. Dwayne has played all over the world with artists like John Allan Cameron, Graham Townsend, Sean McGuire, Buddy MacMaster, Jerry Holland and Dave MacIsaac. A composer with more than 200 tunes registered with SOCAN, Dwayne is one of the most unique players in Atlantic Canada. His musical tones are inimitable and seldom forgotten.
With an interpretation, style, and energy all her own, Gillian Head delights audiences with her lively fiddling. Her influences include the variations and modern style of contemporary fiddlers, as well as the strong roots of the old traditional fiddlers of her native Cape Breton Island. A stepdancer from a young age, Gillian took up the fiddle after falling in love with the music. Studying with Stephanie Wills and Jerry Holland, and her love of dance, contribute to Gillian’s distinctive, rhythmic style of fiddling. She has played all over Cape Breton, and has recently released her debut album titled Spirit.
Known as one of Cape Breton’s finest traditional fiddlers, Glenn Graham is also a composer, songwriter, step-dancer, music instructor and published author whose music has been featured on international hit TV shows, CD compilations, and in independent films. Described as being a prolific composer, Glenn released a book of over 200 original compositions a few years ago and also wrote the book The Cape Breton Fiddle: Making and Maintaining Tradition, released by CBU Press. With five recordings and multiple East Coast Music Award nominations to his credit, Glenn is one of Cape Breton’s most sought after performers and music instructors.
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. She has toured throughout Turkey, Scotland, England, Canada and New Zealand. Gillian will be accompanied by Seph Peters on guitar at the Festival this year.
Born into the well-known and respected Chaisson family, Prince Edward Island’s J.J. Chaisson is without any doubt a talented multi-instrumental musician. He has collaborated on award winning recordings, acted as front man for a Celtic rock band, and toured widely as a solo artist with four albums to his credit. His personality is equally as powerful as his playing and he reaches out to young and old alike with smiles and endless jokes and stories. J.J. has played across the Maritimes, New England, and as far away as the Rockies in Denver, Colorado.