Joanne MacIntyre comes from Mabou Coal Mines, Inverness County where she was raised in a culture rich environment of Scotch music, dance and Gaelic language. She has sung on stages around Cape Breton since her teen years, bringing the island’s distinct style and “swing” to appreciative listening audiences. For five years, Joanne was a regular performer at Highland Village as a Gaelic singer, step dancer and story interpreter. She now teaches Gaelic language and Gaelic Studies at Dalbrae Academy in Mabou, passing on her knowledge and passion for the language and it’s attendant culture to younger generations. A Lochaber descendant, Joanne continues to expand her repertoire of songs from the Cape Breton and Inverness County Gaelic tradition.
Kathleen MacInnes was born and brought up on South Uist in a Gaelic speaking home, and has enjoyed an interesting career in television, as an actress, presenter and singer. Kathleen has been a regular guest on music programmes such as MacTV’s “Bard nan Orain”, BBC’s award-winning series “Aig Cridhe ar Ciuil” and Mike Alexander’s “Columba Sessions” where she sang alongside leading Scottish and Irish singers and musicians. Kathleen also took part in the concert “Flower of The West”, a tribute to Runrig brothers Calum and Ruaraidh MacDonald and Blas, as the support singer to Van Morrison.
Kenneth is well-known for his lively traditional style and for the strong Gaelic flavor to his playing. Raised in a Gaelic-speaking and very musical family in Mabou, Cape Breton Island, Kenneth has been immersed in the Scottish language and culture since birth. He has been piping and teaching at dances, concerts and festivals all over the Atlantic Provinces, Ontario, Scotland and beyond for several years now and counts well known pipers John MacLean, Iain MacDonald and Angus MacKenzie, his older brother as his biggest musical influences.
Singing in English, Scottish Gaelic and Irish, Lewis MacKinnon has performed in coffee shops, pubs and concert halls throughout Eastern Canada. MacKinnon has played in every Atlantic Canadian Province, Ontario, Scotland and Ireland. In 2007 he was a featured performer at the Féile Ámhranaíochta (The Irish Song Festival) in Belfast, where his Gaelic song “Ailean Duinn” was selected to be included in the Festival’s 2007 compilation CD. In 2006 he released an all Gaelic recording titled, A’ Seo (“Here”) which earned him an ECMA nomination in the Roots/Traditional category.
Mary Jane is an experienced and internationally respected artist within the Celtic and world music genres. She is a leader in the preservation of Celtic heritage, and her expertise in the Gaelic culture has garnered her critical acclaim worldwide. She has released five albums: Bho Thir Nan Croabh (from the land of the trees) (1994); Suas e! (1997); Làn Dùil (1999); Gaelic Songs of Cape Breton (Orain Ghaidhlig) (2001) Her latest recording, the award-winning Storas (Gaelic meaning “a treasure”), is a stunning interpretation of Scottish Gaelic songs that have become part of Nova Scotia’s Gaelic tradition. Her hypnotic vocals and heartfelt delivery are complemented by modern instrumentation and arrangements.
Whether it’s the mesmerizing Gaelic vocals of Mary Jane Lamond or the superb musicianship of fiddler Wendy MacIsaac, these ladies have been making their mark with traditional audiences worldwide for over two decades. Wendy MacIsaac is a high energy fiddler, piano player and stepdancer from Creignish with three solo records to her credit. A favourite with traditional audiences everywhere, Wendy has toured all over the world as a solo performer and with The Rankins, Mary Jane Lamond, Ashley MacIsaac and Beòlach. Mary Jane’s sharing of time-honoured Gaelic songs and stories has earned her numerous Juno and ECMA nominations, critical acclaim and a worldwide audience. Her four recordings create a respectful and beautiful framework for ancient Gaelic songs and her spell-binding performances make these selections truly come alive. Established tradition bearers, both Mary Jane and Wendy have been recognized internationally for their solo music careers and are skilful and enthusiastic teachers in high demand at festivals worldwide.
Cathy Ann MacPhee is regarded as one of the greatest of all living Scots Gaelic singers. At a time when the survival of the language itself is in danger, she remains a bright light of Gaelic music and culture. Cathy Ann has released four CDs on the Greentrax label and teaches Gaelic songs internationally; she has toured with two Scottish theatre troupes and given concerts in the UK, Europe, the US and Canada, where she now resides.
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.