For as long as they can remember, Ciarán and Fiona MacGillivray have been performing for the many musical visitors who pass through their home on Cape Breton Island. (Ciarán and Fiona are the children of famed Canadian author/composer, Allister MacGillivray). Besides singing, they play piano, guitar, harp, tin whistle, and bodhrán. They also stepdance, and are studying the Gaelic language of their ancestors. They have appeared together in the Cape Breton Summertime Revue and continue to perform with The Cottars.
Tag Archives | Gaelic
Comunn Féis Mhàbu was founded to support both children and adults in their pursuits to learn more about Cape Breton’s unique Gaelic culture. Féis Mhàbu allows individuals, particularly young people, to develop skills in the area of Gaelic language and performance arts and provides opportunities for the organizers to enhance the rich local culture with the talents and experience of tradition bearers from other areas of the Celtic world.
Rita comes from the Mabou Coal Mines. Along with her sisters Mary and Joanne, they have created warm harmonies, and incorporate many Gaelic songs in their repertoire. Rita and Mary released their debut album, “Lantern Burn” in 1997.
Mary Jane Lamond fell in love with the Scottish Gaelic traditions and song during visits with her grandparents on Cape Breton Island. While enrolled in St. F.X. University’s Celtic Studies program, Mary Jane released her first album, Bho Thir Nan Craobh, a collection of traditional material. She has dedicated her musical career to the preservation of Scottish Gaelic songs, leading to numerous award nominations, critical acclaim, and a worldwide audience for her music. Mary Jane’s five solo recordings create a respectful and beautiful framework for ancient Gaelic songs and her spell-binding performances make these selections truly come alive. Mary Jane’s critically acclaimed release “Seinn” is a partnership with long time musical collaborator, Wendy MacIsaac.
Rona Lightfoot from South Uist has been described as a ceilidh personified. She is a great piper, a hugely talented singer, and a veritable treasury of traditional Gaelic songs. What’s more, Rona is a terrific raconteur with a great sense of humour and an infectious laugh. Rona’s most immediate musical influences were her mother Kate, who was one of the most remarkable singers and tradition bearers of her age and Eairdsidh Raghnaill, her father, a piper and seanachaidh of renown. Rona’s family cherished and fostered Gaelic traditional arts and her performances are a distillation of the cultural legacy which she inherited.
This is a powerful collaboration borne of a long-time friendship and a shared love of Celtic music. Whether it’s the mesmerizing Gaelic vocals of Mary Jane, or the superb and true musicianship of Wendy on the fiddle, these ladies have been making their mark with traditional audiences worldwide for over two decades. Mary Jane and Wendy have both been recognized internationally for their solo music careers, and Wendy has been Mary Jane’s steadfast comrade in the presentation of her music for many years. It seems only natural that these two impressive talents now come together to create a true musical partnership, which will combine their musical sensibilities, their strong Celtic roots, and their colourful personalities.
Nuala Kennedy is an Irish singer and flute player with hauntingly beautiful vocals, adventurous instrumentation, and an eclectic mix of influences. Her singing and flute playing springs from the traditional music of Ireland and Scotland, and from the fathomless realms of her own imagination. A consummate performer with a buoyant personality, her music has been described as unique, evocative, and soul-satisfying. Nuala grew up in Dundalk, Co. Louth, on the East coast of Ireland, a musical area steeped in mythology with long historical links to Scotland. The combination of the best influences of the two cultures, Scottish and Irish, is what has made Nuala the artist she is today.
Comprised of five Cape Breton pipers – Paul K. MacNeil, Keith MacDonald, Rankin MacInnis, Kenneth MacKenzie, and Kevin Dugas – and formed by the Gaelic College, Nuallan seeks to represent, promote and explore the style of piping brought by Highland Gaels and developed over the past two hundred years here in Cape Breton Island. This rich style of playing had a strong focus on the rhythm and musicality of the music and an inherent link with the song and dance traditions of the Gaelic culture. Nuallan’s members are well-known individually for their rhythmic, musical playing and bringing them together to celebrate the importance of these connections was a natural fit.