These three brothers from Foot Cape, Inverness County, have been playing music together since they were young. Kyle MacDonald is the fiddler of the group, and also plays mandolin, and percussion. Kyle’s twin brother Keith is the piper and guitarist while eldest brother Colin, who studied Gaelic Language and Traditional Music on Isle of Skye, Scotland plays piano. These three musicians create a powerful Cape Breton sound and guarantee a lively performance.
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Buddy MacDonald, from the North Shore of Cape Breton, has been a singer/songwriter for over thirty years. He has entertained international audiences and shared the stage with Celtic artists including Natalie MacMaster, Ashley MacIsaac, Dave MacIsaac and Howie MacDonald. Buddy has made a number of appearances in the U.S., and at Scotland’s Orkney, Shetland, and Perthshire Amber Festivals. Buddy has hosted the Celtic Colours late night Festival Club since its beginning in 1997. Whether in a small country hall, pub, festival or concert theatre, his love of writing, singing and entertaining comes across to bridge the gap between performer and listener.
Bruce Guthro has captivated audiences around the world with his honest, straight-to-the-heart songwriting and live performances that are as engaging and personal as the man himself. Troubadour and storyteller, Bruce’s music gets to the heart of the matter, and his success can be attributed to his ability to connect with his audience. His songs cross the boundaries of pop, folk, and jazz and showcase the vast abilities of the songwriter to put into words many diverse experiences as though he has lived them all. Along with his solo career, Bruce has toured for over a decade as lead singer for the Scottish super group Runrig.
Darren McMullen is a highly sought after multi-instrumentalist based out of Halifax, Nova Scotia. His list of on-stage instruments includes mandolin, bouzouki, tenor banjo, whistles, guitar and bass. Darren started young on piano and then guitar and played his way through the popular pub band scene until he landed a gig with J.P. Cormier in 2004 which took him throughout Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. Since then he has released two solo albums and been busy touring and performing with a wide range of artists. In the Darren McMullen Band, he has teamed up with Zach Smith on percussion, Rachel Davis on fiddle and vocals, and Ben Furey on mandolin and vocals. Darren will also be performing with Sprag Session and Coìg.
Darrell’s musical career began twenty years ago, playing house parties, and local halls in Cape Breton. Celtic music was introduced to Darrell at an early age by his parents–his mother Mea being a beautiful Gaelic singer, and his late father, John, a gifted traditional singer and guitar player as well. Over the last two decades, Darrell has played to audiences throughout much of Eastern Canada, and has shared the stage with many great singers and musicians. From local songs and stories to those taken from Scottish, Irish and Cape Breton history, Darrell’s love of music is evident in his performance.
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.
Growing up just outside of St. Peter’s in a musical family, Cyril MacPhee was immersed in Cape Breton ceilidhs and heavily influenced by his father’s Scottish and Irish fiddling, Country and Bluegrass music, and Folk singers like Stan Rogers. His musical influences are extremely varied, from the Beatles to Harry Hibbs, and this shows through in his songwriting and musical style. MacPhee has a versatility in his music that is a truly unique blend of folk, country and Celtic music. He has released five albums, three with the popular power-folk group Brakin’ Tradition and two as a solo artist.
A songwriter with impressive instrumental abilities, Décota McNamara is an up-and-coming artist whose roots range from traditional Irish, bluegrass, and French to contemporary pop and country. Moving effortlessly between acoustic and electric guitar, banjo, mandolin and dobro, his command of string instruments is as impressive as his rich vocals and clever songwriting. Overflowing with energy and charisma, Décota is a top-notch entertainer whether playing in kitchens, pubs or concert halls. His soul is deep, his fingers are fast, and his stories are captivating.