Born in Sydney, Cape Breton Island, Donnie Campbell has been singing to audiences for over 30 years, from small crowds at kitchen parties to standing room only concerts at the Savoy Theatre in Glace Bay. He has worked with Cape Breton musicians like Natalie MacMaster, Ashley MacIsaac and Carl MacKenzie, and was one of the original members of the maritime Folk group – Miller’s Jug. Donnie has also hosted a Cape Breton radio program called Celtic Serenade for almost 35 years which helped popularize the music of the Rankins, The Barra MacNeils and other great Cape Breton artists.
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.
J.P. Cormier is a gifted multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter who reads the times with songs. He has released more than a dozen records including two career retrospectives, and a book of the tunes featured on his guitar album. J.P.’s impressive body of work has earned him a vast and loyal fan base and multiple award nominations and wins, including 12 East Coast Music Awards, Canadian Folk Music Award, 5 Music Nova Scotia Awards, Juno nominations, commendations from the Governor General of Canada and Premier of Nova Scotia.
Award-winning singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist J.P. Cormier has released more than a dozen records including two career retrospectives, and a book of the tunes featured on his guitar album. Since 2009, J.P. has been performing with the Elliott Brothers—Bill (guitars) and Mike (bass)—and his musical connection with these Atlantic Canadian bluegrass veterans has been nothing short of spectacular. Mike and Bill are both former Maritime old time Fiddling Champions, with over 40 years experience on the leading edge of the Atlantic Canadian bluegrass scene playing with their father, the legendary Carl Elliott.
Gervais has been performing since his teens. Mostly in a supportive role, he has played bass and/or rhythm guitar for many local bands as well as J.P. Cormier, Brakin’ Tradition and Cyril MacPhee, with whom he recorded an album. He has been writing music since a young age and has had music recorded by J.P. Cormier, New Brunswick group 1755, and for the local radio station CKJM fundraisers.
Jason MacDonald’s passion for music plays out with energy, wonderful storytelling and a warm personality that connects immediately with his audience. Jason has released four recordings since 2002 and has been recognized for his songwriting with Top Honours in the Indie International Songwriters Contest. In 2011 he showcased at ECMA and went on his fourth US tour. Jason’s latest album, “Got A Ways to Go” was released in July. Joining Jason for Celtic Colours this year will be Wally MacAulay on guitar and vocals, Anita MacDonald on fiddle, and Adam Young on piano.
John Doyle’s gifts as a guitarist, songwriter, vocalist, and producer have played an essential role in the ongoing renaissance of Irish traditional music. Whether as a member of Irish-American supergroup Solas, playing the role of sideman, or taking centre stage as singer-songwriter, John adds a contemporary edge that finds fresh light in even the most well-worn of tunes. We are very excited to have John as one of this year’s Artists in Residence and look forward to the musical depth he will bring to the festival as a singer, songwriter, collaborator and, of course, as a guitar player of extraordinary talent.
Since the early seventies, John Ferguson has performed traditional and contemporary Celtic music for fans everywhere. Beginning as a founding member of Miller’s Jug in 1972, John has carved a long and respected career in the Maritime music industry. Since 1977, he has been a member of the Maritime group McGinty. From 1990 to 2004 John teamed up with singer/songwriter Buddy MacDonald to form a popular duo. In 2004 he joined forces with St. Peter’s musician Roger Stone to form the duo Glens and Roses, who have been singing and playing for folks around eastern Canada.