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.
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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.
Jamie has remained at the top of the list of ‘first call’ players in eastern Canada for over 15 years. As a multi-styled, multi-instrumentalist musician/sideman, Jamie has and continues to work alongside many of the highest profile artists in the region – Jimmy Rankin, The Rankin Family, Gordie Sampson, George Canyon, Lennie Gallant, Bruce Guthro, Damhnait Doyle, Dave Gunning, Christina Martin, Symphony Nova Scotia and dozens more. In addition to his work as a sideman, Jamie is also highly sought after for his musical direction and band leading skills, as a producer, and for his prolific songwriting.
Since getting their start at a late night session during the 1998 Celtic Colours International Festival, Beòlach has established itself as one of Cape Breton’s most exciting and innovative traditional bands. Performing a lively mix of Cape Breton, Scottish and Irish tunes, the group features Mairi Rankin (fiddle, step-dance), Wendy MacIsaac (fiddle, piano, step-dance), Patrick Gillis (guitar), Ryan J. MacNeil (pipes, whistles), and Mac Morin (piano). Beòlach has released two albums, Beòlach (2001) and Variations (2004), which were both nominated for East Coast Music Awards. It is a true pleasure to welcome them back together at Celtic Colours this year.
Heartwood Slacks is a five-man band from Cape Breton who, with their lineup of banjo, guitars, blues harp, mandolin and bass fiddle, could easily be mistaken for an American heritage revival band. The players have shared stages and bills for years—a variety of local “band-me-downs” who were weaned on blues, metal and country music. Heartwood Slacks principle songwriter John Gill bangs out incomparably sincere, catchy, melodic bar-room shout along songs. In their three-years together, the Slacks have been attracting attention with performances around the Maritimes and have just released their first album, cleverly named Heartwood Slacks.
Jennifer has been wowing audiences in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Holland, England, Scotland, the Arctic and all across Canada and the US for years. Jennifer’s performances are always filled with emotion and energy, and she has three albums to her credit—two of which earned her East Coast Music Award nominations in the Instrumental Recording of the Year category (2001, 2007). Jennifer continues to tour, compose music and owns and operates her own school of music in Dance. Jennifer’s band includes Jason Kempt (piano), Keith Mullins (percussion), Lyndon MacKenzie (guitar), Allie Bennett (bass), and dancers Shelby Matthews and Courteney Waye.
Two of Denmark’s finest artists have together formed an outstanding quintet which performs traditional and contemporary Danish music with great passion and virtuosity. Beautiful old Danish ballades are gently blended with neck-breaking fiddle tunes and it’s all brought out to the audience with great passion and presence. Helene Blum and Harald Haugaard have long individual high profiled carriers behind them. Their quintet with cellist Kirstine Elise Pedersen, Swedish guitarist Mattias Pérez and percussionist Sune Rahbek sum up all their musical aspects and qualities to be one of Denmark’s musical Dream Teams. Fine acoustic music with integrity and innovation.
Breabach delivers a thrilling and unique brand of contemporary folk music, which has earned the group international recognition on the world and roots music scene as one of the UK’s most dynamic and powerful bands. Voted Best Group at the Scots Trad Music Awards, Breabach have also received nominations in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and as European Folk Group of the Year in the German Folk Awards. The band intertwine highland bagpipes, fiddle, guitar, bass, flute, bouzouki, step dance, Gaelic and Scots song to produce a diverse and captivating performance.