Singing in English, Scottish Gaelic and Irish, Lewis MacKinnon performs regularly as a solo artist and as a member of the East Coast group, the Jug in Hand Band. Playing rhythm guitar, MacKinnon has shared his powerful baritone voice with audiences in the coffee shops, pubs and concert halls of Eastern Canada, New England, Scotland and Ireland. In 2006 he released an all Gaelic recording titled, A’ Seo (“Here”) which earned him an ECMA nomination in the Roots/Traditional category. In 2010, he completed his first all-English solo recording, titled “Making More Of It”.
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Three talented Acadian musicians with deep roots in the Chéticamp region have been coming together since 2004 to share their community’s traditional songs and the stories behind them. Jean-René Bourgeois is a founding member of Les Habitants, a band that recorded and toured a repertoire of 18th century French music with many historical connections to Cape Breton’s Acadian song traditions. Marcel LeFort has been performing professionally since his early teens. His musical adaptability has thick Acadian roots and he has played with Cyril MacPhee, J.P. Cormier, Ronald Bourgeois and the Phantoms. Robert Deveaux spent much of his youth in the dance halls of Cape Breton playing Scottish fiddle and piano before rekindling his relationship with traditional Acadian songs.
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 back at Celtic Colours this year and look forward to his new group The Teetotallers with Martin Hayes and Kevin Crawford.
Derrick and Melody Cameron live in Mabou, Cape Breton on the small dairy farm where Derrick was raised. Melody is an accomplished Cape Breton style dancer and fiddle player and they have performed together throughout Canada’s Maritime Provinces and the New England States. Highlights include playing the Stan Rogers Folk Festival and the Washington Irish Folk Festival, teaching workshops and performing at the North Atlantic Fiddle Convention in Aberdeen, Scotland and playing for many dances, pubs and concerts throughout Cape Breton Island. They were featured in the documentary “And They Danced” and have released three recordings.
Evan Bonaparte is a guitar player and Gaelic singer from Iona, Cape Breton. He began playing guitar at a very young age and later began to develop a strong interest in the Gaelic language and songs. He has performed at many concerts, ceilidhs and kitchen parties throughout Cape Breton, and has played guitar many times accompaning well known fiddler/stepdancer, Anita MacDonald. His singing and playing has been strongly influenced by many Gaelic singers throughout Cape Breton, and by Country and Folk singers like Stan Rogers and Stompin’ Tom Connors. He recently graduated from the Maritime College of Forest Technology in Fredericton, NB, where he continued to play and sing during his time at school.
Dry Bones is the perfect combination of contemporary songwriting highly influenced both by traditional music and by the great songwriters of earlier times. In some ways it’s like new wine in an old bottle, you can taste the freshness but the ghosts of time past weave their haunting melodic strands throughout the music. Nathan Rogers, Leonard Podolak (the Duhks) and J.D. Edwards are all very experienced players and composers who individually have cut their own wide swath within the folk world. Together they form an imposing musical troika not to be trifled with; they are the young giants who will lead others towards the future.
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.
Matt was born in Cape Breton and started playing whistle and pipes when he was 10. He won the Argyllshire Gathering Silver Medal in Oban, Scotland 8 years later and at 19 started recording, playing and touring the US with celtic rock/fusion group Cuillin. Matt joined Natalie MacMaster’s band after Cuillin broke up, and played pipes, whistles, banjo, percussion and guitar, touring and appearing on several recordings. His own album, a stripped-bare solo recording of his main instrument, was released in 2005. After a stint with the Canadian Forces as a musician, Matt rejoined Natalie’s band earlier this year.