A stunning synthesis of virtuosity and energy, The Outside Track’s marriage of Canadian, Scottish and Irish music and song has been rapturously received around the world. Hailing from Scotland, Ireland, Cape Breton and Vancouver, its five members–Norah Rendell, Mairi Rankin, Lily Neill, Fiona Black, and Cillian O’Dalaigh–are united by a love of traditional music and a commitment to creating new music on its foundation. Using fiddle, accordion, harp, guitar, flute, step-dance and vocals these five virtuosos blend boundless energy with unmistakable joie de vivre.
Cheticamp native Sylvia LeLievre plays six and twelve string guitar and bass. She started playing at age 13, singing old French traditional songs and the folk songs of the day. In the mid-sixties she started a band with her brother and called the Phantoms who played in and around Cheticamp for the better part of 30 years. In the 1980’s she formed Le Groupe LeLievre who sang French traditional songs and band member Ron Bourgeois’ compositions. Sylvia began writing her own songs and performing solo in 1989, and recorded her first CD in 1997.
Victor Tomiczek is a Cape Breton songwriter and musician who fronts the rock and roll band Ladyslippers and writes and performs his own acoustic troubadour brand of country songs. Since 2005, Tomiczek has toured Australia, Ireland, Scotland, England, and Canada as banjo and guitar player for the Tom Fun Orchestra. Co-producing the Cape Breton Protest Song Project in 2011, Tomiczek recruited an ensemble of local musicians to write music to the protest poetry of the early 1900s labour movement, bridging two artistic eras and carrying forward the words of the workers from Cape Breton’s strong industrial past.
Descended from the Chisholms of Margaree, a family of exceptional musical talent which includes Cameron and Maybelle Chisholm, Brian Doyle is a well-known guitarist. His playing encompasses a variety of styles, from the rock’n'roll of his earliest days to the traditional music of his ancestors. Brian has played on many recordings and has toured nationally and internationally, both with big name acts like Anne Murray and Chris DeBurgh and for Nova Scotia Tourism promotions with East Coast performers like Natalie MacMaster, Beolach, Lennie Gallant and others. In September 2011, Brian released a guitar duet record with Scott Macmillan called Live Off the Floor.
Breagh Mackinnon has been charming audiences across the Maritimes since releasing her debut, self-titled EP in 2011. Raised in a musical family, the young Cape Breton singer-songwriter has been busy since the release, playing at the East Coast Music Awards, Nova Scotia Music Week, the Stan Rogers Folk Festival, the Winnipeg Folk Festival, the Ottawa Blues fest, and the Cavendish Beach Festival. Breagh’s writing attracted the attention of multiple-award winning singer-songwriter Gordie Sampson who invited her to participate in a songwriting camp in August 2011. She has since joined to co-write with artists such as Dylan Guthro, Steven MacDougall and Sampson.
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 and Shetland Festivals. This will be Buddy’s thirteenth year hosting the Celtic Colours late night Festival Club.
A triple nominee at the 2011 East Coast Music Awards, Carmel has always been a songwriter. From her childhood on a family farm in rural Cape Breton to her current “home” on the road, Carmel has built her life around crafting songs, collecting stories, and carving poetry out of the human experience. Carmel’s songwriting has garnered her international attention, winning the folk category in the 2010 Great American Song Contest and International Singer Songwriter Awards Song Contest. This is Carmel’s third appearance at Celtic Colours since making her festival debut in 2010 with Roots to the Future, a popular concert which put young Cape Breton songwriters and tune makers together to explore how tradition influences contemporary artists.
Carmen Townsend is a four-time Music Nova Scotia Award winning artist and has most recently picked up an East Coast Music Award for Rising Star Recording of the Year. Upon releasing her debut album, Waitin’ and Seein’, in January 2011, the Cape Breton born and raised singer/songwriter was selected to be the opening act for legendary rock group Heart’s cross Canada tour. Songs from her award-winning album have been featured in several television series and film and she has performed and showcased internationally at SXSW, The Great Escape Festival, Liverpool Sound City and in Australia. Carmen has performed with Halifax, Nova Scotia-based Jubilee Swing Orchestra and is currently working on her second album.