The Barra MacNeils are one of Canada’s premier Celtic groups. The family band from Sydney Mines is deeply rooted in Celtic music, culture and history, and consistently wows audiences with their captivating vocals, harmonies and musicianship. After more than 25 years, the group is as busy as ever, having released two new recordings in 2012–a live album with Symphony Nova Scotia and a special project recorded with a variety of musical guests from Celtic Colours. With multiple lead vocalists, beautiful sibling harmonies, top-drawer instrumental prowess on a wide variety of instruments, dancing, storytelling, Gaelic songs and a journey through an ancient culture, The Barra MacNeils live in concert must be experienced to be believed.
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Lucy MacNeil, the only girl in a family of five boys, may be described as the heart of The Barra MacNeils. Her crystalline vocals are immediately identifiable with the group’s sound. For Lucy, music has always had a heartbeat and she recalls it as the centre of her childhood home where family, neighbours and visiting musicians were often known to gather—the rhythm of everyone’s feet tapping with the music would lull her to sleep on many nights. Lucy’s own musical journey officially began when she was 9 years old, but even before that she was step dancing alongside her mother, a well-known local dancer and teacher. Her career with The Barra MacNeils has seen her opening tours for international stars such as Celine Dion, Kenny Rogers and Rita MacNeil.