Global ambassadors for Shetland, Fiddlers’ Bid are internationally respected as leading exponents of their unique musical heritage and rich fiddle tradition. A dynamic, four-fiddle front line joins with a powerhouse of piano, bass, guitar and Scottish harp in stunning virtuosity. Since their formation in 1991, Fiddlers’ Bid have astounded audiences all over the world with their expressive, high energy music and performances. Two members of the band, Chris Stout and Catriona McKay, are no strangers to Celtic Colours fans, and we’re happy to have them back and to welcome the rest of the crew along with them.
One of Ireland’s foremost traditional harpers, Laoise Kelly first learned her music at home in Westport, County Mayo where her parents listened to an eclectic mix of Scott Joplin, The Beatles, Nana Mouskouri, Johnny Cash, Louis Armstrong, De Dannan and lots of classical music. Laoise’s father taught her how to play piano and read music, and she started playing harp at age 12. Laoise was a founder member of the traditional group Bumblebees with whom she recorded two albums and toured extensively. Since then, she has recorded on over 50 albums with many of Ireland’s foremost artists and released two solo albums.
In 1987, using a harp loaned to her by the Clan MacNeil organization in Iona, Lucy MacNeil went to Houlton, Maine to study with Elizabeth Hannon from Ireland. Not long after, she wrote a tune called “The Lone Harper” that was included on a compilation album and the Barras MacNeils album “Rock In The Stream”. The harp was added to the instruments she already played with the group—fiddle and bodhran—but beyond Christmas shows it was used sparingly. Lucy is very much looking forward to revisiting the instrument and playing in concert this year with one of her favourite harp players, Laoise Kelly from Ireland.
Six time Grammy winners, The Chieftains are now recognized for bringing traditional Irish music to the world’s attention. They have uncovered the wealth of traditional Irish music accumulated over the centuries, making it their own with a style as exhilarating as it is definitive. Although their early following was purely a folk audience, the range and variation of their music very quickly captured a much broader public, making them the best known Irish band in the world today. The Chieftains played at the first Celtic Colours in 1997 and since they’re on their 50th anniversary tour, we figured it was only right to have them back this year.
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.
The Belkolora Quintet, one of Cape Breton’s newest ensembles, features Katheryn Gordon on piano, Laurie Gorman on clarinet, Richard MacAulay on flute, Barb Stetter on oboe, and Jenny Tingley on harp and flute. Each has an active passion for music of all sorts, as demonstrated by their work as both educators and talented performers in their own right. Now they’re arranging and performing music together – creating and developing their multi-coloured, beautiful Belkolora Quintet sound.
Scotland’s Catriona McKay leads this hands-on workshop for harp players.
Hands-on workshop for harp players with Ireland’s Lily Neill.