Pianist/vocalist Hamish Napier (Back of The Moon, Man’s Ruin) and fiddler Adam Sutherland (Treacherous Orchestra, Session A9, Croft No. 5) have joined forces in a duo that explores material from traditional songs and tunes, to contemporary numbers, to their own compositions and improvisation. The duo’s raw creativity and their outstanding musical intuition shines in this set up and performances display a kind of electricity and excitement inspired by the off-the-cuff nature of their arrangements, allowing them to highlight every nuance. Each performance is unique and demonstrates the incredible talent of two of Scotland’s foremost musicians.
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Adam Young is a piano player from Marion Bridge who regularly plays throughout Cape Breton, and has showcased in Scotland, Ireland, and the United States, including a five-week engagement with Jennifer Roland’s band at Dolly Parton’s amusement park in Tennessee. Adam created and directed Louisbourg Playhouse’s Cape Breton Lyrics & Laughter, which has been performed more than 300 times and was nominated for an ECMA. He also performs with Anita MacDonald and Ben Miller, with his band The Goin’s On, and can be heard on recordings by Colin Grant, Jason MacDonald, Eric Angus Whyte, Dara Smith-MacDonald and Marilyn MacKinnon.
These three brothers from Foot Cape, Inverness County, have been playing music together since they were young. Kyle MacDonald is the fiddler of the group, and also plays mandolin, and percussion. Kyle’s twin brother Keith is the piper and guitarist while eldest brother Colin, who studied Gaelic Language and Traditional Music on Isle of Skye, Scotland plays piano. These three musicians create a powerful Cape Breton sound and guarantee a lively performance.
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.
Betty Lou Beaton began playing the piano at the age of five. Although she has a couple of years of piano training, all her Cape Breton piano playing is done by ear. At fourteen years of age, she started playing dances with her brother Buddy and has been accompanying fiddlers for dancers ever since. She is most often paired with her husband, fiddler Kinnon Beaton, and the duo is in high demand to play for dances.
Allan’s background in the Cape Breton musical tradition is the backbone of his ability to accompany any fiddler, past and present—from Carl MacKenzie, Buddy MacMaster, Rodney MacDonald, Howie MacDonald, John Morris Rankin and John Pellerin to the new generation fiddlers including Troy MacGillivray and Shelly Campbell—for dances and ceilidhs. Allan has toured all over the world with Jerry Holland and others and was a full time member of Natalie MacMaster’s band for five years. Allan is Music Director at the Celtic Music Interpretive Centre in Judique and spends his time accompanying local fiddlers at dances, and in pubs and theatres.
Ashley MacIsaac was performing as a dancer in concerts by the time he started school and added fiddle and piano a short time later. While still in high school he found himself working with Paul Simon and performing in a Phillip Glass off-Broadway production. Since first recording in the early 1990s, he has experimented with musical styles and evolved into an award-winning, genre-bending performer, writer, and singer. Ashley continues to surprise crowds, whether it’s Celtic Beats with Jay Andrews of Halifax (aka Sticks), or a traditional set with Maybelle Chisholm McQueen, he’s always there drivin’ ‘er.
Andrea Beaton is the youngest of generations of Beaton and MacMaster musicians. Like her father (Kinnon) and grandfather (Donald Angus), she is a lively violinist and composer, adding fine new music to the island’s repertoire. Andrea has released six albums including 2010 East Coast Music Award winning “Branches” and her latest, “Little Black Book”, released in 2012. In 2007 she released an album with her father, Kinnon Beaton and in 2006 she recorded “The Tap Session” in Scotland with Troy MacGillivray, Fin Moore, and Luke Plumb. Her previous two releases, “Cuts” (2004) and “License to Drive’er” (2002), were both nominated for East Coast Music Awards.