Born and raised in Margaree Forks, Inverness County, Lawrence has been a part of the musical Cape Breton fiddle culture since his childhood. Surrounded by a family that has musically renowned members such as Rankins and Beatons, he grew up with a deep knowledge and love for the tradition. Presently teaching music at Cape Breton Highlands Academy in Terre Noire, Inverness County, he continues to make sure that young musicians are given a chance to experience the culture through the Highlands Fiddle Club and local dances and concerts that feature local young artists.
A native of Sydney Mines, Cape Breton, Leanne comes from a family steeped in music and tradition. She has performed in many parts of Canada, the US and Ireland. Her debut album, All Set, which features Tracey Dares-MacNeil, Dave MacIsaac as well as members of her family, was recognized in 2008 by the East Coast Music Association and was nominated in the category of Roots/Traditional Solo Recording of the Year. Now living in Halifax, Leanne also gives lessons in Cape Breton Stepdancing.
Margie Beaton along with her sister Dawn, comprise the Beaton Sisters from Mabou, Cape Breton. With her ECMA winning CD, “Taste of Gaelic”, she has toured around the globe–most recently to the North Atlantic Fiddle Convention in Northern Ireland and teaching at the Ceòlas school of music in South Uist, Scotland. Her flair for intricate harmonies, graceful steps, and a tasty musical style will feature prominently at Celtic Colours this year, both in her solo performance at Fiddles and Prose, and in the Beaton Sisters Band performance at Roarin’ Roots.
Mario Colosimo has been providing piano accompaniment to island musicians for over 30 years. Although classically trained, he plays every style of music from Celtic to Swing. He has lent his piano, guitar and vocal talents to many local bands and artists and regularly shares piano duties with Jean MacNeil at Rollie’s Wharf’s Thursday night traditional session. Mario operates a music studio in Dominion where he teaches guitar, fiddle, piano and piano accompaniment. In 2010, Mario collaborated with Paul Cranford on his Tunes from the Lighthouse Collection and recorded a double CD called More Tunes from the Lighthouse. He also worked with Cranford in 2011 transcribing songs for The Celtic Colours Collection.
Marion is from Antigonish, Nova Scotia. She has been playing piano for a number of years. Her most recent accompanying assignment has been with Jerry Holland, traveling extensively throughout North America and Europe. Marion comes from a musical background. Her mother Jean Fraser, an accompanist for many years, was a mainstay in Eastern Nova Scotia and developed a reputation for reliable timing. Her son Allan plays piano, touring and recording with a variety of fiddlers while her daughter Joan was a member of the youth fiddlers who performed for the Pope in 1984. Marion has recorded on Dougie MacDonald’s A Minor CD.
Marion MacLeod has performed in bars, festivals and recital halls near and far. She’s taken on the teacher role with choirs and private students, in instrumental workshops and in Inverness County classrooms where she taught music, visual art, and Gaelic. Currently, the student role dominates, as she tries to wrap up a PhD in Ethnomusicology from Memorial University in Newfoundland. Hanging out in Dunvegan these days, she is most pleased to have her father, Alistair MacLeod, and her brother, Kenneth MacLeod home to share this Celtic Colours performance with such esteemed company.
Whether it’s the mesmerizing Gaelic vocals of Mary Jane Lamond or the superb musicianship of fiddler Wendy MacIsaac, these ladies have been making their mark with traditional audiences worldwide for over two decades. Wendy MacIsaac is a high energy fiddler, piano player and stepdancer from Creignish with three solo records to her credit. A favourite with traditional audiences everywhere, Wendy has toured all over the world as a solo performer and with The Rankins, Mary Jane Lamond, Ashley MacIsaac and Beòlach. Mary Jane’s sharing of time-honoured Gaelic songs and stories has earned her numerous Juno and ECMA nominations, critical acclaim and a worldwide audience. Her four recordings create a respectful and beautiful framework for ancient Gaelic songs and her spell-binding performances make these selections truly come alive. Established tradition bearers, both Mary Jane and Wendy have been recognized internationally for their solo music careers and are skilful and enthusiastic teachers in high demand at festivals worldwide.
Pianist Maybelle Chisholm McQueen comes from one of Cape Breton's best known musical families – the Chisholms of Margaree. Maybelle studied music with the Sisters of St. Martha for many years and this classical training shows up in her playing of Scottish tunes. She played her first dance at age ten with her uncles, Angus and Archie Neil Chisholm, and is recognized for her innovative rhythmic techniques. She has recorded with many Cape Breton fiddlers including her uncle Angus, Johnny Wilmot and Howie MacDonald. Maybelle’s latest recording, Pure Celtic Hearts, was released in 2001.