From the age of 13, Patricia Chafe has been composing and performing on radio, television and in public with various Celtic artists throughout the Maritimes, United States and United Kingdom. Her piano accompaniment and original music have been recorded by many Cape Breton artists, while her works have been requested from artists in Spain, Australia, United States, Ireland and China. Patricia is a classically trained musician who teaches Celtic piano accompaniment. She is a versatile artist, able to combine her Celtic heritage with her classical background, in a unique and pleasing manner.
After a frankly classical training including two Masters degrees, Rachel Aucoin specialises today in traditional music accompaniment. Now living in Beaumont, near Quebec city, Rachel directs the Maréemusique project, which includes a community-based teaching program. Deeply influenced by such musicians as Simard, Bruneau, Labbé, Messervier and Montmarquette, Sabin Jacques has been playing accordion since age 14. Living in the cosmopolitan musical community of Montreal allowed him to make significant acquaintances with musicians in popular and commercial music. Sabin worked with iconic Acadian signer Edith Butler between 1993 and 2001. His most recent recordings present traditional tunes from Quebec played with his fellow musicians from band Tidal Wave / Raz-de-marée.
Ryan MacNeil grew up in a musical environment in Sydney Mines. After spending a number of years recording and touring with Slainte Mhath, Ryan and his brother Boyd joined their siblings in The Barra MacNeils. Although best known for his innovative piano accompaniment, Ryan also plays percussion, uillian pipes, tin whistle, bodhran and step dances.
Sheumas, the eldest of six siblings who make up the Barra MacNeils, began playing piano at a very young age. He soon teamed up with his younger, fiddle-playing brother Kyle and the duo performed regularly at local square dances. Together they set the stage for what is now the Barra MacNeils. Sheumas studied music at Mount Allison University where he received his Bachelor of Music Major in Pipe Organ. Monica MacNeil is a saxophone player living in Sydney. She brings a unique sound to traditional music playing fiddle tunes on the soprano saxophone with her husband, Sheumas, on piano. She has appeared on recordings by Charlie MacCuspic, Buddy MacDonald and John Ferguson, McGinty, and Angelo Spinazzola. Along with bringing traditional Cape Breton music to the saxophone, Monica also brings it into the high school classroom, teaching Celtic music classes as a part of her music program at Riverview High School.
Sheumas, the eldest of six siblings who make up the Barra MacNeils, began playing piano at a very young age. He soon teamed up with his younger, fiddle-playing brother Kyle and the duo performed regularly at local square dances. Together they set the stage for what is now the Barra MacNeils. Sheumas studied music at Mount Allison University where he received his Bachelor of Music Major in Pipe Organ.
A traditional trio comprised of Jason ”leaden-left-hand” Roach (piano, Dawn and Margie Beaton), the embarrassingly talented Darren McMullen (mandolin, guitar, banjo, J.P. Cormier), and fiddler Colin Grant is integrated with the rough and red-eyed blues/funk rhythm section of Merlin Clarke and Donnie Calabrese (Tom Fun Orchestra) to produce a kind of Celtic fusion that is as much Béla Fleck and the Flecktones and Frank Zappa as it is Ashley MacIsaac. While their lively sound never strays too far from its Cape Breton roots, Sprag Session has caught the ear of everyone from indie scenesters to blue-haired bingo stampers.
The Beaton Sisters Band consists of sisters Dawn (fiddle, banjo, mandolin and dance) and Margie (fiddle, piano and dance) Beaton. Piano-player extraordinaire, Jason Roach from Cheticamp, Cape Breton is a lively rhythm based soloist and accompanist with a powerful beat to keep the tunes cooking! Kenneth MacKenzie, from Mabou, Cape Breton is a piper and fiddler. His roots are strongly Gaelic and his piping styling is up-tempo, made perfect for any step-dancer. Together, these artists will have your toes tapping and your legs dancing!
With roots going back six generations, this family of players shares a legacy of tradition. Ever since Joe Pete Chaisson formed the PEI Fiddlers Association and established the Rollo Bay Fiddle festival, the family has worked to preserve and protect traditional music and dance on Prince Edward Island. Joe Pete’s three sons–Peter, Kenny and Kevin–still set the standard for younger generations to follow. Peter’s masterful touch on the fiddle has never wavered through decades of play. An accomplished composer and player, Kenny has tunes to go on for days. And Kevin is one of the most sought after piano accompanists on PEI. Kenny, Kevin and Peter will be joined at Celtic Colours this year by J.J. Chaisson, Koady Chaisson and Elmer Deagle.