Jason was born and raised in Cheticamp. He began playing piano at the age of five and was introduced to the Celtic style at thirteen. He has a Bachelor of Music degree from St. Francis Xavier University and has been performing since 1997. Jason has performed in Italy, France, Scotland and throughout Canada. He plays regularly with Chrissy Crowley and is a member of Sprag Session and Còig. He is featured on albums by Maybelle Chisholm, Dawn and Margie Beaton, Sprag Session and Còig. Jason released his own album in 2007 with support from the Festival Volunteer Drive’ers Association.
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Born and raised in Margaree Forks, Inverness County, Lawrence has been a part of the musical Cape Breton music 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. Lawrence later trained and graduated from Acadia University with a Music Education degree. He has taught music both in public and private schools since his teens. Presently he’s teaching music at Cape Breton Highlands Academy in Terre Noire, Inverness County.
Karen (MacLean) Beaton was born in East Lake Ainslie and has become one of this generation’s true tradition bearers, for whom preservation of the violin technique is one of the utmost importance. Joey has traveled extensively, nurturing the music he inherited and which he cherishes. He is a composer of many tunes, a radio broadcaster of Cape Breton music, and publisher of two books of original tunes.
Kenneth and Calum come from a Gaelic-speaking household in Mabou and the Gaelic culture has always been integral part of their lives. Kenneth is a piper and fiddler. Having studied the pipes with Scott MacAulay at the College of Piping in Summerside, in Scotland, and at the Gaelic College over the years, his music is becoming well-known for its irresistible drive and lively, traditional feel. Calum started learning to play the fiddle at an early age. He has performed all over and passes on his musical knowledge through local fesiean and teaching fiddle and piano at Ceolas school in Scotland.
Les Zorvenants share the traditional songs of their community, Cheticamp. Jean-René Bourgeois is a founding member of Les Habitants, a band that recorded and toured a repertoire of 18th century French music with many historical connections to Cape Breton’s Acadian song traditions. Marcel LeFort has been performing professionally since his early teens. His musical adaptability has thick Acadian roots and he has played with Cyril MacPhee, J.P. Cormier, Ronald Bourgeois and the Phantoms. Robert Deveaux spent much of his youth in the dance halls of Cape Breton playing Scottish fiddle and piano before rekindling his relationship with traditional Acadian songs.
The MacKenzie brothers grew up in a Gaelic-speaking household in Mabou and the Gaelic culture has been an integral part of life from the early years. Kenneth plays highland pipes, border pipes and fiddle. He performs regularly with the Beaton Sisters Band and a host of other Cape Bretoners. Angus lives in Scotland and plays pipes and whistles with the high-energy bands Daimh and Seudan. In 2010, they were awarded the Celtic Colours Volunteer Drive’ers “Big Sampie” award and made their first record as a group, Piob Is Fidheal (Pipes & Fiddle). Calum guests on the record playing piano.
Mac Morin is a dancer and piano player from Troy. Starting out as a talented dancer, Mac became interested in piano as a teenager. He has gone on to tour around the world with Natalie MacMaster and Beòlach while continuing to travel widely to teach Cape Breton step dancing. Mac has appeared on numerous artists’ recordings and released a solo album in 2003. As Artist in Residence this year, he will be directing a special concert tracing the evolution of Cape Breton piano style. He will also perform with Beòlach, Natalie MacMaster, Mairi Rankin, Dannsa and Nic Gareiss.
As a singer, pianist, fiddler, actress, hockey and soccer player, 18-year-old Margaret MacPherson loves the stage. She started performing at a young age and has received some amazing opportunities to perform with some very talented musicians from across the province. She particularly enjoys Cape Breton tunes and plays many instruments including piano and fiddle. Margaret started acting at 9, playing the role of Annie in a CBU Boardmore Playhouse production. She has also been in recent productions of Les Miserables and Chicago. Margaret enjoys performing for audiences across the island and is currently working on Enter Left Productions’ show Portals.