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. 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.
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Mary Ann is an award-winning musician, producer and broadcaster. She co-founded the seminal Gaelic band, Cliar and has a long association with the Inverness Gaelic Choir. A BBC Radio 3 presenter, she runs the highly-regarded Watercolour Music studios in Lochaber. Wilma Kennedy, Mary Ann’s sister, is an actress, singer and educator with a background in theatre in education. She tutors at Plockton Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music, and directs the award-winning Dundee Gaelic Choir. Mary Ann and Wilma’s cousin Maggie, also a member of Cliar, is a senior mentor in the youth tuition Fèisean movement and sings with Còisir Ghàidhlig Inbhirnis.
Mary Elizabeth MacInnis is Buddy MacMaster’s daughter. She began to play the piano by practicing along with tapes of her father. The home and dance recordings include a variety of accompanists including John Morris Rankin and Buddy’s sisters, Betty Lou, Genevieve and Lorraine. These tapes, with their long, extended sets, are perfect for learning tunes and practicing accompaniment. At 14, Mary Elizabeth first performed with her father in a concert at Judique Parish Hall and soon began playing with him at the Glencoe Mills dances. She has also traveled with her father to play in Boston, Washington and Toronto.
Mary Ann Kennedy has been surrounded by music all her life. She is part of the younger generation of one of the great dynasties of Gaelic song—the Campbells of Greepe from the Isle of Skye. An award-winning harpist who trained as a classical musician, Mary Ann is a co-founder of highly-acclaimed Gaelic band Cliar, winners of all-time Best Album at the inaugural Scots Trad Music Awards and works with Còisir Ghàidhlig Inbhirnis (Inverness Gaelic Choir). In addition to her career as a musician, Mary Ann is a highly-respected radio and television presenter, and an in-demand music producer.
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.
Comprised of five Cape Breton pipers – Paul K. MacNeil, Keith MacDonald, Rankin MacInnis, Kenneth MacKenzie, and Kevin Dugas – and formed by the Gaelic College, Nuallan seeks to represent, promote and explore the style of piping brought by Highland Gaels and developed over the past two hundred years here in Cape Breton Island. This rich style of playing had a strong focus on the rhythm and musicality of the music and an inherent link with the song and dance traditions of the Gaelic culture. Nuallan’s members are well-known individually for their rhythmic, musical playing and bringing them together to celebrate the importance of these connections was a natural fit.
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.
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.