Susan MacLean was born and raised in Washabuck and now resides in the Sydney area. She has performed with various Cape Breton musicians at dances, concerts and house rackets and has taught Cape Breton style piano accompaniment for many years at St. Ann’s Gaelic College. She is also a member of the Cape Breton Fiddlers’ Association, plays fiddle and writes music. Susan’s enthusiasm for Cape Breton style piano comes from influences within her own extended family including grandfather Michael Anthony MacLean, uncles Carl and Hector MacKenzie and cousins in the Barra MacNeils.
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A high energy traditional trio comprised of Colin Grant (fiddle), Jason Roach (piano), and Darren McMullen (multi-Instrumentalist) is integrated with the rough and red-eyed blues/funk rhythm section of Merlin Clarke and Donnie Calabrese 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, earning themselves an international reputation as one of the most dynamic and versatile live acts in the Celtic music world (and beyond).
Newfoundland native Terry Kelly has been making music since childhood. He has released seven full-length recordings, resulting in seven East Coast Music Awards and nominations for four Canadian Country Music Awards and a JUNO. Terry has shared the stage with Symphony Orchestras, and performed his original music in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and for the troops in Afghanistan. He is most recognized for his inspirational song, “A Pittance of Time”. With Honorary Doctorates in Civil Laws and in Fine Arts, the King Clancy Award recipient has received the Canadian Country Music Association’s Humanitarian Award and is a member of the Order of Canada.
Five voices, one family, ten Mòd gold medals through three generations. A treasury of song and a passion for sharing it with their audiences, The Campbells of Greepe – Caimbeulaich a’ Ghnìoba – are one of the great dynasties of Gaelic song. Their roots lie in a tiny crofting township on the Isle of Skye, where music was the constant accompaniment to everyday life. Pipers and singers who loved to dance, they’re considered the masters of puirt-à-beul, Gaelic mouth music, but their songs encompass a whole musical world – pibroch songs, work songs, and the songs of their own community.
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. This year the younger generation–J.J. (guitar, fiddle), Koady (guitar, tenor banjo), Brent (guitar), Tim (fiddle, vocals, guitar), and Darla (piano)–takes centre stage at Celtic Colours.
The Belkolora Quintet, one of Cape Breton’s newest ensembles, features Katheryn Gordon on piano, Laurie Gorman on clarinet, Richard MacAulay on flute, Barb Stetter on oboe, and Jenny Tingley on harp and flute. Each has an active passion for music of all sorts, as demonstrated by their work as both educators and talented performers in their own right. Now they’re arranging and performing music together – creating and developing their multi-coloured, beautiful Belkolora Quintet sound.
The Men of the Deeps is a choir of working and retired coal miners from Cape Breton Island, organized in 1966 as part of Cape Breton’s contribution to Canada’s Centennial Year. The Men of the Deeps have released nine albums, been the subject of two NFB films and one book, toured around the world and frequently been featured on TV and radio. Today the Men of the Deeps are more than a singing group – it is a social institution. There is a camaraderie amongst the members of the group that carries over to their audiences wherever they perform.
The Beaton Sisters Band consists of sisters Dawn (fiddle 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!