These three brothers from Foot Cape, Inverness County, have been playing music together since they were young. Kyle MacDonald is the fiddler of the group, and also plays mandolin, and percussion. Kyle’s twin brother Keith is the piper and guitarist while eldest brother Colin, who studied Gaelic Language and Traditional Music on Isle of Skye, Scotland plays piano. These three musicians create a powerful Cape Breton sound and guarantee a lively performance.
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Andrea Beaton is the youngest of generations of Beaton and MacMaster musicians. Like her father (Kinnon) and grandfather (Donald Angus), she is a lively violinist and composer, adding fine new music to the island’s repertoire. Andrea has released six albums including 2010 East Coast Music Award winning “Branches” and her latest, “Little Black Book”, released in 2012. In 2007 she released an album with her father, Kinnon Beaton and in 2006 she recorded “The Tap Session” in Scotland with Troy MacGillivray, Fin Moore, and Luke Plumb. Her previous two releases, “Cuts” (2004) and “License to Drive’er” (2002), were both nominated for East Coast Music Awards.
Chrissy Crowley, Rachel Davis, Colin Grant, Jason Roach and Darren McMullen got together in 2010 for a tour promoting Celtic Colours. The engaging line-up of well-known solo acts—featuring expertly-played fiddle, piano, guitar, mandolin, whistle and banjo—enjoyed playing together so much that they decided to perform as Còig (“Ko-ick” – Scottish Gaelic for “five”) whenever they can. And we’re happy they are together for the Festival this year. With busy solo schedules, these musicians do not get a lot of chances to play together as Còig. Take advantage of this rare opportunity to see them in action.
The four MacDonald siblings that make up the group Company Road were raised in a musical family in Port Hood, among seven brothers and sisters. Although traditional Cape Breton fiddle music and dance is undeniably in their blood, Country music had a strong influence on their musical sensibilities. Although brothers Brennan and Mitch are no strangers to the stage, Gordie and Kelly Jean have only recently been convinced to come out of the kitchen and bring their talents to the stage. Each brings their own style and voice to their music, from Kelly Jean’s amazing control and power, to Gordie’s incredible sense of harmony, Mitch’s soft indie-esque vibe and Brennan’s musical comfort and writing combined with family humour and personality. You’ll be in good company with this crowd. Kelly Jean, Mitch, Gordie and Brennan absolutely love singing and performing together and that is certainly evident when watching them.
Preparation for the 1973 Festival of Cape Breton Fiddling in Glendale gave birth to the Cape Breton Fiddlers’ Association whose main mandate has been to preserve and promote traditional Cape Breton fiddle music. In 1998, the Association celebrated its 25th anniversary with 202 fiddlers on stage at the Gaelic College. Ten years later, nearly one hundred members embarked on a ten-day tour of Scotland. By providing workshops and opportunities to learn new tunes and techniques, publishing tunes, and providing venues for musicians, the Cape Breton Fiddlers’ Association is flourishing. Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, the Cape Breton Fiddlers’ Association will be featured in a very special closing concert.
Born and raised in Chéticamp, Cape-Breton, Sylvie and Christine Doucet have been dancing for as long as they can remember. They were both founding members of La swing du suête and have shared their love of dancing with many audiences over the years. Christine now lives in Sydney where she teaches step dancing to young students and is in charge of the dance troupe Pieds en cadence. Sylvie lives in Chéticamp where she teaches step dancing to adults and is assistant director of the dance troupe La swing du suête. Both sisters are happy to be reunited on stage to share their love of dance and celtic music.
Cassie and Maggie MacDonald are a dynamic Celtic sister duo, born in Halifax with strong roots in Antigonish, who have been wowing audiences across Canada with their unique blend of original and traditional Celtic music. Together these delightful sisters bring more than your average fiddle and piano duo; Fiddle-playing Cassie is also an award winning highland and step dancer and also sings harmony for Maggie. In addition to her piano playing, Maggie sings lead, plays guitar, banjo, accordion and is also an accomplished step dancer. Their music fits together seamlessly encompassing various styles from Cape Breton reels to Antigonish polkas, Quebecois fiddling and footwork to down east standards.
Helen MacDonald and Dawn MacDonald-Gillis began step dancing at the ages of 5 and 8 under the tutelage of Kaye Hanrahan in New Waterford. With strong ties to the Iona area, they grew up surrounded by traditional Cape Breton music. By the time they had reached their teen years, their synchronized footwork saw them invited to perform in many concerts in Cape Breton and beyond. They began teaching step dancing, both privately and for other dancing schools in the industrial Cape Breton area. They both continue to teach step dance workshops at various professional conferences as well as at the Gaelic College, St. Ann’s and at Fèis an Eilein, Christmas Island, among others.