Ashley MacIsaac was performing as a dancer in concerts by the time he started school and added fiddle and piano a short time later. While still in high school he found himself working with Paul Simon and performing in a Phillip Glass off-Broadway production. Since first recording in the early 1990s, he has experimented with musical styles and evolved into an award-winning, genre-bending performer, writer, and singer. Ashley is currently working a new project of Celtic Beats with Jay Andrews of Halifax (aka Sticks), the previously unreleased Beautiful Lake Ainslie CD with Barbara Magone is set for release later this fall as is a re-issue of his Crossover CD.
Tag Archives | Stepdance
Lucy MacNeil, the only girl in a family of five boys, may be described as the heart of The Barra MacNeils. Her crystalline vocals are immediately identifiable with the group’s sound. For Lucy, music has always had a heartbeat and she recalls it as the centre of her childhood home where family, neighbours and visiting musicians were often known to gather—the rhythm of everyone’s feet tapping with the music would lull her to sleep on many nights. Lucy’s own musical journey officially began when she was 9 years old, but even before that she was step dancing alongside her mother, a well-known local dancer and teacher. Her career with The Barra MacNeils has seen her opening tours for international stars such as Celine Dion, Kenny Rogers and Rita MacNeil.
Derrick and Melody Cameron live in Mabou, Cape Breton on the small dairy farm where Derrick was raised. Melody is an accomplished Cape Breton style dancer and fiddle player and they have performed together throughout Canada’s Maritime Provinces and the New England States. Highlights include playing the Stan Rogers Folk Festival and the Washington Irish Folk Festival, teaching workshops and performing at the North Atlantic Fiddle Convention in Aberdeen, Scotland and playing for many dances, pubs and concerts throughout Cape Breton Island. They were featured in the documentary “And They Danced” and have released three recordings.
Born in Mabou, Mairi Rankin is a fiddler and step dancer who has been influenced by some of the best Cape Breton traditional musicians and instructors on the island. She has developed her own unique style by being immersed in such a rich musical culture. Mairi has been fortunate to tour nationally and internationally as a performer and educator in both fiddle and step dance. She has performed as a solo artist, a sideman, and as a member of the Cape Breton Celtic super group Beòlach and the Scottish/Irish/Canadian band The Outside Track. Mairi has recorded one solo album, two each with Beòlach and The Outside Track and been featured on numerous compilations and recordings.
A native of Sydney Mines, Cape Breton, Leanne comes from a family steeped in music and tradition. She has performed in many parts of Canada, the US and Ireland. Her debut album, All Set, which features Tracey Dares-MacNeil, Dave MacIsaac as well as members of her family, was recognized in 2008 by the East Coast Music Association and was nominated in the category of Roots/Traditional Solo Recording of the Year. Now living in Halifax, Leanne also gives lessons in Cape Breton Stepdancing.
The Forrester Dancers have been under the direction of Eileen Pottie Forrester since 1965. Her talented daughter, Shannon Forrester McMullen has been teaching and directing alongside her mother since 1991. Since the early ‘60s, Eileen and her dancers have represented Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, and Canada during many International festivals in Asia, Europe, Canada and the United States – which included 22 shows at Walt Disney World’s Epcot main stage. Representatives of the dance company are thrilled to be invited once again to Celtic Colours showcasing their traditional and specially choreographed Highland, Scottish National, and Celtic Step Dancing.
La Swing du Suête initially came together in 1997 for the first annual Cape Breton Dance Festival in Cheticamp. Over the years, La Swing du Suête has presented itself across the Maritime provinces as well as in Quebec and Louisiana, USA. The troupe continues to enchant audiences with their music, their dances, and particularly their charm. This troupe is comprised of some 27 dancers ranging in age from 10 to 17 all students at École NDA in Chéticamp.
Cape Breton fiddler Kimberley Fraser has built a distinguished career, performing all over the world at venues from Afghanistan to Victoria. She holds degrees in Violin performance from Berklee College of Music where she was a member of The Berklee World Strings and also a degree in Celtic Studies and Jazz Piano from St Francis Xavier University. A master at the trio of fiddling, step dancing and piano, Kimberley is a much sought-after performer and teacher for all three. She has performed at Celtic Colours annually since 2000, and this year is one of the Celtic Colours Artists in Residence.