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.
Tag Archives | Stepdance
Wendy is an award-winning fiddler, piano player and step dancer from Creignish, Cape Breton who began performing as a stepdancer at age 5. At age 12, she began fiddle lessons with Stan Chapman. By age fifteen, Wendy was playing dances all over Cape Breton Island, forming the sound that makes her so recognizable today. With five records to her credit – including “Variations” with her Cape Breton Celtic Supergroup, Beolach – she is a favourite with traditional audiences everywhere. Wendy has toured all over the world as a solo performer, and with The Rankins, Mary Jane Lamond, Ashley MacIsaac and Beolach. Wendy’s critically acclaimed release “Seinn” is a partnership with long time musical collaborator, Mary Jane Lamond.
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. Peter’s masterful touch on the fiddle has never wavered through decades of play. An accomplished composer and player, Kenny has tunes to go on for days. And Kevin is one of the most sought after piano accompanists on PEI. Kenny, Kevin and Peter will be joined at Celtic Colours this year by J.J. Chaisson, Koady Chaisson and Elmer Deagle.
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!
Rodney MacDonald is an accomplished Cape Breton performer who has toured throughout Atlantic Canada. He is the grandson of the great fiddler and composer, Donald Angus Beaton. He began learning stepdancing from his parents at the age of four and soon picked up the fiddle. Rodney recorded his own solo recording in 1995 entitled Dancer’s Delight, Traditionally Rockin’ in 1997(with Glenn Graham), and was included on the 2004 Smithsonian release The Beaton Family of Mabou: Cape Breton Fiddle and Piano Music. The former Premier of Nova Scotia is working on a new CD for 2014.
Normand Legault is a dancer, jigger and musician from the vibrant, dance culture in Quebec. He studied art and folk traditions at Université Laval. He has also studied the cello and the classical guitar. He is a noted dancer and instructor, specifically highlighting the traditional aspects of the dance culture in Quebec, and how it interrelates and responds to the music. Normand has also been a member of À pied levé, a group which won the bronze medal in the cultural program of the Jeux de la Francophonie in Madagascar in 1997.
Shannon is Artistic Director, performer, and choreographer with the Forrester School of Dance in Sydney, currently entering its 49th year of teaching dance excellence on Cape Breton Island. Shannon has been dancing since the age of 4, under the direction of her mother, champion dancer Eileen (Pottie) Forrester. Shannon is an award winning dancer and choreographer who specializes in Highland Dance, Cape Breton Step Dance, Celtic Step Dance, Scottish Ballet and Liturgical Dance – and has garnered a reputation as a versatile instructor, performer, and choreographer. During this year’s festival, Shannon will be featured in shows as a solo performer as well as performing alongside members of the school’s senior dance company.
This is a powerful collaboration borne of a long-time friendship and a shared love of Celtic music. Whether it’s the mesmerizing Gaelic vocals of Mary Jane, or the superb and true musicianship of Wendy on the fiddle, these ladies have been making their mark with traditional audiences worldwide for over two decades. Mary Jane and Wendy have both been recognized internationally for their solo music careers, and Wendy has been Mary Jane’s steadfast comrade in the presentation of her music for many years. It seems only natural that these two impressive talents now come together to create a true musical partnership, which will combine their musical sensibilities, their strong Celtic roots, and their colourful personalities.