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.
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Born in Inverness, Cape Breton, Kevin has been playing the great highland bagpipe for 19 years. His early piping career was influenced by many great tutors at the Gaelic College summer school and he now competes at the professional level in piping solos and band competitions with the 78th Highlanders Halifax Citadel grade 1 pipe band. Growing up, Kevin was inspired musically by his Scottish and Acadian roots, and the many great traditional musicians from Inverness County. He enjoys attending square dances and playing for square sets whenever possible, and has recorded with the Cape Breton piano player Mac Morin.
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.
Mac Morin is a dancer and piano player from Troy. Starting out as a talented dancer, Mac became interested in piano as a teenager. He has gone on to tour around the world with Natalie MacMaster and Beòlach while continuing to travel widely to teach Cape Breton step dancing. Mac has appeared on numerous artists’ recordings and released a solo album in 2003. As Artist in Residence this year, he will be directing a special concert tracing the evolution of Cape Breton piano style. He will also perform with Beòlach, Natalie MacMaster, Mairi Rankin, Dannsa and Nic Gareiss.
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.
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 combines their musical sensibilities, their strong Celtic roots, and their colourful personalities.
Natalie MacMaster is an electrifying performer whose fiddle-playing has become synonymous with Cape Breton’s traditional music. It’s a signature sound that has resonated with world audiences through 11 albums; numerous Juno and East Coast Music Awards; two honorary degrees and an honorary doctorate; the Order Of Canada; and a reputation as one of Canada’s most captivating performers. In addition to publishing a coffee table book in 2010, Natalie had recently released her eleventh album, “Cape Breton Girl”. She has been an ambassador of Cape Breton fiddle music, and we’re very happy to have her home to celebrate Celtic Colours this year.
Nic Gareiss is a dancer who always leaves audiences thrilled. Born in Michigan, he draws from many percussive dance traditions to create a dance technique that expresses his love of improvisation, traditional footwork, and collaboration. Holding degrees in anthropology and music from Central Michigan University and an MA in ethnochoreology from the University of Limerick, he has performed with the best in traditional music and dance including The Chieftains, Solas, Darol Anger, Liz Carroll, Bruce Molsky, and Alasdair Fraser. At Celtic Colours he will perform with harpist Maeve Gilchrest, Kimberley Fraser and his fellow Artist in Residence, Mac Morin.