Pianist/vocalist Hamish Napier (Back of The Moon, Man’s Ruin) and fiddler Adam Sutherland (Treacherous Orchestra, Session A9, Croft No. 5) have joined forces in a duo that explores material from traditional songs and tunes, to contemporary numbers, to their own compositions and improvisation. The duo’s raw creativity and their outstanding musical intuition shines in this set up and performances display a kind of electricity and excitement inspired by the off-the-cuff nature of their arrangements, allowing them to highlight every nuance. Each performance is unique and demonstrates the incredible talent of two of Scotland’s foremost musicians.
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Anita MacDonald is a musician, dancer, and Gaelic singer from Little Narrows, Cape Breton. Anita’s fiddle playing has a distinctive sound, influenced by the deep roots of her musical family and her teachers throughout the years. Her energetic style has put her in demand as a performer and teacher, across Cape Breton and beyond. Ben Miller is a player of Scottish smallpipes, border pipes, and highland pipes, whose repertoire and style draw mainly on the Gaelic traditions of western Scotland and the Canadian Maritimes, blended with a healthy dash of Irish tunes for good measure.
Bob Quinn is the composer behind the widely known song, “My Love, Cape Breton & Me”, which is found on Natalie MacMaster’s Blueprint album as recorded by her cousin, Kate. Jennifer (Whalen) Quinn performed often with Nova Scotia favourites John Allan Cameron and Anne Murray. Together, they will come together to celebrate Jennifer’s uncle, Buddy MacMaster, for the festival this year.
Buddy MacDonald, from the North Shore of Cape Breton, has been a singer/songwriter for over thirty years. He has entertained international audiences and shared the stage with Celtic artists including Natalie MacMaster, Ashley MacIsaac, Dave MacIsaac and Howie MacDonald. Buddy has made a number of appearances in the U.S., and at Scotland’s Orkney, Shetland, and Perthshire Amber Festivals. Buddy has hosted the Celtic Colours late night Festival Club since its beginning in 1997. Whether in a small country hall, pub, festival or concert theatre, his love of writing, singing and entertaining comes across to bridge the gap between performer and listener.
Growing up just outside of St. Peter’s in a musical family, Cyril MacPhee was immersed in Cape Breton ceilidhs and heavily influenced by his father’s Scottish and Irish fiddling, Country and Bluegrass music, and Folk singers like Stan Rogers. His musical influences are extremely varied, from the Beatles to Harry Hibbs, and this shows through in his songwriting and musical style. MacPhee has a versatility in his music that is a truly unique blend of folk, country and Celtic music. He has released five albums, three with the popular power-folk group Brakin’ Tradition and two as a solo artist.
The Cape Breton Chorale has been thrilling audiences since its formation in 1973. In the 40 years since, the Chorale has given more than 200 performances throughout the Maritimes, England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland. The Chorale has shared the stage with a variety of musical stars, ranging from Celine Dion to Rita MacNeil and has performed before numerous visiting dignitaries including Queen Elizabeth II. The Cape Breton Chorale has released five albums and demonstrated, through its versatility and repertoire, its well-deserved reputation for excellence.
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.
Colin Watson was raised with Gaelic as a first languages and has an avid enthusiasm for all aspects of Cape Breton’s Gaelic tradition. His specialty is Gaelic singing. With a repertoire of mouth tunes and song, he has sung for BBC Scotland and appeared at concerts and milling frolics throughout Nova Scotia. Colin graduated from Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, Memorial University in 2011 after living in Newfoundland for four years. He currently lives in Jamesville, Victoria County, Cape Breton.