Singing in English, Scottish Gaelic and Irish, Lewis MacKinnon performs regularly as a solo artist and as a member of the East Coast group, the Jug in Hand Band. Playing rhythm guitar, MacKinnon has shared his powerful baritone voice with audiences in the coffee shops, pubs and concert halls of Eastern Canada, New England, Scotland and Ireland. In 2006 he released an all Gaelic recording titled, A’ Seo (“Here”) which earned him an ECMA nomination in the Roots/Traditional category. In 2010, he completed his first all-English solo recording, titled “Making More Of It”.
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A well-known singer and award-winning author, Lillis Ó Laoire grew up in the Gaelic speaking region of Donegal, Ireland, a place noted for its rich oral tradition. From an early age he was exposed to the rich vein of Gaelic song and as a young adult he developed that interest, recording material from older singers. Lillis has won the national gold medal for Gaelic old style singing twice, is a fluent Scottish Gaelic speaker and has made one solo recording. Lillis teaches courses in Folklore at the National University of Ireland, Galway. This is his first time to Cape Breton.
Cedric Watson is a fiddler, vocalist, accordionist and songwriter of enormous talent and potential. Injecting a healthy dose of his own personality and ingenuity, Cedric has been exciting an ever-broadening audience with his unique take on traditional Creole music, and with his new compositions that expand the genre while still respecting its roots. Watson is joined in by fiddle and accordion player Ed Poullard and Bijou Creole bandmate Desiree Champagne on rubboard. Moving with ease between fiddle and accordion, and adding his strong blues-inflected vocals, Cedric’s creative style and obvious joy in playing make him an engaging and exciting performer.
Les Zorvenants share the traditional songs of their community, Cheticamp. Jean-René Bourgeois is a founding member of Les Habitants, a band that recorded and toured a repertoire of 18th century French music with many historical connections to Cape Breton’s Acadian song traditions. Marcel LeFort has been performing professionally since his early teens. His musical adaptability has thick Acadian roots and he has played with Cyril MacPhee, J.P. Cormier, Ronald Bourgeois and the Phantoms. Robert Deveaux spent much of his youth in the dance halls of Cape Breton playing Scottish fiddle and piano before rekindling his relationship with traditional Acadian songs.
Lisa Cameron was raised among a musical family in Margaree Forks. Since the 2004 release of her album End Of Blue (produced by J.P. Cormier), Lisa has been no stranger to stages across Nova Scotia. She has been featured on CBC Radio, the 2005 ECMA stage, and the 2005 compilation Lullabies of Our Cape Breton which won a 2006 ECMA for Best Children’s Recording. For the past couple of years, Lisa has been playing local venues and writing with a small group of Cape Breton songwriters. She released her second record in the winter of 2009.
Allan, Iain and Dr. Angus MacDonald were born in the tiny Gaelic-speaking township of Glenuig in Moidart. As pipers, Allan and “Dr. Angus” achieved the most competition success, each Highland Society of London Gold Medalists and winners of the Clasp at the Northern Meeting. Iain’s fame has come mainly from his work with folk groups, Ossian, The Battlefield Band and Wolfstone, and production credits for recordings by Julie Fowlis, Dàimh, Kathleen MacInnes and his brother Allan’s recordings with Margaret Stewart. The brothers are well-known for the Gaelic influence in their playing.
As a singer, pianist, fiddler, actress, hockey and soccer player, 18-year-old Margaret MacPherson loves the stage. She started performing at a young age and has received some amazing opportunities to perform with some very talented musicians from across the province. She particularly enjoys Cape Breton tunes and plays many instruments including piano and fiddle. Margaret started acting at 9, playing the role of Annie in a CBU Boardmore Playhouse production. She has also been in recent productions of Les Miserables and Chicago. Margaret enjoys performing for audiences across the island and is currently working on Enter Left Productions’ show Portals.
Still in her mid twenties, Edinburgh-born Maeve Gilchrist has been credited as an innovator on her native Celtic Harp due to her unique chromatic and improvisational approach to the instrument. Based in Boston MA, Maeve tours internationally as a solo artist, with her trio, and as a duo with percussive dancer Nic Gareiss. She has performed and recorded with such luminaries as Darol Anger, Kathy Mattea, Esperanza Spalding, Tony Trischka, Alasdair Fraser and Vardan Ovsepian. She teaches at the Berklee College of Music and has been published by Hal Leonard. This is Maeve’s first time at Celtic Colours.