Nicole LeBlanc is a proud Acadian from Chéticamp, Cape Breton Island. She has been sharing her culture through music for several years. With the help of le Conseil des arts de Chéticamp as well as la Société Saint-Pierre, she loves passing on her love of music to others, young and old. She is the music teacher at her childhood school, École NDA, and directs the community dance troupe. Whether she’s on stage, in the classroom, at church or at a kitchen party, she enthusiastically shares the traditional music as well as her own compositions with people around her.
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Qristina and Quinn Bachand have taken the international Celtic music world by storm, winning 2010 Top Traditional Group and 2011 Top Duo at the Irish Music Awards and receiving multiple nominations at the Canadian Folk Music Awards. Born and raised on Canada’s West Coast with its signature tolerance for experimentation and improvisation, the siblings have always been encouraged to find their own voice, exploring all kinds of musical traditions and fusing styles such as Old-time, Irish trad, Folk, and Jazz to create their own distinctive sound. This award winning duo’s sheer talent and natural exuberance is a joy to behold.
Since being presented the Tic Butler Memorial Award during Celtic Colours in 2007, Rachel Davis’ music career has taken off. The fiddler and singer from Baddeck, who learned to play initially from her grandfather and continued with Karen Beaton, Stan Chapman and Kyle MacNeil through her studies at Cape Breton University, was chosen as the 2009 recipient of the Frank “Big Sampy” Sampson award, leading to the release of her debut album that year. A founding member of new Cape Breton supergroup Coìg, Rachel released her second album, Turns, this year and is nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award.
Roger Stone is an accomplished Cape Breton musician, born and raised in Richmond County. Currently a member of the long-established and much loved Nova Scotian band McGinty, Roger also enjoys a busy solo career and plays with a variety of other notable musicians. Known for his folk and traditional style of music, Roger has been a passionate teacher of banjo, guitar, mandolin, bass, percussion and voice for almost thirty years. He has been a contributing force and inspiration to the musical careers of well-known artists and his many students and his song writing skill is well known whether writing his own original material or in collaboration with others.
Ronald Bourgeois has been a promoter and defender of Acadian music and culture since the early 1980s. Inspired by his Acadian roots and life in Atlantic Canada, the Cheticamp native is regarded by his peers as one of Acadie’s top songwriters. His award-winning songs are found in almost every Acadian artist’s repertoire. Ron has released two recordings–Amène le vent (1994); Le long retour (2001). He has performed throughout Canada and France and over 60 Ronald Bourgeois songs have been recorded by artists in Canada, France and Louisiana.
Seán Ó Sé is a native of Bantry, Co. Cork, where he was born into an Irish speaking family immersed in traditional music and song. Seán had a long association with Seán Ó Riada, singing with him on several radio and television programmes, and many of his recordings. Since Ó Riada’s death, Seán has recorded with Donal Lunny, Dermot O’Brien and Peadar O’ Riada, featured on Comhaltas’ Echoes of Erin CDs and toured in America, the UK, Moscow, Shanghai and Havana with Comhaltas. Seán is also recognized as a very humorous storyteller who captures the Cork wit very successfully.
Shauntay Grant is an author, performer, musician, educator, and journalist. A dynamic writer and storyteller, Shauntay’s work has earned her invitations to present at local and international events. She has shared her blend of poetry and music internationally at festivals and events, and as Halifax’s third Poet Laureate, she organized Canada’s first national gathering of Canadian Poets Laureate. Shauntay holds bachelor’s degrees in Music and Journalism and her homegrown artistic practice embraces African Nova Scotian folk tradition as well as contemporary approaches to literature and performance.
Newfoundland native Terry Kelly has been making music since childhood. He has released seven full-length recordings, resulting in seven East Coast Music Awards and nominations for four Canadian Country Music Awards and a JUNO. Terry has shared the stage with Symphony Orchestras, and performed his original music in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and for the troops in Afghanistan. He is most recognized for his inspirational song, “A Pittance of Time”. With Honorary Doctorates in Civil Laws and in Fine Arts, the King Clancy Award recipient has received the Canadian Country Music Association’s Humanitarian Award and is a member of the Order of Canada.