This article, written by Celtic Colours co-founder Max MacDonald, originally appeared August 8, 2012 on celticheart.ca, a great resource which profiles all of the organizations working to preserve and promote Cape Breton’s traditional Celtic culture.
“The work itself has a complete circle of meaning and counterpoint. And without your involvement as a viewer, there is no story.” – Anish Kapoor
We all have certain dates that hold special meaning for us. It is usually birthdays, anniversaries and the like. October 10, 1997 is one of those dates for me. After a year and a half of living in a world where two steps forward and one step back was the norm, this was the opening night of the first Celtic Colours International Festival.
The excitement of launching a huge new festival was only matched by the terror organizers had that no one would attend. I suppose there was no need to worry with artists like The Chieftains, Natalie MacMaster and Sharon Shannon performing, but, worried we were.
Brilliant Irish accordion player, Sharron Shannon began her set to an ominously quiet audience of 3,000. Gradually, we began to hear the sound of feet tapping in the audience and this built to a wonderful pulsing, unified sound of thousands of feet tapping as one. Game on!
The show was full of sensational and soulful musical moments and just when we didn’t think it could get more exciting, the Chieftains performed their magic by including Natalie, Sharon and many other performers in the show that night. The audience was going nuts and we knew that the Festival was now fully born.
The Celtic Colours International Festival released its 16th Anniversary lineup in June and I was delighted to see that the Chieftains would be appearing as part of their 50th Anniversary Tour.
I can only imagine what musical hijinks they will be up to at Centre 200 this year on October 13. I’m just thrilled to be able to experience them full circle in the same building 16 years after that wonderful night in 1997. See you there!