Saturday, August 27, 2011

Celtic Colours Festival on the way

Cape Breton, in the far north east of the Canadian Maritime provinces, has sent its fiddle and piano driven music across the world, from Japan to Singapore to Germany to Brazil to every corner of the United States and across Canada, and back home again. It is a music which draws strongly from the heritage of the west of Scotland that settlers brought with them in earlier centuries -- so strongly, in fact that at times artists from Scotland have learned from Cape Bretoners how tunes and dances lost to memory back in Scotland are still done in Atlantic Canada. Cape Breton music is no museum piece though. It is rather a living and vibrant ever evolving tradition that finds that core of of west of Scotland music meeting up with music from the rest of Scotland, from Ireland, from other parts of Europe, from the First Peoples of Nova Scotia, and holding its own center, while being shaped by the lives of people who live closely connected to mountain and to sea, and to countries across the ocean as much and to home place near at hand.

Cape Breton musicians, both those who make those international travels and those who choose to stay closer to home, also form the core of the music that fills the air during the Celtic Colours Festival which takes place across the island each October. International stars of the Celtic world come to join in, as well, with each concert being a mini ambassador for the varied strands of the music. Each artist or group plays an individual set and then all join together for finales which often produce unexpected and exciting results, to the enjoyment of musicians and listeners alike.

Celtic Colours really is a community festival. Venues include performance centers, cathie ryan band at big pond,cape breton copyright kerry dexter school buildings, churches, fire halls, and other sorts of places where performances may be held. There are community meals on offer, talks about the music, walks, art exhibits, and the always packed festival club, which begins at the Gaelic College in St. Ann’s just as the other gigs are winding down across the island. Through all this the vibrant energy of the music and the welcoming spirit of the people remain at the center.

The Festival will open this year with a concert in Port Hawkesbury on October 7 and close with a concert in Sydney on October 15. There will be 45 concerts in all, in towns including Albert Bridge, Baddeck, Boisdale, Cheticamp, Christmas Island, D'Escousse, Inverness, Iona, Judique, L’Ardoise, Louisbourg, Mabou, Main-a-Dieu, Marion Bridge, Membertou, North River, St. Peter's, Sydney Mines, Sydney River, Wagmatcook and Whycocomagh.

kathleen macinnes copyright kerry dexterIt is as always a stellar line up of artists, including many you have met here along the music road. The Black Family will come from Ireland, as will fiddler Niamh Ni Charra. Bruce Molsky will bring his old time music prowess from the United States. BeauSoliel avec Michael Doucet from Louisiana and Appalachian singer and banjo player Sheila Kay Adams will be there. Wendy MacIsaac, Ashley MacIsaac, and Andrea Beaton are among those from Cape Breton who will be on hand, as will Mary Jane Lammond. Inventive sean nos dancer Nic Gariess, an American now based in Ireland, will add his talents. Emily Smith, Jamie McClennan, Blazin’ Fiddles, and Kathleen MacInnes are among the musicians who will come over from Scotland to join in. More than one hundred musicians in all will take part.

details of all this, along with schedule and ticket information, may be found at the Celtic Colours International Festival web site

photographs of a Celtic Colours concert at Big Pond and of Kathleen MacInnes are copyrighted. thank you for respecting this.

you may also wish to see
Music Road: Mary Black: 25 years 25 songs
Music Road: Music road trip: Cape Breton
Cape Breton autumn

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


Blogger Anjuli said...

How I wish I could go for this! It sounds like it would be so awesome. I have been listening to celtic instrumental music this evening and feel my scottish/irish roots responding :)

2:00 AM  
Anonymous Kris @ Attainable Sustainable said...

This sounds just fabulous. One of these days, we'll plan a vacation around a cool music event like this!

7:06 PM  
Anonymous Alexandra said...

We had delightful guests at our B&B last week from England, crazy for music, and en route to Nashville. This festival would be closer to home. I will let them know about both it and your blog.

12:52 PM  
Anonymous ruthpennebaker said...

This sounds so wonderful -- great music in a cool place. Wish I were there.

3:51 PM  
Blogger MyKidsEatSquid said...

What a cool event--I hope you'll be reporting more about it.

5:39 PM  
Anonymous Sheryl said...

If this was closer to (my) home, I'd surely attend. Sounds wonderful.

8:48 PM  
Anonymous Alisa Bowman said...

I love music festivals and this one sounds like a great one.

8:50 PM  
Anonymous Donna Hull said...

If this was closer to Montana, I'd definitely be attending. I love to combine music festivals and travel.

7:22 PM  

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