FolkWorld #71 03/2020
© Dave Mahalik / Celtic Colours International Festival

Across the Western Ocean

Cabot Trail

A Jaw-Dropping Display of Musical Minds

Celtic Colours

October 9-17, 2020

Artist Video An Experience
Like No Other

The Chieftains

Celtic Colours International Festival releases seventh volume of live recordings from the 2019 performances.

Celtic Colours Live Volume Seven
Beòlach and Breabach | The Dardanelles | Julie Fowlis | April Verch Band | The Chieftains featuring Alyth McCormack | Kenneth MacKenzie, Kolten MacDonell, and Orianna MacNeil featuring dancers John and Bill Pellerin, Dawn MacDonald-Gillis, and Helen MacDonald | Kinnaris Quintet | The Barra MacNeils | Ùr: The Future of our Past | Chartrand Babineau | Breabach | J.P. Cormier and Tim Edey | The Outside Track

Various Artists "Celtic Colours Live – Volume Seven", Celtic Colours, 2019

Julie Fowlis

Featuring an exciting transatlantic collaboration, a selection of traditional and contemporary tunes for listening and dancing, outstanding performances of some classics, and a jaw-dropping display of musical minds at work and play, this seventh volume in the Celtic Colours Live series offers a few highlights among the many that occurred during the 2019 Celtic Colours International Festival.

Recorded at venues all over Cape Breton Island during the Festival, Celtic Colours Live – Volume Seven kicks off with a very special collaboration between Cape Breton’s Beòlach and Breabach from Scotland, captured during the Kicking Ash concert in Mabou where this year’s Artists in Residence were featured. The tunes continue throughout the album with older and traditional tunes by Newfoundland and Labrador trad stars The Dardanelles and Celtic Colours first-timers Chartrand Babineau from Quebec, and more contemporary tunes from the Scottish contingent including Kinnaris Quintet, Ùr: The Future of our Past, and Breabach.

Of course, for Cape Bretoners tunes are inextricably linked to dancing, and Kenneth MacKenzie, Kolten MacDonell, and Orianna MacNeil beautifully illustrate this as they play a Scotch Four set for dancers John and Bill Pellerin, Dawn MacDonald-Gillis, and Helen MacDonald during the Close to the Floor concert at Strathspey Performing Arts Centre in Mabou. Dance also took centre stage briefly during Their Lights will Shine at the Highland Arts Theatre in Sydney as Ottawa Valley fiddler, dancer and singer April Verch danced her way through some tunes with expert accompaniment from her cracker-jack bandmates Alex Rubin on guitar and Cody Waters on clawhammer banjo.

And then there’s the guitar duo of J.P. Cormier and Tim Edey, in a category all by themselves as they embark on a 45-minute musical journey through time and space, playfully mixing and matching trad tunes with jazz standards and the occasional folk song or movie theme thrown in for a laugh. The first six or so minutes of their musical odyssey are included here.

In between the tunes in this collection are some outstanding performances of some really well-known songs including “Red is the Rose” by The Chieftains with Alyth McCormack on vocals; “Caledonia” by the Barra MacNeils and their extended family; and Lennie Gallant’s classic “Peter’s Dream”, performed by The Outside Track during soundcheck for the On the Beautiful Coast concert in Belle Côté before the concert had to be cancelled due to a power outage. Julie Fowlis sings “Camariñas” in Gaelic and Galician to round out the thirteen tracks of Festival highlights on Celtic Colours Live – Volume Seven.

Enjoy these very special moments recorded at concerts all over Cape Breton Island during Celtic Colours 2019! Celtic Colours 2020 is scheduled for October 9-17! Full lineup and schedule will be released Friday, June 19 with tickets going on sale Tuesday, July 7!

Matt Molloy

Red is the Rose: »Celebrating 57 years together, the world’s most famous Irish band—The Chieftains—made their fourth appearance at Celtic Colours this year in the namesake opening concert, The Chieftains and Friends, at Sydney’s Centre 200 on October 11. Among the many standout performances during their set was this rendition of “Red is the Rose”. The traditional Irish ballad, sung to the tune of the famous Scottish song “Loch Lomond”, may be just as well-known as the Chieftains themselves, but rarely is it treated to such a lovely interpretation as this by Scottish singer Alyth McCormack.«

Artist Video The Chieftains @ FROG
Alyth McCormack @ FROG

J.P. Cormier & Tim Edey

A Mighty Medley: »When J.P. Cormier and Tim Edey took to the stage at the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre for Craic’n Cabaret on October 13, nobody could have expected what was about to happen— possibly not even J.P. and Tim themselves. Sitting side by side, kind of facing each other with their guitars, they started picking and strumming at a tune, sort of taking turns at who was leading and who was following as they shifted into another tune, and then another, and then another after that, playfully mixing and matching trad tunes with jazz standards and the occasional folk song or movie theme thrown in, for the next 45 minutes! This six-and-a-half minute excerpt captures some of the magic of this “mighty medley”.«

Artist Video JP Cormier @ FROG
Tim Edey @ FROG |

Julie Fowlis

Camariñas: »Scottish Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis enthralled the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre crowd with this beautiful, traditional Galician song, translated and adapted to Scottish Gaelic by Gillebrìde MacMillan. Recorded during the closing Causeway Ceilidh concert on October 19, Julie is wonderfully accompanied by Éamon Doorley (bouzouki), Duncan Chisholm (fiddle), Tony Byrne (guitar), and Breabach’s James Lindsay (double bass).«

Artist Video Julie Fowlis @ FROG


Knees Up: »This beautiful and energetic melding of instruments and Gaelic song brilliantly reflects the musicianship, traditional roots and contemporary influences of award-winning Scottish group Breabach. Featuring Calum MacCrimmon (bagpipes, whistle), Megan Henderson (fiddle, vocals), Ewan Robertson (guitar), James Duncan Mackenzie (bagpipes, flute), and James Lindsay (double bass), it was recorded during Causeway Ceilidh at Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre on October 19.«

Artist Video Breabach @ FROG

Photo Credits: (1) Cabot Trail, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, (by Seán Laffey); (2),(3) Celtic Colours International Festival, (4),(7) The Chieftains, (5),(9) Julie Fowlis, (6) JP Cormier & Tim Edey, (8) Breabach (by Celtic Colours).

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