Celtic Colours at Home

SYDNEY: Faced with current restrictions on travel and large gatherings, Celtic Colours International Festival will be doing things differently this year.

Instead of hosting concerts all over Cape Breton Island this October, Celtic Colours International Festival at Home will present a nightly series of concerts streamed live from the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre, from October 9-17. Produced in partnership with NovaStream and Soundpark Studios, these concerts will feature a mix of live and pre-recorded performances by artists from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, PEI, Quebec, Ontario, Scotland, Ireland, and the Isle of Man. Each night’s concert will start at 7:30 p.m. ADT, following a 30-minute pre-show highlighting the festival’s community partners and Cape Breton Island’s breathtaking scenery. The concerts will be available to view until the end of October, and t o tune in to the concerts, go to the Celtic Colours Web site: celtic-colours.com. The concerts will also be streamed on YouTube.

Celtic Colours has always featured a strong lineup of Cape Breton artists, and that won’t change this year. Expect to see some favourites on stage during Celtic Colours At Home, including Ashley MacIsaac; The Barra MacNeils; Beòlach; Gordie Sampson; J.P. Cormier; Mary Jane Lamond; Howie MacDonald; Brenda Stubbert; Hilda Chiasson; Joe MacMaster; Dwayne Côté; Glenn Graham and Rodney MacDonald; Andrea Beaton; Shelly Campbell; and dancers Harvey Beaton, Melanie MacDonald, Gerard Beaton, Amanda MacDonald, Jenny MacKenzie, and Sabra MacGillivray.

Thanks to the Atlantic Bubble, some artists will be able to travel to Cape Breton for Celtic Colours this year. Troy MacGillivray,Vishtèn, Dave Gunning, Old Man Luedecke, and Scottish Gaelic singer Cathy Ann MacPhee—who now resides in Nova Scotia—will all be making the trip from their homes in the Maritimes to perform live and in-person.

But the festival’s lineup isn’t limited to just local performers. Pre-recorded performances will come from James Keelaghan (Ontario), Nuala Kennedy (Ireland), Mec Lir (Isle of Man), Corrina Hewat and David Milligan (Scotland), É.T.É. (Quebec), and Kaia Kater (Ontario).

And in keeping with the festival’s tradition of shining the spotlight on new, and up-and-coming talent, Celtic Colours will feature first-time performers Morgan Toney—a Mi’kmaq fiddler originally from We’koma’q First Nation; The Fare Thee Well—a new group featuring Rosie MacKenzie and Shannon Quinn; Shawnee Paul—a young Mi’kmaq musician from Eskasoni; and singer-songwriter Steve MacIntyre from Inverness County.

Since 2001, Celtic Colours has incorporated a pair of Artists in Residence who contribute to specific elements of the festival’s programming. This year’s Artists in Residence are well-known to Celtic Colours audiences. Troy MacGillivray, from Antigonish County, and Irish flautist and singer Nuala Kennedy each have a long history with the festival. Troy will be joined by siblings Kendra and Sabra MacGillivray, while Nuala’s performances will include Tara Breen (fiddle), Tony Byrne (guitar), and dancer Siobhán Butler. Troy and Nuala have been busy over the last few months via Zoom chats and Facetime calls to plan some one-of-a-kind, trans-Atlantic collaborations.

Celtic Colours at Home is presented by TD Bank Group, with the support of ACOA, Canadian Heritage, the Province of Nova Scotia, and its many other partners. For information on this year’s festival, artists and the schedule, visit: celtic-colours.com.