MABOU: Broadcast from the Mabou campus of the Gaelic College, on Jan. 3 CBFM was livestreamed on the Internet, and is now available in a variety of mediums.
General Manager and Director Ryan MacDonald, who was on 101.5 FM The Hawk for years, said he worked since June of 2021 to get the station going.
The new radio station features only Cape Breton musicians, MacDonald confirmed, noting there will be Gaelic music, and instrumental tunes on the air, he noted. Not just Celtic music, MacDonald said there will be Aboriginal and Francophone artists in the mix as well.
In addition to more local music, MacDonald said they will be filling another void by attending and promoting local events. He said they will also post news stories on their web site.
On Saturday nights, MacDonald said CBFM will broadcast the “Cape Breton Kitchen Party.”
Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., MacDonald will be hosting a weekday show, then Rob MacNamara will take over for a weekday afternoon show. On the weekends, Nate Power will be on the air from 8 a.m. to noon, then Krista Luddington, also a musician, will take over until 4 p.m. on weekend afternoons.
Located at Beinn Mha’bu, the old convent in Mabou, MacDonald said it’s exciting to be part of the new satellite campus.
ANTIGONISH: The artist of a mural on Antigonish’s Main Street says she was beyond grateful to have been given the opportunity by the Town of Antigonish to showcase one of her pieces.
Entitled “Guide Me Home” and featuring the Cape George Lighthouse, Kashia Melanson indicated she took her inspiration from one of her favourite places in the world.
Melanson, who is originally from Livingstone Cove but grew up in West Arm Tracadie and currently lives in Antigonish, works full-time as a residential counsellor at the Heatherton Group Home, and describes herself as an artist.
Andrew Murray, who is the chair of the Community Enhancement Committee and a councillor in the Town of Antigonish, advised the mural was installed as part of the town’s photo mural program.
Because the town is opting to undertake a photo mural program, he suggested it opens the scope out to a lot more artists.
Melanson’s mural depicts an orange and red sun, overlooking crashing waves with the Cape George Lighthouse being the focal point on the shoreline.
PORT HAWKESBURY: Michael Joseph Franklin “Frank” Wright of Port Hawkesbury died at Strait Richmond Hospital in Evanston on Feb. 9.
He was born on Feb. 18, 1924 and raised in Point Tupper. A veteran of the Second World War, Wright joined the Canadian Army in 1944 and served overseas in the United Kingdom and continental Europe, before being discharged to civilian life in 1946.
Wright returned to Camp Borden, Ontario for a brief period in the 1950s, achieving the rank of Second Lieutenant.
For many years Wright was an active member of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 43 in Port Hawkesbury, and during this time, he was employed by Canadian National Railways for 36 years.
Following his retirement, Wright pursued a career in fine art, specializing in the portraiture of 19th and early 20th century British and North American ships, becoming pre-eminent in his field.
Wright became influential for his explorations into the sparsely documented history of Canada’s shipbuilding industry, as is described in the January, 1992 edition of Memorial University’s The Northern Mariner.
Many of Wright’s paintings were made into limited edition prints, and over time there were an increasing number of sold out prints, according to the Down to Earth Art Gallery web site.
Wright’s work was shown extensively throughout Canada, and exhibited internationally at: the Annual Mystic Invitational, Mystic, Connecticut; the Jacob Javitz Centre, New York, New York; the Royal Society of Marine Artists London, England; and the Royal Institute of Oil Painters, London, England.
A member of the International Society of Marine Painters in Florida, Wright is the only Canadian included in the influential marine volume, 20th Century British Marine Painting by Denys Brook-Hart. A book featuring the mastery of Wright’s work and titled The Marine Art of J. Franklin Wright, features many of the historic vessels that earned him international acclaim.
In his later years, Wright focused on painting the natural beauty of Cape Breton.
As a result of his artistic endeavours, the J. Franklin Wright Art Gallery became a reality not long after the Civic Centre opened in 2004.
PORT HAWKESBURY: An exhibit at the Cape Breton University Art Gallery celebrated the works of Isle Madame folk artists.
The gallery exhibited more than 40 folk art pieces rendered by Henry and Gevee Boudreau in a new exhibit called “A Table for Two.”
Born on Feb. 25, 1951 in West Arichat, Henry (who died in 2016) and his wife Gevee, who was born on the outskirts of Glace Bay on March 29, 1949, together created approximately 500 pine carved plaques and 500 intricate scenes between 1994 and 2013.
According to art enthusiast and writer Michelle Boyer of Toronto, the two met in 1992, and Henry followed in his father’s footsteps, finishing his first piece in October 1994 of a cabin cruiser with two figures that represented the new couple, but lighthouses soon became his speciality. He then carved a woman knitting in a rocking chair, a woman baking bread, and a woman washing clothes on a scrub board, Boyer noted.
After creating approximately 500 pine plaque carvings over two years, they moved on from that format because Gevee said the painting proved time consuming.
Boyer said each piece was labour-intensive with Henry taking a solid two-inch pine slab, and drawing draw his vision on that square block. Then he would imagine what it should look like and start chipping away, Boyer wrote. She said small pieces often took up to 20 hours to carve while larger ones could take 40 or more hours.
For almost 20 years, CBU said the husband and wife worked side by side to bring each piece to life.
Boyer said the Boudreaus starting creating intricate scenes with little people that depicted Cape Breton life, and their experiences.
Each year, Boyer said Henry and Gevee sold their work at the local flea market in Janvrins Island where they would set up a table for the weekend. Sometimes, they would carve and paint all year and sell only one plaque, other times there were no sales, then there were times Boyer said Henry sold pieces to antique dealers for “pennies on the dollar with large promises of future sales that never materialized.” She said Henry always knew they were worth more and always hoped each year would be different.
Boyer said it was in 2003 that their work came to the attention of antique enthusiast and folk art collector Lionel Boudreau of Petit de Grat.
After their original promoter was unsuccessful selling their art, Lionel approached Henry and Gevee to buy their pieces. While becoming their biggest customer, Lionel took pictures and documented each piece.
After accumulating much of the Boudreau’s art, and hearing accolades from people like art collector Binney Parsons, by 2006 Lionel started attending festivals and shows on their behalf, and later started posted photos online. Before long, Boyer said the couple developed a small but enthusiastic fan club of locals and tourists at events like the Lunenburg International Folk Festival.
It was at this time that Lionel met Boyer, who wrote a description of the exhibit for the CBU art gallery.
According to Boyer, when looking closely at the little characters working, playing games, attending a sporting event or just going about their daily lives, the viewer can’t help but experience a fleeting moment, forever frozen in time. To engage with the faces of each small figure is to hear the laughter over a game of cards, smell the cold salt air, or sense the hopefulness in catching enough lobster or fish for the day, she wrote.
HALIFAX: The East Coast Music Association (ECMA) announced the 2022 East Coast Music Award nominees, and The Town Heroes was among those leading the pack with five nominations.
The Town Heroes were nominated in the Group Recording of the Year category for Home.
In the category of Rock Recording of the Year, The Town Heroes were nominated for Home, along with Andre Pettipas and The Giants, with No Fools No Fun.
The Town Heroes’ “Queen” was nominated for Song of the Year, and the band was nominated in the Songwriter of the Year group.
And for the Fans’ Choice Entertainer of the Year award, The Town Heroes are up against Jimmy Rankin and T. Thomason.
Morgan Toney was nominated in the Indigenous Artist of the Year category, along with Shift From Tha 902, as well as Inspirational Recording of the Year for First Flight. Toney was also nominated in the Rising Star Recording of the Year category.
Among the nominees in the Contemporary Roots Recording of the Year category was Richmond County native Leona Burkey for Sitting Tight.
Inverness County’s Jon Hines was nominated for Blues Recording of the Year for Down To Funk (DTF).
Among the industry nominees were T. Thomason and Katie Clarke as Artist Innovator of the Year.
Blueberry Jam of Inverness County was nominated in the category of Event of the Year, along with Nova Scotia Summer Fest in Antigonish.
Inverness County’s Sara Rankin was nominated as Visual Artist of the Year.
LOUISDALE: Singer/songwriter Isabella Samson of Louisdale was named the 2022 Young Performer of the Year at the Canadian Folk Music Awards in Charlottetown, PEI on April 1.
Samson’s fellow Barn Bhreagh band member fiddler Morgan Toney, originally from We’koqma’q First Nation.
Samson released her debut album If It’s Not Forever in May 2021 after spending the previous year writing and recording. Samson, who was also nominated for a 2021 Music Nova Scotia Award, released the album on all streaming platforms last year.
Before the album was released, the single, “If It’s Not Forever” made it to number 3 out of 100 songs in the CIOE FM (in Lower Sackville) Top 100 list, spending 15 weeks in the Top 30. Samson said they made a lyric video for the single which they posted to YouTube.
Samson said her second single “Let It All Go Loud,” made it to the Top 30 on CIOE’s ranking.
MALAGAWATCH: After winning two East Coast Music Association (ECMA) awards, a local Mi’kmaq fiddler said it is about time Indigenous performers are noticed.
The ECMA recently announced that Morgan Toney was named Indigenous Artist of the Year, and took the award in the Inspirational Recording of the Year category for his debut album First Flight.
Unsure what kind of artist he was going to be when planning his first record with producer Keith Mullins, Toney said he’s proud of the direction he took.
Pointing to shifts in society, Toney said the time is right for Indigenous artists.
Toney returned from the Folk Alliance International Festival in Kansas City, Missouri and was happy to see so many genres and artists from all over the world.
During a panel at the international festival, Toney discussed a song he co-wrote with Mullins called “The Colour Red,” about missing and murdered Indigenous women.
Toney said he was planning a second album with Mullins.
ARICHAT: Council decided to approve an exemption under the municipal noise bylaw for a music festival.
During the regular monthly meeting on May 24 in Arichat, Warden Amanda Mombourquette told council about the Zenergy Electronic Dance Music Festival that took place at Inspiration Point Lodge in West Bay from June 17 to 19.
Mombourquette said the company in charge of the event is Epic Trip Productions, and after owner Jeremy Mclaughlin contacted the Eastern District Planning Commission, he was informed of the need for an exemption, given the size of the event, the warden said.
Because a point of contact for the event is needed, Mclaughlin told the warden he will advertise his contact information.
With a cap on ticket sales at 500, the warden said they are expecting 320 people, including staff and artists.
Specifically regarding the noise bylaw, Mombourquette said Section 4 states that no person shall engage in any activity between 12 and 7 a.m. which “intends to disturb the peace and the tranquility of a neighbourhood.”
The warden said Section 8 allows for an exemption to the bylaw to be considered by council.
Mombourquette said they received a letter from someone opposing the event but Deputy Warden Melanie Sampson said noise concerns were not raised in the correspondence.
Before voting on the motion, the District 5 Councillor asked to hear from MacEachern, who told council he has been managing music festivals for the past 22 years, and this year safety is their main priority. If they do get complaints, MacEachern said they will work with the RCMP and volunteer fire departments.
Council agreed to a suggestion from District 2 Councillor Michael Diggdon to extend the exemption to 3 a.m. on June 18 and 19.
PORT HAWKESBURY: Officials with the town said they were happy with the response to the return of the Granville Green Concert Series.
Michelle Farrow, Director of Recreation, Marketing, Tourism, and Culture for the Town of Port Hawkesbury told The Reporter public reaction to the lineup and schedule was excellent.
According to a press release issued by the town on June 2, the Granville Green Concert Series, presented by Bear Head Energy and EverWind Fuels, featured six free outdoor concerts on Sundays from July 3 to Aug. 7 on Granville Street in Port Hawkesbury.
This year, the outdoor concert series was renamed “Granville Green Resurgence,” after a two-year hiatus, Farrow said, noting that they wanted to focus on community, sharing stories, creating lasting partnerships and friendships, and fostering volunteerism.
HALIFAX: The television show The New Fly Fisher was in Cape Breton last summer to film an episode on summer salmon fishing in the Margaree River.
According to a press release issued by the province, The New Fly Fisher is broadcast to millions of households across Canada and the United States on PBS, Sportsman Channel Canada, and the World Fishing Network, as well as broadcasters in Poland, Switzerland, France and Russia. Episodes are also posted online to The New Fly Fisher’s YouTube channel, where they are available on demand to audiences all over the world, they said.
The show visited the Margaree River in 2014 during the fall salmon run, the province said, noting that the episode aired in October 2015. They said the new episode will focus on dry fly fishing, in which the lure floats on the surface of the water, for Atlantic salmon.
According to the province, sportfishing on the Margaree River generates about $1 million per year in economic impact for surrounding communities, and contributes more than $70 million per year to Nova Scotia’s provincial economy.
In 2021, Nova Scotia sold 79,000 sportfishing licences, among the highest participation in decades, the province noted.
MULGRAVE: Mike Kelloway, Cape Breton-Canso MP announced over $2.6 million on July 22, in federal funding for the construction of the new RoadHouse Creative Centre, a facility for local and regional artists in Northeastern Nova Scotia.
Based in Guysborough, Mulgrave Road Theatre is a well-recognized cultural organization that engages its community, supports artistic and cultural collaborations, and creates new theatre woks reflective of life in Atlantic Canada, the federal government noted.
Once completed, the new RoadHouse facility will house a 2,500 square foot transformable creation and performance space with automatic retractable seating for 100 audience members.
An additional 5,500 square feet of space will be dedicated to housing a multi-purpose lobby and meeting space, dressing rooms, storage space, restrooms, workshop facilities, as well as a light and sound booth and interior and exterior community gathering spaces.
In March, Guysborough-Tracadie MLA Greg Morrow announced on behlaf of the Province of Nova Scotia a committment of $400,000 towards a new facility.
Adapted from the former Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation (NSLC) building, the RoadHouse Creativity Centre will be a cultural and creative hub for Northeastern Nova Scotians to come together to practice, explore and enjoy the performing and visual arts.
For more than 45 years, Mulgrave Road Theatre has been thrilling audiences, bringing new Canadian works to like and offering programs to inspire the next generation of writers and performers.
Emmy Alcorn, Mulgrave Road Theatre’s executive director advised the organization is grateful for the contribution that allows them to not only be cultural leaders but also environmental leaders, and moves them beyond a dream, making their vision a reality.
HALIFAX: The story of a young man from Glendale missing for almost 30 years is in a documentary that was released late in the summer.
Missing Kenley centers on the life and disappearance of Kenley Matheson, a 20-year-old first-year student at Acadia University in Wolfville, who seemingly vanished on Sept. 21, 1992.
Filmmaker Ron Lamothe notes his “long history” with the unsolved mystery, “dating back more than 10 years.”
His decision to pursue the possibility of making a documentary was two-fold: Matheson’s story offered “a lot of elements” found in a “good detective story,” including persons of interest, red herrings and a variety of theories, including that he was “still alive and wanted to disappear.”
Lamothe added that Matheson, who he described as a “quintessential Gen-Xer,” appealed to him, including his “motorcycle gap years” travelling across Canada, not to mention Mexico and Central America, before he decided to attend university.
He added that the project took more than a decade to complete for “a lot of reasons.” The pre-production phase included trips to Wolfville and Cape Breton, where he made a variety of contacts, including with the family, particularly Matheson’s mother (Sarah MacDonald) and sister (Kayrene Willis).
Although he has planned to produce a single feature-length documentary, Missing Kenley had mushroomed into a five-episode series of one-hour pieces – each with two parts: Episode 1: The Disappearance (part 1) and The Investigation (part 2); Episode 2: The Serial Killer (part 3) and The Seeker (part 4); Episode 3: The Superb Meteor (part 5) and The Backpack (part 6); Episode 4: The Secret (part 7) and The Search (part 8); Episode 5: The Obfuscator (part 9) and The Missing Link (part 10).
HALIFAX: Rita Joe, a Mi’kmaw poet from We’koqma’q First Nation, will be recognized on Heritage Day 2023.
Joe, who was born in 1932 and died in 2007, had her first collection of poetry published in 1978 and she went on to publish six more works and earn many honours, the province said in a press release issued on Oct. 28.
According to the province, Joe’s mother died when she was five and her father when she was 10, leading her to be placed in foster care, and she grew up in several different homes. At the age of 12, like many Indigenous children across Canada, she was sent to Indian Residential School, they noted.
These childhood experiences dramatically impacted her life as the residential school system was established to “kill the Indian in the child.” Children were punished for speaking their language, practicing their culture and denied access to the families. Physical, sexual and mental abuse was rampant at these schools and inflicted decades of trauma on students, their families and communities.
Joe’s four years at the Shubenacadie Indian Residential School left her feeling that she was “no good,” the province said.
When Joe was given an opportunity to leave the residential school at 16, after having finished Grade 8, she took it, the province said, noting she went to Halifax to take a job, then to Montreal and Boston. It was in Boston that she met Frank Joe, whom she wed, and they eventually moved to Eskasoni, they said.
Their life together was not easy and they raised 10 children, according to the province.
As an adult, raising a family in Eskasoni, the province said Joe began to write, especially poetry, striving to always tell the truth, for writing helped her move on from painful memories. After she started writing, Joe earned numerous accolades and the unofficial title of the Poet Laureate of the Mi’kmaw, the province said.
Her works continue to impact and inspire people across the country, the province said.
HALIFAX: A film that was shot in Antigonish and a local organization were the recipients of Creative Nova Scotia Awards.
According to a press release, the annual awards were handed out on Nov. 10. The Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Masterworks Arts Award recognizes excellence in all creative media and highlights works that have a strong connection to Nova Scotia.
The $25,000 award went to director Shelley Thompson and producer Terry Greenlaw for their film Dawn, Her Dad and the Tractor. It is Thompson’s first feature film, shot partially in Antigonish in 2020.
The Inverness County Centre for the Arts received the $10,000 Creative Community Impact Award for the positive impact it has made on the community through arts and culture, the province said.
According to the province, the Inverness County Centre for the Arts is a regional hub for the arts on the west coast of Cape Breton. Situated in Inverness, the 8,640 square foot centre houses a gallery, a gift shop, a performance space, and a studio, along with an outdoor performance venue, they said. Exhibitions, concerts, workshops, and other arts-related events at the centre celebrate the creative spirit of the artists of Inverness County, as well as those from across Canada and beyond, they noted.
STRAIT AREA: A variety of Strait area artists continue to leave their mark on the industry, including during the silver anniversary 2022 Nova Scotia Music Week (NSMW) festivities in Sydney.
The Town Heroes, Isabella Samson, and Rankin MacInnis were amongst those honored during the annual award ceremony that capped off the four-day celebration on Nov. 6.
The Town Heroes, which collected a pair of NSMW trophies, winning Rock Recording of the Year for Home, and Entertainer of the Year.
Samson, a native of Louisdale, collected the 2022 NSMW award for Folks-Roots Recording of the Year for If it’s not Forever.
MacInnis accepted the Live Sector Award for Blueberry Jam, a concert series that he hosts with Big Belle Farm in his home community of Mabou.
PORT HAWKESBURY: An annual gathering of book lovers returned to the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre for the first time since 2019.
FEIS, the only fundraising event hosted by the Port Hawkesbury Literacy Council (PHLC) had been postponed in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-related public health restrictions.
While the organization receives provincial and municipal funding, FEIS, which refers to a traditional Gaelic cultural festival, is another important financial source, says PHLC coordinator Crystal Samson.
In addition to the funds raised to support adult literacy, the event provides an enjoyable gathering and an opportunity to highlight Nova Scotia authors. Samson notes many of the tables at each year’s event are filled with members of local book clubs.
Celebrated author, and book club-favourite, Lesley Crewe marked her third appearance at FEIS, reading from her 14th novel, Nosy Parker.
Mary Janet MacDonald, well-known in the musical community as a step dancer and instructor, took to the stage at FEIS for the first time with a second book in tow, Tunes and Wooden Spoons: Love Without Measure in which she features 12 Cape Breton women who tell their stories and share the recipes. In choosing the women for her book, MacDonald said she wanted women in their 80s and 90s with rich experiences to share.
ANTIGONISH: A new mural was added to the downtown core of Antigonish and the artist behind it says while it’s scary to see her work on public display, she couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity.
Antigonish Culture Alive, in partnership with the Town of Antigonish, were pleased to unveil the newest piece of public art on the streets of Antigonish, as “Wide Skies Upon the Waves” by local artist Grace Lane-Smith can be seen on the side of Town Hall off College Street.
This large composition is a digital reproduction of an oil painting enhanced by mixed media and embroidery, Lane-Smith explained.
For the past six years, Lane-Smith has called Antigonish home and has been completely mesmerized by the vastness of the ocean, where the tide and beach meet.
Originally from Toronto, she is an oil painter, who has been featured in provincial publications and group shows online and in person. Lane-Smith works from her home studio shopping originals and commissions across North America.
The piece, “Wide Skies Upon the Waves” covers, she said, rural place making and celebration of diverse regional history; vision of the future of Antigonish; traditional craft and contemporary art; regional geography and ecology; and formal material exploration.