The Craic in Cape Breton.

October 8 is the date to watch out for!!!

I received another Newsletter from Celtic Colors International Festival. It looks like we have a lot to look forward to in our way to Cape Breton. Ah the lads and lassies are gonna be making sweet music ’till the wee hours of the morning again.,..

Ok let me copy and paste everything here so that you will know in detail what’s up:

14th Celtic Colours International Festival begins October 8th!

Ticket sales brisk as music lovers grab chance to come home to Cape Breton.

We’re celebrating ‘home’ this year at Celtic Colours welcoming back Cape Breton artists like Rita MacNeil and Bruce Guthro, and longtime festival friends like Irish fiddler Liz Doherty and Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser.

Other names who will be familiar to Celtic Colours’ audiences include Scottish guitar whiz Tony McManus; Prince Edward Island singer-songwriter Lennie Gallant; Irish flute player and Gaelic singer Nuala Kennedy; Irish-American guitarist-singer-songwriter John Doyle; Donnell and Erin Leahy from the popular Canadian family band Leahy; Acadien group Vishten; and Cape Breton’s own rising stars, The Cottars.

Special concerts will also pay tribute to tradition bearers, celebrate the music of Brenda Stubbert, and see Festival favourites Beòlach reunited.

Visit our website to read all about the hundreds of returning artists and new friends we’re welcoming home in 2010!

Three creation projects showcase exciting new collaborations

We see our festival as much more than a venue to experience music that is already available. Culture is a living, breathing thing that matures and evolves over time. We believe it is our role to facilitate the composition of new music and bring together artists who can collaborate and create music together.

For many years now Celtic Colours has supported creation projects and in 2010 we have three projects underway. In each case the new music will be showcased in a concert toward the end of the festival. The process of composition is assisted more this year by technology, which allows the artists to work together via the internet leading up to the festival.

Our Artists in Residence are taking the lead on two of the projects: Tunes gu leòr, and Making Songs: A’ Dèanadh Òran while the third, Roots to the Future, features a crop of young, cutting-edge songwriters and tunemakers.

Catriona McKay and Chris Stout

Tunes gu leòr

The Gaelic “gu leòr”–meaning: many, much, plenty–is actually the root of the English word “galore” which means, well, basically the same thing. In Cape Breton, where the Gaelic still has relevance as a basis for some of the most traditional music of the island, it is only fitting to recognize this connection to the past.

Saturday, October 9th at the Wagmatcook Culture and Heritage Centre Tunes gu leòr Volume I will mark a beginning, a meeting of artists who are working together to create new tunes. Artists in Residence Chris Stout and Catriona McKay are working with Troy MacGillivray, Andrea Beaton, Colin Grant and Nuala Kennedy in the months leading up to the Festival to come up with some new tunes together. On Friday, October 15th at the Savoy Theatre in Glace Bay Tunes gu leòr Volume II will showcase what their collaborations have produced. This concert will also feature Chris and Catriona, backed by a string orchestra, playing some newly composed tunes from their latest album White Nights.

Chris and Catriona are so excited about the project they’ve produced a video inviting everyone to come celebrate the Tunes gu leòr collaboration.

Goiridh Dòmhnallach

Making Songs: A’ Dèanadh Òran

When songs and tunes are composed in Cape Breton we say they are “made”. That goes back to the earliest Gaelic settlers, many of whom didn’t read music and may not have been able to write down their creations. They passed them down orally and often “made” them as gifts for friends and loved ones. One of the consequences of the decline in Gaelic speakers is that very few new songs are being “made” in the language. This concert is the result of a project we have undertaken to encourage the creation of new Gaelic songs and poetry.

Artist in Residence Lewis MacKinnon is both a poet and a songwriter. He is guiding this project along with Cape Breton songwriter Goiridh Dòmhnallach and Gaelic singer Mary Jane Lamond. Across the ocean in the highlands of Scotland, the band Meantime is actively writing and recording new songs. Working together via very modern technology, the two groups have been collaborating on new songs to share with us. They have also been working with new Gaelic speakers from the North Shore who want to preserve the songs from their area. Supporting the singers will be instrumentalists Chris Stout and Catriona McKay and Rachel Davis. Special guests T with the Maggies will show us how Irish Gaelic songs are thriving in their capable hands. This one is history in the making.

Read more about Making Songs here.

Carmel Mikol

Roots to the Future

This concert is the result of a special collaborative project that looks at how Cape Breton’s young cutting-edge songwriters use our traditions in their contemporary work. The project pairs up songwriters with composers and has them write new songs based on traditional tunes and vice versa. Each of these young artists is a performer and composer in his/her own right. They cover a wide variety of musical styles from traditional fiddle music to very contemporary rock and pop.

Songwriters Steven MacDougall, Carmel Mikol, Carleton Stone and Fiona MacGillivray have paired with tunesmiths Colin Grant, Ryan J. MacNeil, Rosie MacKenzie and Rachel Davis and have been working together all summer and we can’t wait for the results.

Read more about Roots to the Future here

See the future of our traditions at The Archie Neil Stage

Archie Neil Chisholm was a man who recognized the importance of the next generation’s role in keeping traditions alive. To many young musicians he played an important role in the development of their performing abilities, making sure that young players were included in the lineup of local concerts and square dances.

The Archie Neil Stage features up-and-coming fiddlers, guitarists, pipers, singers, and stepdancers, will take place in the Greenwood United Church in Baddeck on Monday, October 11, Tuesday October 12, and Wednesday, October 13 at 3:00 pm. Following the show there will be a traditional Session.

To participate contact Yvette for an application: or (902) 562-6700.  Deadline for applications is September 15.

Festival goers save with the Celtic Colours Friendly Businesses program.

Friendly Businesses across the island provide visitors with information on Festival concerts, community events and more. They also offer a 15% discount in their shops and restaurants to those who present a Celtic Colours ticket stub when making a purchase. Friendly Businesses are identified by a large banner or sign and a “Friendly” sticker in entrance windows. This list of participating businesses can be found in the 2010 Festival Program, Map Guide and on our website

Purchase tickets by phone, online or at our box office!

Purchase online 24/7 at:

By Phone: 1-888-355-7744 (toll free in North America)

At the Box Office: Joan Harriss Cruise Pavilion, 74 Esplanade, Sydney (head for the Big Fiddle). Our Box Office and phone lines are open Monday-Saturday 9am-5pm ADT.

If phoning to reserve tickets we ask that you have your wish list and a valid credit card handy. We accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express for all phone and internet orders.


5 thoughts on “The Craic in Cape Breton.

  1. All these great festivals and I’m so far away!!! Ah, Donnell and Erin Leahy are great, but so is Donnell’s wife (Natalie MacMaster)! Saw them all at the Michigan Irish Music Festival last September. With Alasdair Fraser and all the rest it will be one rip roarin’ festival that is for sure!


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