After many years of hearing about the Celtic Colours Festival in Cape Breton, NS I finally got to go experience it. It was worth the wait, what a great time it was. The only downside was I only had time to be there for 1 night of the 9 day festival. The downside for my readers is I didn’t realize how restrictive the festival was about taking photos and video and so I don’t have a lot of images to share.
The concert I went to (along with my Boyfriend who didn’t know exactly what he signed up for) was Gaelic in the Glen: Gàidhlig anns a’ Ghleann, and boy did we hear some Gaelic (and tried to speak/sing some as well). I am impressed that the language is being kept alive and celebrated as it is in Cape Breton. Luckily they translated into English what was being said in Gaelic. The concert was a fun night, and the evidence was in the floor that shook with the infectious foot stomping (it’s impossible to keep still when fiddles are playing).
Those in Glendale that night were treated to an opening by Michael Hall with his furious fiddle playing. Next were songs, with some serious stories behind them, from the duo Michael Ó Súilleabháin& Órla Ní Cheallaigh who travelled from Ireland to take part in the festival. Then our MC of the night Goiridh Dòmhnallach (Jeff MacDonald) took over the stage (after a quick run home for his forgotten guitar pick) sang some songs, as well as teaching us one in Gaelic and having us join in the singing too. All the artists suppored each other, joining up, and adding a bit of dance here and there, along with support on the piano from Allan Dewar.
The final act were the Mackenzie brothers, 3 brothers (joined by Darren McMullen on the guitar) playing bagpipes, fiddles, and the piano. You really have to be in the room when this kind of music is being played live to truly appreciate it, it lifts you up, makes you want to stomp your feet, clap your hands and dance. When the brothers (Angus and Kenneth) had the 2 bagpipes going at the same time, the sound was something else, and it was great fun watching Calum on the piano enjoying ever second he was playing, but not enjoying the talking part so much!
Each night of the festival, at the Gaelic Collage in St Anne, there is Festival Club. It starts after all the shows around the island are finished at 11pm and goes until 3am. There is shuttle buses from Baddeck to the Collage for those staying in that area (which I was). After the Gaelic in the Glen we made the 45 minute drive from Glendale to Baddeck, checked into the hotel then hoped on the shuttle.
At Festival Club you don’t know who you will see, but one thing is gauarenteed, you will see lots of talented performers from the festivals line up. Each plays for about 20 minutes, so you get a great mix. Two performers that stood out to me were the brief apperances of Nic Gareiss dancing and the April Verch. April can sing, dance, play fiddle, and leap tall buildings! One seriously talented girl.
If you ever get the chance make sure you get to Cape Breton in October for Celtic Colours Festival! It’s well worth the trip.
Here’s a breif look at what I saw at festival club (Bruce Molsky & Nic Gareiss) enjoy!