Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Cape Breton Experience - Celtic Colours International Music Festival - Days 1 and 2

Weddings, other peoples weddings, can seem obligatory, or even chore like at times. Weddings abroad however can be turned into great travel opportunities. That was the case last year when we travelled to Hubbard’s Beach, Nova Scotia, Canada. Not the ‘obligatory’ part but rather the ‘great opportunity’ part.


Catriona McKay - © 2010 François Cléroux

We used the wedding location as a base to visit all of Nova Scotia including the southern townships of Lunenburg, Peggy’s Cove, Digby, Annapolis Royal and the Evangeline Trail. From there we headed over to circumnavigate Prince Edward Island and then back over to visit the northern end of Nova Scotia, or more appropriately, Cape Breton Island.

With only two nights to visit Baddeck, catch two caleidhs, do the Cabbot Trail and see a moose, we had little time for much else. We loved the music and the caleidhs, the Cabbot Trail was spectacular, the French District and its people on the West of the island was terrific as was the great sunset. The food was exceptional, can’t go wrong with Mussels and Lobster, but we never did see a moose. All in all the visit to Cape Breton was way too short and upon our departure we decided that what we loved the best, was its people. Nova Scotians are amongst the nicest people we’ve ever met. Cape Bretoners are even nicer!


Colin Grant - © 2010 François Cléroux

After such a wonderful 3 days in Cape Breton we decided we needed to return. After some quick investigation and seeing they had a music festival during the changing of the colours of the trees in the fall, it was a quick and easy decision to return to Cape Breton to attend the Celtic Colours International Music Festival. With Cape Breton in our hearts, plans and preparations were put into place.

A year and three weeks later we found ourselves in Baddeck once again. After a long flight in followed by a long drive in a new Lincoln MKV rental car we needed a rest. We were out for dinner and learned of a local musician playing at a local hangout and off we went, so much for rest. From here on we ended up seeing music every night we were in Cape Breton.


All the Artists - © 2010 François Cléroux

Our first evening of music was ‘Tracy’ at the Inverary in Baddeck. He is a local artist and was playing for a local crowd where he was known by everyone. Later into the evening we were joined by a new Groom and his best men. They had just snuck out of the wedding reception to go to the pub to do some shooters. Even Tracy commented n how lucky he was “Barely married and already allowed to go to the pub”.

We had four sets of tickets to different Celtic Colour’s events. Our first show was Tunes gu leòr with Troy MacGillivray, an excellent fiddler who then welcomed his sister on stage to do some Celtic Step Dancing. Then the Nuala Kennedy Trio entertained us followed by renowned and always exceptional Andrea Beaton who gave a stellar performance. Two internationally acclaimed and award winning musicians, Shetland Fiddler Chris Stout and the mesmerizing Harpist Catriona McKay made an appearance that was received by a well deserved standing ovation. Their new and very playable and enjoyable CD “White Nights” was released this June. A must have for any Celtic music collection! Our host Colin Grant then brought out his band, the  Colin Grant Band to entertain us. This young, energetic, vibrant band plays a fusion of Celtic, Rock, Funk and Jazz that is soulful and was in keeping with traditional Cape Breton Music. Everyone, young and old were well entertained. Rounding out the evening all the musicians were brought on stage to play a few Reels and Jigs. What a great way to end the evening.

Coming up, days three through six . . .

© 2010 François Cléroux
(Version 1.01 - October 2010)
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- Francois Cleroux