Celtic Colours Artist Profile; Haley MacPhee

Haley MacPhee is a 20 year old singer from St. Peters, Cape Breton who grew up surrounded by music and jam sessions. Along with her father, Cyril MacPhee, she has performed for the past 12 summers at the beautiful Keltic Lodge in Ingonish, Cape Breton. In the last couple of years, Haley was part of Rising Stars for Rock the Dock, recorded for CBC Radio, and played at Celtic Colours. Recently she spoke with Celtic Life International.

On Music
I was raised in a Scottish/Acadian home, where music came from both sides. That was probably my biggest inspiration to start playing. My dad would practice by my crib/bedside as I was growing up so it seemed natural to just start trying different instruments until I finally found one that stuck). We struggled through piano and fiddle and even the bodhran until he finally tried singing and guitar with me. Of course I’ve felt the need to keep it up over the years- there is really no feeling similar to being on stage hearing that beautiful vocal blend with a family member. It also keeps me close with my dad and it has given us lots of opportunity for one on one time and traveling together. As you do all these things you grow and change and learn to adapt to other people’s playing styles. You also get the opportunity to hear so many different musical flavors and experience so many cultures. I mean that’s really what ties so many people together isn’t it? We all find a way to express our backgrounds and our life experiences and for some people they can do it through song.

On Celtic Colours
A major career highlight was definitely the Celtic Colours show in 2011. They have all been highlights but we played with the Alan Kelly Gang and two wonderful folks from Ireland – Orla and Micheal. There was just a constant energy through the night and the music was amazing. From start to finish we just played for the sake of playing. I’m sure it would have continued all night- audience or not. That was really getting to the root of music.

On Celtic Culture
We’ve come a long way and Celtic culture today has made so much progress. We owe quite a bit of that to festivals like Celtic Colours where musicians are really allowed to just let loose and enjoy and the audience just happen to be there to experience the magic too. They truly get the real deal.

On the Future
My future with music is a little all over the map. I strum the guitar and play at parties for friends and my father and I sing together every chance we get. This year we’re looking at writing and finally recording together for the first time in 8 years. The process will be slow and definitely inspirational from what we’ve experienced together over the past 12 years doing music as a part-time duo.