Celtic Colours International Festival explores island theme with 2012 lineup

It’s no secret that Cape Bretoners are proud of their Island heritage. “We are an island, a rock in the stream. We are a people as proud as there’s been…” state the lyrics to Cape Breton’s unofficial anthem, “The Island”.

It’s often argued that those who come from islands are somehow just a little different – a point that Newfoundlanders, Shetlanders, the Irish, the Scottish, and many more around the world would be quick to agree with. There’s something about an island that keeps a culture unique.

Exploring that idea this year, Celtic Colours International Festival will welcome artists from islands all over the Celtic world. The 16th edition of the nine-day, island-wide celebration gets underway October 5th at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre and wraps up on the 13th at Sydney’s Centre 200.

“We’re very excited to be bringing you The Chieftains who are on their 50thanniversary tour, our own Natalie MacMaster, Fiddlers’ Bid from Shetland, andthe Battlefield Band from Scotland, along with our Artists in Residence – Irish guitarist, singer and songwriter John Doyle and Cape Breton singer-songwriter Cyril MacPhee,” said Artistic Director Joella Foulds.

Returning to the Festival this year are the Asham Stompers, The Once, Vishtèn, Madison Violet, April Verch Band, Alan Kelly Gang, The Outside Track, and Daniel Lapp. As always, there will be a host of local favourites, including RitaMacNeil, J.P. Cormier, a Brakin’ Tradition reunion, Mary Jane Lamond & Wendy MacIsaac, Troy MacGillivray, Kimberley Fraser, Howie MacDonald, Brenda Stubbert, Andrea Beaton, Sprag Session (formerly the Colin Grant Band), the Men of the Deeps, and many more.

Performing at Celtic Colours for the first time are Oirialla, a band from Ireland featuring festival favourite Nuala Kennedy, Fionia String Band from Denmark, the Dardanelles from Newfoundland, Makem & Spain featuring Tommy Makem’s sons, and the Chaisson Family from Prince Edward Island.

Creative projects this year include the next editions of the Fiddletree and Roots to the Future projects, as well as a concert dedicated to Cape Breton songs of work and protest. There will also be a full complement of Community Cultural Experiences including dances, meals, sessions, workshops, lectures, exhibits, outdoor activities and more.

Celtic Colours International Festival is a Canadian Tourism Commission Signature Event, and winner of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada’s 2011 Cultural Tourism Award.

This year’s gathering takes place October 5-13 in more than 50 communities all over Cape Breton Island. Tickets go on sale July 9. For more information, including photos, artist biographies, and a video all about this year’s festival, visit www.celtic-colours.com