August 1 Cape Breton Ceilidh in Rankin presents world-class East Coast talent

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Posted on Thursday, July 20, 2017


On August 1, in Rankin, Stone Fence Theatre is staging a ceilidh - a concert of East Coast and traditional music - that will be remembered as one of the top traditional music events of the year in the Ottawa Valley. The performers are international award-winners who have helped put Cape Breton on the map as a hotbed of traditional and folk music.

Rankin is the home of international fiddling sensation, April Verch, who recommended the star of the show, Andrea Beaton, to Stone Fence Theatre's producer, Ish Theilheimer, who had wanted to do a Cape Breton concert after visiting the Celtic Colours festival there last fall. The Rankin Cultural and Community Centre was built by the small, rural community, with Ms. Verch's family actively involved.

"We're utterly thrilled, both to be having Andrea Beaton and with the world-class friends she is bringing with her for the show," says Theilheimer. "All of them are headliners and international award-winners."

Andrea Beaton comes from a long line of musicians, composers and dancers. She is an award-winning fiddler, tune composer and recording artist who is known for her powerful bow and driving style. She tours and teaches internationally and is in great demand as a teacher at music camps and fiddling/dancing workshops.

She has released five solo albums, one duo album with her father, Kinnon Beaton, and a book of her original tunes. She also recorded an album with her family "The Beaton family of Mabou" in 2007 for the Smithsonian Institute. Most of her solo albums were nominated for awards, and her 2010 CD, 'Branches,' won the Canadian East Coast Music Awards "Instrumental Recording of the Year."

Andrea travels the globe, sharing her culture as well as exploring and writing contemporary tunes. Her music, dance and comical stories are sure to delight any audience.

Andrea's musical accomplices are equally illustrious. Pianist/fiddler Troy MacGillivray has been impressing audiences as a musician and step dancer since he was a child. By 13 he was teaching piano at the Gaelic College of Celtic Arts and Crafts in St. Anne's, Cape Breton. He has appeared on 11 CDs of his own and others musicians'.

In 2004, he was the recipient of the "Auleen Theriault Young Tradition Award" from the Goderich Celtic Roots Festival in Goderich, Ontario – an award given to an artist that shows outstanding talent and love for traditional and roots based music. He toured Canada in support of his independently-produced CD, Boomerang; recorded a television program for the Bravo Television Network and provided music for a CBS made-for-TV movie starring Jane Seymour. In 2005/2006, Troy made his first of many appearances at Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow, Scotland where he was chosen as the winner of the “Danny Kyle Stage”. He also showcased at a number of prestigious events, including the East Coast Music Awards, Celtic Colours International Festival in Cape Breton, the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, the Barbados Celtic Festival and the Edinburgh Fiddle Festival - not to mention a Dave Gunning tour of Western Canada, and numerous dances, concerts and ceilidhs throughout Canada and the United Kingdom.

Piper Matt MacIsaac has done it all and played with almost everyone, from Natalie MacMaster to Bela Fleck. Since 2013, he has been performing with his own band, including Mac Morin and Mairi Rankin, playing at shows like the Piping Live! Festival in Glasgow and Fleadh Cheoil in Derry, N. Ireland (with Andrea Beaton and Troy MacGillivray), and Celtic Colours International Festival in Cape Breton. "I believe I was really lucky to grow up listening to traditional music first-hand," Matt says. "I'm from Cape Breton Island, in Nova Scotia, Canada and its rich tradition of Scottish and Irish music was what I was, almost literally, born into. On my mother's side, I have 3 uncles and 3 cousins who play the pipes - so I really have been around them all my life!"

Guitarist and singer Nathan Bishop was the primary songwriter and driving creative force behind the successful Canadian Celtic band, Celtae, which spoke deeply to Nathan’s roots in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. But long before he started to play gigs across Canada in a kilt, he fronted alt rock group, Stevenson’s Cane (with Brian Talbot of Slowcoaster and Mike Richey). At the same time, Nathan was writing roots rock tunes, beatboxing and competing in freestyle rap battles.

Opening for Andrea Beaton and friends are a local group playing traditional music with impressive credentials of their own. Traditional Fayre includes renowned fiddler Dan Schryer, pipe champion Paul McClelland and guitarist and keyboard player Jim Beattie, born in County Antrim, in Northern Ireland.

The music and fun begin at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, August 1 at the Rankin Culture and Community Centre. Tickets cost $25 and are available at www.stonefence.ca or by phone at 613-628-6600 or, toll-free, 1-866-310-1004. Tickets will be available at the door too, while supplies last.