Friends & Family theme for this year's Celtic Colours fest

The country's, and one of the world's most prestigious Celtic festivals, Cape Breton's Celtic Colours, has announced its lineup. It's the 18th edition of the festival, held over nine days in October. The festival features 46 concerts and a whopping 225 cultural events in 50 different communities on the Island. It's a combination of heritage, superior music, and incredible fall colours, in a truly unique setting.

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Family and friends is the theme of this year's festival. It features performers from all over who have a connection to Cape Breton, including many who have played the festival in the past. Plus, there are special family groupings or rare combination performances from people who have become fast friends through the music. Fiddler Aly Bain from Shetland and accordion player Phil Cunningham of Edinburgh open the festival this year, great friends who have been performing together off and on for 26 years, Cunningham a long-time favourite of Celtic Colours. The family connections start that night as well, as two of Cape Breton's finest fiddlers, cousins Wendy and Ashley MacIsaac, share the stage. The closing show will feature two major stars who met at the very first Celtic Colours, and will reunite this year. Natalie Macmaster returns home to play with Ireland's Sharon Shannon, the accordion and fiddle player who started with The Waterboys, and has gone on to an international and best-selling career.

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Also returning to the festival this year are Alisdair Fraser and Natalie Haas, guitaristsTim Edey and Tony McManus, Canadian folk star David Francey, and Swedish trio Väsen, the surprise stars of last year's event. Family collaborations include We Banjo 3 are two sets of brothers from Ireland, Qristina and Quinn Bachand are from B.C., and The Campbells of Greepe are from the Isle of Skye. The Cape Breton legacy is one of families of course, including The Beaton Sisters. And overall, the majority of musicians are local, including a who's who of the region: J.P. Cormier, Mary Jane Lamond, Howie MacDonald, Dwayne Côté, The Men of the Deeps, Brenda Stubbert, Beòlach, Sprag Session, and the exciting new group Còig, made of some of Cape Breton's best young players.

Tickets, the schedule, accommodations and all the needed info can be found on the festival website, http://www.celtic-colours.com/.

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About Bob Mersereau

Rockin' BobBob Mersereau has been covering music, and the East Coast Music Scene since 1985 for CBC. He's a veteran scene-maker at the ECMA's, knows where the best shows and right parties are happening, and more importantly, has survived to tell the tales. His weekly East Coast music column is heard on Shift on Radio 1 in New Brunswick each Wednesday at 4'45. He's also the author of two national best-selling books, The Top 100 Canadian Albums (2007) and The Top 100 Canadian Singles (2010).

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