Music fans in every province and territory are buzzing about the White Stripes' upcoming cross-Canada tour, but fans in Cape Breton can now brag of their own special connection with frontman Jack White.


The White Stripes, seen here at the 2004 Grammy Awards, will celebrate their 10th anniversary with a show in Cape Breton. ((Mark J. Terrill/AP))

In a recent interview, White saidhis family had roots on the island before they moved to Detroit.

Antigonish lawyer Danny MacIsaac has confirmed a family connection with the hit-making musician,who was born John Anthony Gillis.

"My father and Jack White's grandmother were brother and sister," MacIsaac told CBC.

"Jack White's grandmother was a lady by the name of Florence MacIsaac," he said, explaining that she grew up in Antigonish and worked as a schoolteacher before marrying a man named Frank Gillis from Sydney Mines.

The couple eventually moved to Detroit, where they had two daughters and four sons, the youngest of whom is White's father, he said.

'Take a gene like that — you might put it in an urban environment and have it exposed to rock and roll, but it's still the same Celtic temperament.' —Danny MacIsaac

MacIsaac is also related to Cape Breton fiddling legend Buddy MacMaster, his niece Natalie as well as fiddler Ashley MacIsaac, which confirms White's recent claim that he and the famed fiddlers are distant kin.

MacIsaac said he saw "an extension of the Cape Breton fiddlers" in White's successful musical career.

"Take a gene like that — you might put it in an urban environment and have it exposed to rock and roll, but it's still the same Celtic temperament and it's finding its expression in music," he said.

Concerts to include anniversary date in Cape Breton

The White Stripes, comprising White and his ex-wife Meg, are scheduled to play 18 Canadian dates, including stops in every province and territory, in support of their upcoming sixth studio album, Icky Thump. The album will hit stores June 19.

White pointed out in a recent interview that, by happy coincidence, the rock duo's Cape Breton concert — at the Savoy Theatre in Glace Bay, N.S., on July 14 — will be the band's 10th anniversary.

Tickets for the Glace Bay show sold out in approximately 13 minutes last week, with fans queuing hours in advance to get a chance to see the show.

"They're just one of my favourite bands in the whole world," Jesse Hays, who queued for about 16 hours, told CBC.

"They're going out on a limb to come here, so I figure I'm going out on a limb to see them."

With files from the Canadian Press