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March 2014

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Silver Maple leaves

Cape Breton continued (long)

Here's how our schedule works - breakfast, drive 2 hours to a hike, hike, drive to a 5pm dinner, catch a 7:30 show, drive 2 hours and do it all again the next day.  There has been no down time for blogging until now with the festival over and a final day of hiking and glorious scenerry ahead of us.
Of the Cape Breton fiddlers, I think I like Wendy McIsaak the best.  While others like Dwayne Cote may be more technically proficient on the pyrotechnic end, Wendy's plays with more heart and energy.  At it's core the CB style is dance music and Wendy's captures the island's signature drive.
This year the Celtic Colours festival had a nordic focus and I have to say that the music is really attractive.  Nuala Kennedy's Irish/Norwegian mashup, the Snowflake Trio, played tunes from both trads with energy and happiness.  Like them on FB, they need encouragement to put out a CD.
The surprise Nordic style was from Fanoe Island, Peter and Ole don't do concerts, they play for dances and weddings in their community of less than 4000 people.  A sweet/sour sound that is really highly attractive.  i could hear them again.  Our final concert in Mabou included a flotilla of Fanoe Island grade and middle school fiddle players who had raised money to come over to CB.  Apparently 8 percent of the population are fiddle players with another 2 percent playing guitar or accordion.  13 years ago, the late Jerry Holland, the greatest of all CB fiddlers , made a trip to Fanoe and forged such bonds that there is a CB Fanoe Music Society with regular exchanges of musicians.
The best single performance may have been Liz Carroll on Thursday night. I had heard the same set twice before and was cringing at the thought of hearing it again. And then she just went to another level as only truly great musicians can do. Somehow the interior of each tune opened up and it was like I was hearing it for the first time. Yes she can be faster than anyone when she wants to be, but her real strength is pulling unimaginable depth out of each song.

Comments

Sounds like a wonderful trip!
It was really an amazing time. It really seems like the last beachhead of the Celts somehow. I feel blessed.