Just a few of Nova Scotia’s many amazing artists

July 8, 2009

Brenda Stubbert

Brenda was raised in Point Aconi, a small Cape Breton fishing and mining community a few miles from North Sydney and Sydney Mines. The Northside is known for its rich musical traditions and the Stubbert household had regular musical visitors including fiddlers Winston Fitzgerald, Johnny Wilmot, Joe Confiant and many others.

Brenda grew up surrounded by music and by the time she was five she was dancing and playing the piano. A short while later, about age eight, she started on the fiddle, an instrument her father, brothers and uncles all played. Her father, Robert, could be described as an Irish player while her uncle Lauchie played and composed with a Scottish style.

Although strongly influenced by her family’s music, Brenda’s style borrows elements from all the great players she has associated with. Her sound is full of trills and other embellishments, yet remains both lively and relaxed.

Brenda is in constant demand throughout Cape Breton. Her dances are lively and well attended. Since 1986, Brenda has released five albums, the most recent being 2003’s Music All Around. Her recordings have been well received, and many players have learned her compositions. Brenda’s music has taken her to Ireland, Scotland, Mexico and hundreds of places around Canada and the US. Brenda is working on a new CD she hopes to launch in the spring of 2008.

Cyril Sampson

Cyril, born in Sampsonville, Cape Breton, is well known in music circles in the Cape Breton and Halifax area. He and his wife, Kay entertained many artists and lovers of Cape Breton music for many years at parties held in their summer home in Sampsonville. It was a well known event drawing people from many miles away.

Cyril, like his Mother, has a beautiful voice and he will, when requested, sit down at a piano play a few Scottish tunes and sing a few Irish ballads.

If you haven’t heard him sing you can pick up a copy of his CD “These Are My Mountains” Produced and engineered by Kevin Barry Evans.

The Road To Dundee, Danny Boy, The Star of Logy Bay, The Bard of Armagh, The Wild Colonial Boy, Carrickfergus and Ringsend Rose are a few of the songs on his album.

To hear a sample from his CD go to our “Artists” page

J.P. Cormier

J.P. Cormier is an award-winning singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and sideman. His first album, a collection of bluegrass guitar instrumentals released when he was sixteen years old, led to 10 years of touring, recording and television appearances in the U.S. and Europe with music’s biggest names including Marty Stuart, Waylon Jennings, and Earl Scruggs. After meeting and marrying Cape Breton pianist Hilda Chiasson, J.P. returned to Cape Breton in the mid-nineties and has since released three instrumental albums and two albums of original song which have produced a# 1 hit in Europe, garnered Juno and ECMA nominations and awards and received rave reviews.

Dave MacIsaac

(Halifax, Nova Scotia)
Internationally recognized as a master of stringed instruments, Dave MacIsaac is a musician’s musician and is widely admired as such. He plays traditional fiddle tunes with fiery passion, and his stunning guitar playing, whether solo or as accompaniment, is industry legend. Always interested in expanding his knowledge of Celtic music, Dave has thousands of recordings of Cape Breton traditional music. He also possesses an archival knowledge of tunes, and is often called upon to name that tune for recordings, as well as being in high demand for session work.

Dave MacIsaac will be busy during the Celtic Colours Festival, in addition to performing just about every day, he is also one of this year’s Artists in Residence.

Carl MacKenzie (Cape Breton)

Carl MacKenzie is a regular performer at dances, concerts and workshops across Cape Breton and has also performed throughout Canada, Ireland, Scotland and the United States. A traditional fiddler from Washabuck, Victoria County, Cape Breton. Carl has composed over fifty tunes and his vast repertoire, which he prefers to learn from books, is expressive of the musical magic and soul that sets him apart from so many other musicians. Carl tenth album, It’s A Corker!, was released earlier this year.

Doug MacPhee (Cape Breton)

New Waterford native Doug MacPhee has performed with all the great fiddlers of Cape Breton over the years. Although he prides himself in his ability as an accompanist, Doug is also known as Cape Breton’s foremost piano soloist. Doug’s music can be heard on more than twenty recordings in addition to his five solo albums. He has played on numerous television and radio programs over the years, including CBC television’s Ceilidh, a national series featuring Cape Breton fiddlers. Doug is one of three musicians featured in the film From the Heart, which looks at the role of traditional music in Canada. Doug has toured extensively throughout Canada, the United States, Scotland, and Europe and has performed and taught at numerous North American folk festivals.

Mary Jane Lamond (Cape Breton)

For a music clip see our Artist’s page

Mary Jane Lamond is a sharer of songs, stories and spirit. This sharing has garnered Mary Jane numerous Juno and East Coast Music Award nominations, critical acclaim and a worldwide audience.
Her fourth recording, Òrain Ghàidhlig (Gaelic Songs of Cape Breton), is dedicated to the fine Gaelic singers of Cape Breton. It was while visiting her grandparents throughout her youth, that Mary Jane Lamond fell in love with Scottish Gaelic traditions and song. Lamond released her first album while enrolled in Saint Francis Xavier University’s Celtic Studies program. Bho Thir Nan Craobh is a collection of traditional material that introduced Lamond’s unique singing voice and a then unknown fiddler named Ashley MacIsaac.

Suas e!, her next album, combined classic texts with contemporary pop sounds and earned several Juno and East Coast Music Award nominations as well as a MuchMusic Global Groove Award for the video “Bog a’Lochain.” With her third album, Làn Dùil, Mary Jane introduced a unique new style of world music. Lamond’s spell-binding renditions of treasured Gaelic songs are fused with original arrangements using a variety of instruments, from the familiar fiddle and bagpipes to Indian tabla.

With her latest recording, Òrain Ghàidhlig (Gaelic Songs of Cape Breton), Mary Jane focuses on the songs and poetry which are the cornerstone of this tradition. This recording remains true to the simple sharing of music that is the foundation of Gaelic culture.

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