Cape Breton Post – Barra MacNeils celebrating 30 years of music with special concert
The Barra MacNeils will perform in their hometown of Sydney Mines on Aug. 3 at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church celebrating 30 years of music.
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Over 5,000 tickets on sale now. Cape Breton artists The Barra MacNeils, Matt Minglewood, Bruce Guthro, the Men of the Deeps, Aaron Lewis and Jordan Musycsyn will be joined on stage by hosts Bette MacDonald and Maynard Morrison.
A large part of the success of this fundraising event will be raffles and auction on site.
The group whips up a musical potpourri of family favourites culled from traditional Christmas ceilidhs, midnight masses and other festive fare. Laden with distinctive harmonies, the songs are supported on a bed of instruments ranging from guitar, fiddle and mandolin to the bodhran, banjo and bouzouki. “There are three albums of (Barra MacNeils) Christmas music, so we usually can’t get all the songs in that people request, but we do our best,” MacNeil said. “There are also some new bits, stories and some levity – and some dancing, of course.” Sister Lucy’s take on traditional favourites continues to win over audiences, he added.
Christmas is full of traditions and The Barra MacNeils hitting the road around the holidays has become one of them. The Nova Scotia Celtic band, made up of the MacNeil siblings, is touring a Christmas show for the fifth year. The Barra MacNeils play Oshawa’s Regent Theatre on Dec. 6.
… that sense of home that they can bring wherever they play. Especially at Christmas, when they share the warmth of their childhood on Cape Breton with audiences across the country. This happens Thursday night at Showplace, with a 7:30 performance of their annual An East Coast Christmas show. Tickets are $50 and available at the Showplace box office, 705-742-7469 or online at showplace.org. Featuring five musical Macneil siblings – Stewart, Kyle, Lucy, Sheumas and Boyd, with Jamie Gatti on bass, the holiday celebration lets the family soar on traditional instruments, with stepdancing, storytelling and their famous harmonies, often served up a capella.
The Cape Breton family band’s ‘An East Coast Christmas’ concert mixes traditional and Celtic seasonal fare, extraordinary musicianship, hauntingly beautiful Gaelic ballads, storytelling, and a flurry of foot-stomping instrumentals. “It’s hard to believe we’ve been touring Christmas shows for 15 years – it really is a fan-favourite,” said Stewart MacNeil in a telephone interview with Seaway News. “The material comes mainly from three holiday albums we’ve released – every year we mix it up to keep it fresh.”
The evening will include new and old Christmas favourites and a world premiere choral composition from MFC, along with seasonal stories, step dancing and fiddling from special guests the Barra MacNeils, Canada’s Celtic Ambassadors.
Castanet.net As a group, the six MacNeil siblings are widely regarded as one of the greatest live acts in the Celtic world. Hailing from Sydney Mines, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, the family group is deeply rooted in Celtic music, culture and history. Their numerous critically acclaimed recordings have included their own original songs as well as tried and true standards, both instrumental and vocal, some of which have achieved the coveted Gold record status in Canada.