O Christmas Three


To be released: December 2, 2013

The latest release is a play on the fact that this is the band’s third seasonal recording. Featured songs by some of Canada’s top artists include Ron Sexsmith’s Maybe This Christmas, Rita MacNeil’s  For Mary and Joseph and Bruce Guthro’s  Bound for Bethlehem. Marked by Lucy’s velvet vocals, soaring group harmonies and note-perfect musicianship, the Cape Breton-produced recording reflects the sound that has proved a winner with audiences across North America over the Barras’ 26-year career.

01. Bound for Bethlehem
02. Maybe This Christmas
03. Miners’ First Noel
04. Here We Come a-Wassailing
05. The Green Tree Set
06. Oran Nollaig Na Bretainn Bhig (A Breton Carol)
07. Christmas Belongs to Children
08. For Mary for Joseph
09. A-Walkin’ Christmas Morning
10. The Parting Set


The Celtic Colours Sessions


This recording is the result of 10 days of musical collaboration between The Barra MacNeils and an outstanding collection of guest artists. These tracks were recorded in consecutive days during the 2011 Celtic Colours Festival which takes place annually across Cape Breton Island. The material ranges from new original songs to traditional tunes, re-workings of existing standards, including traditional Gaelic material, all buoyed by the collaborative process.

01. An t-Alltan Dubh
Featuring: CiarÁn & Fiona MacGillivray

02. Little Bird
Featuring: Old Man Luedecke

03. The Last Of Callahan Set
Featuring: Bruce Molsky

04. Gone To Canada
Featuring: Ron Hynes

05. Strange Lover Is A Coalmine
Featuring: Archie Fisher & James Keelaghan

06. Amène Le Vent
Featuring: Ron Bourgeois

07. Tarry Flynn
Featuring: The Black Family

08. ‘S Fliuch an Oidhche/Hé Mandu
Featuring: Catherine-Ann MacPhee

09. As I Roved Out
Featuring: Matt Minglewood

10. Tim Edey With The Barra’s
Featuring: Tim Edey


Live in Concert With Symphony Nova Scotia

Released April 17, 2012

In April 2011, The Barra MacNeils joined Symphony Nova Scotia for two foot-stomping nights of East Coast music at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium in Halifax.

Originally from Cape Breton’s Sydney Mines, the six MacNeil siblings are widely regarded as one of the greatest live concert acts in the Celtic world. Their 25-year career has resulted in more than a dozen recordings, as well as numerous tours across Canada, the US, the UK, and Europe. Conducted by Symphony Nova Scotia’s Resident Conductor (and fellow Cape Bretoner) Martin MacDonald, both concerts featured highlights from the Barras’ 25-year career. Tunes run the gamut from new songs to traditional reels and jigs – all featuring the Barras’ signature step-dancing, vocal harmonies, and multi-instrumental chops.

Retail Release Date: April 17, 2012
Label: Barra Music Co./Fontana North

01. The Longest Day
02. My Heart’s In The Highlands
03. One Misty Moisty Morning
04. Darlin’ Be Home Soon
05. Easter Snow
06. Dougie Mac
07. Caledonia
08. By Northern Light
09. Horses, Geese and One Old Man
10. Our Highland Queen Medley
11. Dance With Me Daily
12. Closing Medley

Sample Set List

Orchestral arrangements for these concerts are by Scott Macmillan, Stewart MacNeil, James Mark, Eric Robertson & Chris Palmer.

My Heart’s in the Highlands
One Misty Moisty Morning
Puirt Beul
Easter Snow
Dougie Mac Medley: Peter MacDonnell/Jessie Over the Bridge/The Furze Bush
Coaltown Road
The Longest Day
Darlin’ Be Home Soon
Our Highland Queen Medley
By Northern Light
Horses, Geese and One Old Man
Gearan na Maighdinn (The Maiden’s Complaint)
Hugh F. MacKenzie
Stepdance Medley
Hanlon’s Tweed


The Barra MacNeils


This album was the start for the Barra MacNeils. Showing their strong instrumental prowess with a little tease of interest in singing. Three brothers and one sister make a debut with slow airs, jigs, marches,strathespeys and reels.

Their own compositions were shown on their first recording too. Stewart’s “One for Jeffy”. It Fits perfectly beside some of the more traditional sets showing how at ease they are at changing things up a bit without taking away from the music.
This album was recorded in 3 days in Halifax, N.S.

Released in 1986
Digital download available

01. Playhouse Medley
(Eating Bonnach/ Drowsy Maggie/
Drunken Landlady)
02. No More Good Times
03. One For Jeffy
(Lovat’s Restoration/ Jig of Slurs/ Angela
Cameron/ Mrs. George Johnston of Byker)
04. The Marquis of Huntly’s Snuff Mill
05. Three Reels
(Trad/ Trad/ Jenny Picking Cockles)
06. Willie C.
07. Trip To Sligo
08. Highland Queen/ Sweeps Hornpipe/
Trad Hornpipe/ Devil and The Dirk
09. Proud Spirit


Rock In The Stream


The band showcased more of their well-known instrumental groups (Glenpark Medley, Highland Exchange Medley) and breath-taking slow airs (Beautiful Point Aconi, Lauchie Stubbert) on this album.

Added to the instrumentals was a duo-fiddle number where the fiddles were tuned to a high bass (A,E,A,E) tuning. An older traditional style found in Cape Breton.

The band continued to draw upon the wealth of music in Cape Breton using ” The Island” (Kenzie MacNeil) and Coaltown Road and Kitty Bawn O’ Brien (Allister MacGillivary).

Coaltown Road (an accapella highlight ) and The Island( an Anthem for Cape Breton), are still favourites of fans new and old.
The celtic harp was featured very simply in “The Lone Harper” (Lucy MacNeil).

This album was rounded out with Stewart MacNeil and Dave Cross’s debut of their combined songwriting efforts with “Standing By The Subway” and “Red Ice”.

Rock In The Stream was recorded in Toronto at Inception Sound and co-produced by The Barra MacNeils and Fred Lavery.

Released in 1989
Digital download available

01. Rattlin, Roarin Willie
02. Glenpark Medley 3
03. The Island
04. The Lone Harper
05. Red Ice
06. High Bass Tunes
07. Coaltown Road
08. Highland Exchange Medley
09. Kitty Bawn O’Brien
10. Standing By The Subway
11. Beautiful Point Aconi




Released in 1990
Digital download available

01. Banks of the Roses
02. Flow Time
03. Didn’t Hear the Train
04. Flower Basket Medley
05. Song For Peace
06. Isle of my Dreams
07. Looking Back
08. Row Row Row 5
09. Ian Hardie Set
10. My Heart’s in the Highlands


Closer to Paradise

Released 1993

Closer To Paradise was the bands first major label recording. It brought more of the well-loved instrumentals the band is known for and more song-writing from the band.

Songs from the band include We Celebrate, When I’m Away From You, Closer to Paradise, Chase the Man, Dancing We Would Go, This album introduced their gaelic roots with the song,”Mo Nighean Dubh” (My Black Haired Girl) and some puirt a beul (mouth music) with Am pige Ruadh.

Darling Be Home Soon, by John Sebastian, garnered the band national attention from radio stations and video shows across Canada. The same interest was received with Tony Arata’s, “In The Wink Of An Eye”.

Caledonia, by Dougie MacLean brought great interest in Canada, United States and Scotland, Ireland, England and Wales.
This album was recorded in Nashville and produced by Wally Wilson and Kenny Greenberg.

Released in 1993
Available on CD or digital
Cost: $18 CAD

01. We Celebrate
02. Darling Be Home Soon
03. When I’m Away From You
04. Closer To Paradise
05. Chase The Man
06. Dancing We Would Go
07. In The Wink Of An Eye
08. Frostbite
09. Caledonia
10. Jigs: The Dusty Windowsill /  The O’Keeffe’s of Dublin
11. Mo Nighean Dubh (My Black Haired Girl)
12. Am pige Ruadh (Mouth Music)


The Traditional Album


Always keeping the public guessing, the Barra MacNeils followed up their most commercial release (in Canada), Closer to Paradise, with an instrumental album of traditional maritime/Celtic jigs, reels, and ballads. All were expertly played by the band, and all were nicely arranged. However, one could not help but feel this was a step back for the group following such a progressive previous release. And, as with their early albums, the Barra MacNeils tend to stick pretty close to traditional arrangements, offering very little deviance. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, in fact, for these talented players (just listen to Lucy MacNeil’s violin playing throughout, and Kyle MacNeil’s haunting mandolin); they can carry it off with apparent ease. This album did serve as a reminder to new fans just where their hearts and influences lay, and perhaps it turned some new listeners on to an age-old musical style. An enjoyable listen.

01. The Clumsy Lovers Set
02. Celtic Harp
03. Tribute To Robert Stubbert
04. The Visit Medley
05. The Maids of Arrochar
06. The Brolum Set
07. Twice A Year Fiddler
08. March – Strathspeys – Reels
09. Memories of Mary Ann MacKenzie
10. Wedding Party Medley
11. Toonik Tyme
12. Twin Fiddles
13. Niel Gow’s Lament For The Death Of His Second Wife


The Question


Once again keeping the public guessing, the Barra MacNeils unleashed this incredible work. Picking up where Closer to Paradise left off, Stewart MacNeil (and his co-writer David Cross) created a minor masterpiece. The roots of Celtic/maritime music are still there, but there is much more in this melting pot of pop, rock, jazz, and country. Their version of “The Ballad of Lucy Jordon” is both sad and downright frightening; the accordion and Lucy MacNeil’s sweet and gentle voice create a chilling listening experience. Some of the songs are heartbreaking, such as “Part of Me,” an incredible song with clever lyrics and a beautiful melody to match. In fact, it is very difficult to find fault with any aspect of this album, from the artwork to the music. The Barra MacNeils took a chance with this release, and did not see the commercial success (in Canada) that they had for Closer to Paradise, but The Question left its listeners knowing that this band had finally come into their own, and that they could create very original material while maintaining their original roots and influences. A wonderful, highly recommended record.

Released in 1995
Available on CD or digital
Cost: $18 CAD

01. Myopic
02. Seallaibh Curaidh Eoghainn
03. The Ballad of Lucy Jordan
04. Going Down the Road
05. Oh My
06. She The Ocean
07. 17
08. Turquoise Shoes
09. The Question
10. Falling
11. Part of Me
12. All or Nothing
13. Goin’ Back


Christmas Album


Christmas Album II is the Barra MacNeils’ second seasonal recording, following 1999’s The Christmas Album. Recorded at Kyle and Anita MacNeil’s home on the Mira and Soundpark Studio, Cape Breton, NS. Engineered by Jamie Foulds and Boyd MacNeil. Produced by The Barra MacNeils.

Released in 2006

Available on CD or digital
Cost: $18 CAD

01. I Saw Three Ships
02. At Last I’m Ready For Christmas
03. On The Very First Christmas
04. Angels We Have Heard On High
05. Good King Wenceslas
06. The Gathering Set
07. Christmas Together
08. Childhood Christmas
09. Ave Maria
10. Dancing Angels
11. Merrily On High
12. Joy To The World
13. Oran nan Cailleachan (Song Of The Old Ladies)
14. Christmas Ceilidh
15. Samhach an Oidhch’ (Silent Night)


Racket in the Attic


With each new release the Barra MacNeils have improved, while maintaining everything that makes them good. This is a difficult task, which they accomplish. On their eighth studio release, they tackle many cover versions with skill and originality. Their take on Lindsey Buckingham’s “Second Hand News” is truly brilliant and incredibly original. Paddy Maloney makes a guest appearance on the wonderful “Rattlin’ Roarin’ Willie (another version of the song can be found on the Chieftains’ Fire in the Kitchen), and Canada’s Great Big Sea provides background vocals on the beautiful “Misty Moisty Morning.” Such guest appearances add to this great CD instead of detracting from it, as is the case on other CDs. This music is the sound of a group continuing to explore their roots and their origins while at the same time growing within their genre. The music is tight and the arrangements are astounding. This CD is a must for fans of Celtic or folk music.

Released in 2000
Available on CD or digital
Cost: $18 CAD

01. Don’t Call Me Early
02. Rattlin’ Roarin’ Willie
03. Second Hand News
04. Longest Day
05. Queen Of Argyle
06. Misty Moisty Morning
07. By Northern Light
08. Everytime
09. Racket In The Attic
10. Come High, Come Low
11. Nancy O
12. Tullochgorum


Cape Breton Christmas DVD


Live Christmas Concert, as seen on television, plus a visit to Cape Breton, interviews with the Barras at home at Christmas and a Barra MacNeils music video.

Released in 2001
Cost: $25 CAD

01. Carol of the Bells
02. Snow Plough Set
03. Taladh Chriosda
04. O Holy Night
05. O Come Divine Messiah
06. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
07. Auld Lang Syne
08. Christmas in Killarny


All At Once


Released in 2005

Available on CD or digital
Cost: $18 CAD

01. Haven’t Got a Care
02. A Thousand Miles
03. The Keeping It Reel
04. One Wild Rose
05. Dougie Mac
06. Gearan na Maighdinn
07. You Couldn’t Have Come At A Better Time
08. Craobh Nan Ubhal
09. Dance With Me Daily
10. Horses, Geese and One Old Man
11. Penny Hill
12. Tiree Love Song
13. Michael Anthony’s Birthday


20th Anniversary Collection Album

Released 2007

2008 marks over 20 years in the recording and touring career of the Barra MacNeils. To celebrate this, the group has released a 20th Anniversary CD that covers the span of the Barra MacNeils’ entire career. The album features essential recordings from various releases over the years, plus a new track, ‘Chasing The Sun’, that was co-written by Grammy Award winner Gordie Sampson along with Cape Breton’s own, Fred Lavery.

Track Listing
01. Clumsy Lover Set
02. My Heart’s In The Highlands
03. Our Highland Queen
04. Song For Peace
05. Michael Anthony’s Birthday
06. In The Wink of an Eye
07. Dougie Mac
08. Coaltown Road
09. Willie C.
10. The Longest Day
11. Rattlin Roarin Willie
12. Am Pige Ruadh (Mouth Music)
13. Glasgow City Police Pipers
14. Seallaibh Curaidh Eoghainn
15. Caledonia
16. The Brolum Set
17. Haven’t Got A Care
18. Don’t Call Me Early
19. Dance With Me Daily
20. Chasing The Sun (new track)
21. Darling Be Home Soon
22. Didn’t Hear The Train
23. The Maids of Arrochar
24. The Island


In Session


This live CD, recorded in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia during summer 2008, captures the traditional roots that the Barra MacNeils grew up with in an informal pub session.

This title is a partner release to the previously released CD title, In Concert.

Released in 2009
Available on CD or digital
Cost: $18 CAD

01. Welcome to Bunkers
02. That 70’s Set
03. Causeway Crossing
04. Square Dance Jigs
05. Dancing We Would Go
06. Toonik Tyme
07. Aimless Love
08. Highland Village Day
09. Every Time
10. So You Think You Can Stepdance


Tour Dates

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