Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Summer 2011

Greetings, Everyone!

Baddeck's much anticipated nightly ceilidh series has begun for yet another year!
The ceilidh lineup is full of the island's top players: Shelly Campbell and Allan Dewar, Isaac Fraser, Joel Chiasson, Mac Morin, Mike Hall and Jennifer Bowman, Melody and Derrick Cameron, Rachel Davis and Buddy MacDonald, Helen MacDonald, Susan MacLean & Scott MacKenzie, Anita MacDonald, Stan Chapman and more!

Be sure to come and check out some of the music that has put this island on the map drawing attention from all over the globe, bringing hundreds of thousands of visitors.

Ever wonder what a strathspey actually is? How can you tell the difference between a reel and a jig? What about a fiddle and a violin? Come to the BGC and find out! We will do our best to answer all your questions about Celtic and Cape Breton music, and you will enjoy a night of music and dance experience what it is all about!

The ceilidh blog will not be active this season, as we are tapping into the 'microblogging' world of Twitter and Facebook. Please follow us there to keep abreast of ceilidh news.

See you at the ceilidh!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Last of Summer Season

Today will be the final ceilidh for the summer season. Mike and Jennifer will close out before our annual Labor Day holiday.

The Baddeck Gathering Ceilidh will resume indefinitely as of Sunday, September 12th and will run as long as the crowds keep filling the hall.

It's not over yet, folks! Don't worry if you are yet to make it - more to come in September!
The clock is ticking, however - don't put it off forever!

To reiterate: BGC will be closed from August 29, 2010, to September 11, 2010, reopening for the Autumn run on September 12th.

See you at the ceilidh!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

"A slice of paradise"

Man, it was a full house here Wednesday night! We rearranged chairs and converted dancing areas into seating areas, and made do! It was a great time though! Such an appreciative and engaged crowd.

In the words of one extremely satisfied patron visiting from Toronto, "I've been travelling all around this island, and it just seems like paradise everywhere I go... but this, this was like an absolute slice of heaven. I'll remember this night as long as I live. I'm serious!"

Not much better compliment, Jennifer and Marion.

We may take our music and dance for granted (naah!!), but when we see the eyes light up in someone who is experiencing it for the first time, a simple ceilidh takes on a whole new meaning.

Fiddlers, play on!!

See you at the ceilidh!

Monday, August 2, 2010

another best? oh yes!

We may sound like a broken record, but it can't be helped! It seems we've said this so many times before, but the 27th was one of the best ceilidhs ever! Lots of visitors who wonder if they'll like this music and dance - but what's not to love? They are always quick converts!

A local friend in attendance showed her steps that night, and Christy Campbell, a well-known and beloved strathspey got her on the floor a 2nd time! Weren't we happy when Frederick from Quebec City came BACK and played accordion, with Shelly on fiddle and Allan on piano.

We'll never be bored of OUR job!!

What great square dancers on the 28th! They got into the groove right away and no wonder! Jennifer and Marion make great music together, nice rhythms and tunes!

On July 29, yet another great ceilidh with Melody, Derrick and Lisa Cameron. There were lots of visitors in Baddeck and both we and they are so happy they find our music!

We had a wonderful, appreciative crowd on the 30th who were in awe of Margie and Dawn Beaton. Folks who couldn't get into the hall stood outside and listened! A few said they may be back on Sat to catch another.

August 1st we got to see some Washabuck folks, who all loved Rachel and Donnie!

Wonderful tunes tonight with Mike Hall. He continues to amaze and thrill us! After the ceilidh, Jennifer stayed late and taught a step dance lesson to a Greek ballerina! She is now a dance teacher in Florida, and she and her daughter picked up "the hop" to take back with them and add to their repertoire of dance steps.

Dark-haired Andrew from Connecticut played 2 pieces of tsugaru, a traditional Japanese music that has been adapted to the violin. What a phenomenal performance! So moving and engaging. What a treat.

You really can't afford to miss our ceilidhs- as you can see, there's always something new and different, unexpected and surprising!

See you at the ceilidh!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Grab a seat and let the music carry you away...

The warm nights are adding to ceilidh excitement. Lovely, appreciative folks come through our door every single night, and dance to our great tunes. It seems they get better every night!

July 20th Ceilidh was fantastic with Shelly Campbell, Mike Hall and lots of audience participation. Simply terrific fiddle tunes from two of our finest!

July 22 sold out and we made good use of extra stools! We're happy Melody and Derrick Cameron are back from Scotland. We always enjoy hearing our friends, knowing we'll laugh once again at Derrick's stories, listen intently to Melody's fine tunes and get to see her fancy footwork! Many tickets were bought in advance. What an appreciative crowd---they learn to love our music.

The 23rd, Dawn and Margie Beaton take the stage. These young sisters have a way with the crowd. Who cannot be charmed by the chemistry of these two? Their striking red hair speaks of the fiery music within them, and their passion for our traditional music comes through their hands straight to our grateful ears!

July 24th we had a great time with Anita and Jason MacDonald. This was Jason's first Baddeck Gathering Ceilidh, but not his last. And Anita, well, we've spoken of her plenty before! This girl just knows her stuff - from playing fiddle, to stepdancing, to Gaelic singing, to expounding on the historical context of the traditions, she's quite the gal! We're so happy to have her.

July 25 Sunday, the Baddeck Gathering was tops. The hall was packed! Great music was had with Buddy and Rachel. Great dancing topped it off when Cheryl MacQuarrie dropped by and showed her steps. She can be seen at some local dances, and often teaches at the Gaelic College in St. Anne's, if you want to learn some of those great steps for yourself.
Genevieve from BC played a French Acadian tune on her fiddle. Thanks, Genevieve!

And finally for our Monday duo, Mike Hall and Jennifer Bowman, many seats were booked and sold in advance. These people were in the know, apparently, because what a night! Frederic
Tremblay landed in from Quebec City with his accordion, and though there were a few others sharing their talents, he was given such literally uproarious applause after his first set, he was compelled to play more! What a talent! He brought the house down in a couple reels along with Mike and Jennifer.

Also visiting was Jacob, who shared a set of jigs on the fiddle with Mike accompanying.

And finally, Brooke Grady, a lovely young lady from Guysborough County who is taking piano lessons from Jennifer and becoming a fine accompanist in her own right, took the stage. She accompanied Jennifer on a set of strathspeys and reels. Fine work, Brooke! Keep it up!

See you at the ceilidh!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Does it get any better?

Shelly Campbell and Allan Dewar hold our Tuesday night slot, and if you are yet to see them, you must! They have been playing together for years, and their combined musicianship is an uncommon treasure. Shelly is the keeper of a storehouse of wonderful and interesting tunes, gleaned from years of acquiring music at the feet of masters, and to sit and listen to her is a gift. She is much more than a fiddle player, however. She possesses yet another ancient and much more rare gift: that of storytelling. In an age of text messages and email abbreviations, Shelly can transport you to another era with her tales of folklore and local anecdotes. Her ability far surpasses the majority of her peers in the younger generations, in whom this art has been all but lost. Bring a hanky, though - you just might shed a tear laughing!

Allan's knowledgeable accompaniment is the perfect complement. His lively style is reminiscent of the late great John Morris Rankin on piano, and supports our traditional music to a T: understated, yet oh so tasty. He has toured the world with many of Cape Breton's top musicians, and is sought after for performances and recordings. He now runs the Judique Interpretive Center, another hopping center of music. If you are on the Inverness side of the island, check out one of their daily afternoon ceilidhs, or Sunday afternoon concerts.

Lovers of the music were out on Wednesday the 14th - we watched - more than one grew misty-eyed as Jennifer played a slow air, and many were actually tapping their toes to the music, just like we do! Lots of folks came in because of the rain, but stayed because of the tunes!

Thursday the 15th we had a wonderful ceilidh with the one and only Dwayne Cote, accompanied by music stalwart, Doug MacPhee. There were tunes to be heard that night that we forgot existed and here played in a style in which only inimitable Dwayne is capable. The 3 standing ovations stand as undisputable testimony to that! Have a listen to his newest recording- excellence and creativity you don't often come across! It is definitely worth it.

Friday the 16th we
had 2, yes 2, guest guitar players. Scott was under the watchful eyes of both as they followed along Cape Breton style. Great dancing was had by all, and such fun!

We've seen visitors from all over the globe this week, as always! Including but not limited to, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, England, Ireland, Scotland, Australia, Japan; a popular spot we have here!

Saturday the 17th Douglas Cameron was back with Jennifer Bowman. Hot times again at the ceilidh - hot tunes, hot dancing, hot King Cole tea, as always! A writer for CAA Travel visited and was taking notes for an article, requested a waltz and loved it!

Mike Hall and Jennifer Bowman rocked the house Monday night. We've come to expect this from Mike. He does not disappoint! There's a reason he is booked solid all summer long!
Come check them out this coming Monday again.

See you at the ceilidh!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Are those birds I hear?

Well, the BGC is certainly happy to welcome Douglas Cameron to the ceilidh clan. He joined us last night for the first time. He played wonderfully and the crowd was clearly in awe of this young gentleman demonstrating such expertise and skill. Many oohs and aahs were heard when he shared that he is only just 16!

To our surprise and pleasure, Paddy Barry and Frank Nugent were in visiting from Dublin, Ireland, and both sang songs for us. Paddy sang one in his native Irish Gaelic while accompanying himself on guitar. Frank shared a beautiful unaccompanied song in English. You could hear a pin drop in the hall while he was singing!

Douglas finished the night with a perfectly executed rendition of the Mockingbird, an interesting piece of music which begins like a normal march, but then has numerous parts that imitate the sounds of various bird calls. It is a demonstration of skillful mastery and musicality to so interpret, and Douglas did so with such seeming ease, he earned himself a standing ovation.

One couldn't ask for a better first night!

See you at the ceilidh!