It’s been a long, cold, frosty winter, but on Saturday, March 21, the Cape Breton Music Industry Cooperative (CBMIC) is set to break the ice and welcome spring with a fundraising concert featuring some of the best emerging artists to come out of Cape Breton in a generation. Sponsored by Protocase, Membertou Trade & Convention Centre, Vibe Creative Group, NovaStream, and the Cape Breton Post, CBMIC’s Ice Breaker will include a special celebration for Cape Breton artists nominated for East Coast Music Awards this year.
A not-for-profit organization developed to grow and support Cape Breton’s music industry, CBMIC realizes that the music industry in Cape Breton is a sustainable one. Fundraisers like Ice Breaker go a long way toward CBMIC realizing its vision, not only by raising the money it needs to help keep operating, but also by supporting Cape Breton talent, whether through its very successful Cape Breton Music Export Programs, showcasing Cape Breton artists at festivals and events like Showcase Scotland during Celtic Connections in Glasgow and the annual East Coast Music Awards, or presenting Cape Breton artists to Cape Breton audiences with events like Ice Breaker.
“CBMIC has taken a leading role in the development of the music industry within Cape Breton since its inception in 2008,” says Chairperson Jennifer Currie. “We’ve been able to put well in excess of $500,000 into the local industry here in the past 5-years and we’ve done it on a shoestring budget. Our fundraisers help us to continue to operate the organization and offer programming vital to the success and development of our talent here in Cape Breton.”
CBMIC puts its money where its mouth is, so to speak, by being active in the industry.
“We believe that fundraisers can be mutually beneficial for both our organization and those supporting the industry by purchasing tickets,” Currie continues. “You certainly won’t be disappointed by the line-up for this show that features some well-established, international touring acts like Sprag Session and the Beaton Sisters Band and hot new acts like Port Cities and the Jordan Musycsyn Band.”
Since coming together as Sprag Session three years ago—Jason Roach (piano), Darren McMullen (mandolin, guitar, banjo), Colin Grant (fiddle), Merlin Clarke (drums) and Donnie Calabrese (bass)—have shed the persona of the Colin Grant Band to take the Celtic/traditional music world by storm with performances at major festivals in Europe, the UK, and North America, a critically acclaimed and hugely popular recording, and a sound, according to Tim Readman of Penguin Eggs magazine, “…that loses none of its traditional power as it is blended with very funky contemporary rhythms.” Joella Foulds, Executive Director of the Celtic Colours International Festival echoes this assessment saying Sprag Session is “…the whole package: superb musicianship, excellent compositions, unique arrangements; a band that exudes energy and virtuosity, a stage presence that connects with their audience.”
For Dawn and Margie Beaton, traditional music has been a huge component of their lives from day one. Growing up in Mabou with a musical heritage of fiddlers, dancers and singers, it was natural to learn both step dancing and the violin at an early age. Within the last few years, The Beaton Sisters, with band-mates Jason Roach on piano and Kenneth MacKenzie on pipes and fiddle, have traveled to Scotland, Ireland, England, Wales, France, Central Canada and the United States to perform at festivals like Celtic Connections and Fesitval-Interceltique in Lorient, France. Dawn and Margie also received an East Coast Music Award for Roots/Traditional Group/Duo of the year for their first recording, Taste of Gaelic.
Stellar songs, dynamic vocals, and superior musicianship mark the emergence of Port Cities. An exciting new group from Cape Breton, Port Cities brings together the award-winning talents of Carleton Stone, Breagh Mackinnon, and Dylan Guthro. The trio began writing together when they met at the Gordie Sampson Songcamp and developed a strong friendship and ongoing collaboration as they each released and toured solo albums. Making music reminiscent of the best of The Civil Wars, Fleetwood Mac and Crosby Stills Nash, Port Cities promises a rootsy pop sound with an emphasis on powerful harmonies, outstanding songs, and an engaging camaraderie onstage and off. The band is currently working with mentor and friend Gordie Sampson (Carrie Underwood, LeAnn Rhymes, Rascal Flatts), writing and recording for their debut release, anticipated for release later this year.
Jordan Musycsyn is a classic songwriter and his band—Mike LeLievre (bass), Glen Bourgeois (keyboards), Jordan Bruleigh (drums), P.J. Confiant (guitar)—creates just the right country-folk fusion to take his songs to the next level. These musicians met through countless run-ins on the local music scene and decided to work together towards a common goal of good music, resulting in their debut album The Pitch, which has drawn wide-spread praise. A masterful storyteller, Musycsyn writes songs about life and love with pathos and humour. Drawing on his own life experience, Musycsyn has the ability to take his audience from laughter to tears and back again.
Don’t miss Ice Breaker, Saturday, March 21, at the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre. Doors open at 7pm, showtime at 8pm. Tickets are $22 (fees included) and are available at the Membertou Box Office 902-539-2300 and online at membertoutcc.com. For more information on CBMIC visit cbmic.ca.