The instruments may change through the years, but on Cape Breton Island the tradition of making music stays pretty much the same. People get together to play music. They start with the music they have in common, the stuff that everyone knows and eventually work toward more obscure, difficult or original material. Whether a session starts with some old fiddle standards or “Sweet Home Alabama” may depend on the setting or the instruments at hand, but where it goes is limited only by the participation of those present.
This tradition is as strong today as it has ever been. There are a growing number of young bands in the urban area who are making an effort to find an outlet for their music and it’s starting to pay off. This weekend, then bands are on their way to Halifax to showcase this next wave of Cape Breton’s music to the crowds gathered for the tenth annual East Coast Music Awards.
Among those performing are Vegapeeler, ’77 Impala Special and Mastadon Ridge. These bands represent whgat the music of Urban Cape Breton is all about.
“It’s very eclectic,” says Darryl MacKinnon of CRACK! Industries who have organized this show. “We’ve got punk, we’ve got folk, we’ve got industrial, we have, like, ‘alternative rock’ and metal…it’s a very wide range of what’s happening in the younger, indie rock community.”
So as the debate rages about how Cape Breton has more to offer than Celtic/fiddle/ceilidh music, listen to the music we make. The “traditional” element is there in all the styles, the tradition being that Cape Bretoners make music.