This season the Savoy offers a chance to see two of my personal favorite shows wrapped up into one evening, with two of the most successful Cape Breton acts combined. Since the release of their Christmas Album a few years ago, the Barra MacNeils’ seasonal tour is a must see, for those lucky enough to find their town on the schedule across the country. This years’ festivities also mark the return of Lucy to the touring scene since the birth in October of her daughter Amelia.
The Barras MacNeils’ Christmas show allows you to simply lose yourself in the glow of the most magical sounds of the season, from rousing celtic jigs to the glorious traditional hymns delivered with perfection. I have yet to witness such an overwhelming reaction of awe from an audience as when Lucy MacNeil sings “Oh Holy Night”.
This year the Barra MacNeils have invited none other than Rita MacNeil to join them as both bring their seasonal tours to a close at the Savoy Theatre on December 23rd. What a perfect way to spend one of the final evenings before Santa arrives than with this spectacular pairing on stage for the celebration!
Kyle MacNeil says the group is proud to have Rita join them on the close of the tour. “We actually go way back with Rita, she has always supported us in a very positive way in our careers.” The group has lent their voices to some of MacNeils’ recordings and they were guests on her televised Christmas special as well. “So we aren’t totally foreign to working together, it’s a happy occasion for all of us.”
Kyle promises a very intimate show, with the Barras doing their favorites, as well as Rita, who will likely be accompanied by a couple of her own musicians. “Then we hope that everyone will join together for a few numbers of course.”
He says this year has been another memorable one for the band, musically and personally. “We had two new members added to the family with both Sheumas and Lucy having new babies, so there was a lot to celebrate.” This past summer, the group took part in the production of both the TV and CD recording of Glace Bay singer Aselin Debison. “That was a lot of fun to do,” says Kyle, “the producers were such well known professionals, so we were honored to be asked to take part. We certainly wish Aselin all the best with her future.”
While Lucy took some time off, Kyle joined brothers Stewart and Sheumas for Celtic Colours dates.
Following the Christmas season, the band will be working on the follow up to Racket In The Attic. “We are working with Declan O’Doherty and hope for a release date for mid 2003.” MacNeil says the album is leaning more towards their traditional roots once more, but they are still determining the final decisions on the album. “Despite the fact that we haven’t been traveling as much this year, we have managed to continue to be very busy locally.”
The Barra MacNeils Maritime Christmas tour runs from December 15 to the 23rd. For dates visit www.barramacneils.com.