The Celtic Umbrella Ensemble is bringing their tour of Nova Scotia to Cape Breton this weekend, starting Thursday at the Red Shoe Pub in Mabou.
Featuring a cast of award-winning East Coast artists, The Celtic Umbrella Ensemble is comprised of fiddler and singer Anna Ludlow, fiddler and dancer Gillian Boucher, singer and multi-instrumentalist Mary Beth Carty and guitar and banjo player Seph Peters. Celebrating the traditions of their past intertwined with a broad range of styles and influences, they explore the rich musical tapestry of the many Celtic regions around the world with exquisite technique, instrumentation, song and dance… dynamic and exciting, it’s an evening not to be missed.
Originally from Antigonish, Nova Scotia, fiddler Anna Ludlow’s talent has taken her beyond Nova Scotia’s rich music scene, to share stages with the likes of The Beach Boys, Blue Rodeo, Don Ross, and Ron Hynes. Endless offers to play private and corporate functions and to collaborate with other musicians in shows and on recordings speak to her versatility as a performer. As the principal fiddler for the Halifax-based hit stage show DRUM!, Ludlow has performed in Dollywood, at the 2010 Winter Olympics, twice on Parliament Hill for Canada Day, and even for Queen Elizabeth II. Her recording Reel to Reel, released in 2009, was produced by herself and Dave Burton and was mixed and mastered at ECMA-winning Lakewind Sound Studios and has received multiple award nominations. The CD showcases Ludlow’s talent as both fiddler and singer.
Recipient of the Traditional/Roots Recording of the Year Award at the 2009 Nova Scotia Music Week Conference and Awards and nominee for a 2010 East Coast Music Award in the same category, Gillian Boucher has been traveling the world with her violin in hand since the age of 15. After calling Scotland home for a number of years, Boucher is now back in her home province of Nova Scotia where she recorded her critically acclaimed debut album Elemental with producer Glenn Meisner at CBC’s Studio H in Halifax. With a broad range of musical influences, this progressive yet easy-listening album seamlessly blends Celtic and contemporary sounds with hints of Eastern European styles and a touch of jazz. Originally from Cape Breton Island, she has toured Scotland, Ireland, Canada, USA, New Zealand and Australia and has shared the stage with Battlefield Band, Capercaillie, Natalie MacMaster, Ashley MacIsaac, Tom Paxton, Mary Jane Lamond and many more. Gracing stages as either a dynamic and more traditional duo with master guitarist Seph Peters or with her full-on and terrifically funky 5-piece band, her stage personally and skills leave her audiences spellbound and wanting more.
Whether accompaning herself on the Cajun traingle, piano accordion, Irish guitar, musical bones, or Indian drone, Mary Beth Carty is an artist who knows how to entertain. Populated with characters from past, present, and future, her storytelling-songs move from humourous to tragic. Her creations are inspired by the rich culture of square dances and milling frolics she experienced growing up in Antigonish County, and by the urban observations of her adulthood. Nominated for Traditional Singer of the Year at the 2008 Canadian Folk Music Awards, Carty has a unique repertoire of traditional songs that includes many Acadian and Gaelic pieces, and a great number of Robert Burns songs. With her duo Bette & Wallet she has toured throughout France, done the Canadian folk festival circuit from coast to coast, and garnered nominatins and popular acclaim for their album Voici… Bette & Wallet. Carty is excited to join these dear old friends to lend her voice and energy to the Celtic Umbrella Ensemble.
One of the most sought after guitar accompanists in Eastern Canada, Seph Peters has toured Canada, USA and the UK sharing the stage with artists such as Mary Jane Lamond, Pauline Scanlon, Donogh Hennessy, Troy MacGillivray, Shooglenifty, Ron Hynes, Paddy Keenan, Tony DeMarco, Squid and McCrimmon’s Revenge. His unique approach to guitar accompaniment is percussive, Irish in nature, but totally his own. He is a highly regarded studio session player on guitar, banjo and mandolin, and has had featured performances at Celtic Colours International Festival, Stan Rogers Folk Festival and the Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival. This past year has seen him constantly on tour as the newest member of the Mary Jane Lamond Band and with groups such as Squid, the MacKenzie Project and most recently with The Celtic Crossroads production.
The Celtic Umbrella Ensemble will perform Thursday, June 14 at The Red Shoe Pub in Mabou (8pm, $10), Friday, June 15 at St. Patrick’s Church in Sydney (7:30pm, $15 at the door, $12 advance available from the Old Sydney Society and the Cape Breton Curiosity Shop), and Saturday, June 16 at L’Arch Chapel in Iron Mines ($15 at the door, $10 in advance available at The Ark Store, Iron Mines).