Kelly's Dream
at Boularderie School,
Boularderie East, Cape Breton
(6 October 2012)

After a short drive from my cottage in Baddeck, I arrived for a show that I was really looking forward to in Boularderie. This was my first time visiting this community, and like most, if not all, of Cape Breton, it was really nice. I immediately bumped into friends I hadn't seen since last year, so I was happy before the concert even began.

First to take the stage was Cape Breton native Lewis MacKinnon, who graced the audience with songs from his new album. He was once the Gaelic artist-in-residence for this festival and he loved it, so he was really happy to be back this year. My favorite song was about the the Gaelic lessons he learned from his grandfather. Accompanying himself on guitar, he also sang a nice song about Irish people who had to go to England for work, which is what happens for a lot of Cape Bretoners as well. He was also accompanied by Danny and Brian on bass, harmony vocals, piano and guitar. After an awkward moment of technical difficulties, he sang a Barry Kerr song that he learned in Belfast, called "Raven's Wing." MacKinnon's voice was nice, but his performance was pretty much all the same tempo, and he only performed one Gaelic song. Since he was the Gaelic artist-in-residence for this festival once before, I was expecting a bit more variety, and more Gaelic songs.

I was happy next to hear some tunes by Andrea Beaton, Kimberley Fraser and Troy MacGillivray. They began with all three on fiddle, for a set of strathspeys and reels, ending with "Siobhan O'Donnell's." For their next set, MacGillivray played piano, while Beaton and Fraser played a set of jigs that ended with a nice tune by another local fiddler, Paul Cranford. After this, MacGillivray grabbed his fiddle and introduced his solo by showing their set list, which was written on a cookie box, which said he was to play some polkas. They were really lively and fun. After this, accompanied by Fraser on piano, Beaton and MacGillivray played some clogs and reels, one of which was written by MacGillivray for his sister, Sabra. Following this, it was Beaton's turn to share some of her tunes, which included two of my favorites, a slip jig called "The Water Boiling Machine" and a reel called "Fire on the Lino." It was my favorite set, because it had a few different types of tunes and I liked how they transitioned. Fraser took a solo, next, and she shared some lively Irish tunes and for the first time in this show, the audience started clapping along. The trio dedicated their next tune, a waltz, to the lady who painted "Kelly" on the rocks of Kelly's Mountain. It was special because her son, Mario Colisimo, was in the audience. For their last set, the three were switching off between fiddle, piano and steps -- with no breaks in the tunes! I enjoyed this trio's performance.

After intermission, Newfoundland band The Dardanelles took the stage. The audience was loving them from the first note. There was clapping and toes tapping. They began with a rousing set of reels. I like how they played with dynamics. At one point, it sounded as if they were going to fade out, but they punched right back in. The guitar player broke a string on the first set! After another fun set of polkas, their singer, Matthew Byrne, shared a beautiful song called "The Banks of Newfoundland." It had the same melody as "My Bonny Labouring Boy." They followed this with some very upbeat slides and then a Ron Hines song. After a set of reels, Byrne sang an a cappella song called "Jim Harris." I enjoyed The Dardanelles greatly. This band impressed me with how tight they were and their flawless transitions between tunes. The audience seemed to agree with their standing ovation.

For the finale, all of the performers took the stage. They began with a Gaelic song, sung by MacKinnon. It transitioned into the reel, "Mountain Road," and more. It was a wonderful show.

review by
Kaitlin Hahn

10 November 2012

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