SOUTH CARTHAGE – New England Celtic Arts will present Cape Breton fiddler Mairi Rankin with Don & Cindy Roy at Skye Theatre Performing Arts Center on Sunday, Feb. 15 in So. Carthage, starting at 3 p.m. A pre-show jam will start at 2 p.m. Audience members are encouraged to bring their instruments and jam for a few minutes with the artists.
Born in Mabou, Nova Scotia, Mairi has been influenced by some of the best Cape Breton traditional musicians and instructors on the island. She has developed her own unique style by being immersed in such a rich musical culture. Mairi has been fortunate to tour nationally and internationally as a performer and educator in both fiddle and step dance.
Mairi has performed as a solo artist, and is a member of the Cape Breton Celtic super group Beolach. She has also performed with the Rankin Sisters, Unusual Suspects and Bruce Guthro to name a few. She has appeared on the television broadcasts of DRUM, the East Coast Music Awards, Rita MacNeil’s Christmas special and MNE’s Togaidh Sinn Fonn in Scotland.
Her festival credits internationally include Celtic Connections, Chicago Celtic Festival, Milwaukee Irish Festival, BLAS Festival, and Tonder Festival. In Canada she has performed at all the major folk and Celtic festivals including Winnipeg Folk Festival, Calgary Folk Festival, Edmonton Folk Festival, Dawson City Folk Festival and the internationally renowned Celtic Colours Festival.
As an educator Mairi has taught at universities, schools, festivals and workshops. Some of these include Newcastle University, England; Augusta Heritage Festival, West Virginia; Ohio Scottish Arts School, Ohio; Buddy MacMaster School of Fiddling, Cape Breton; Montpelier Fiddle Camp, Vermont.
Mairi has recorded one solo album, two Cds with Beolach and has been featured on numerous compilations and recordings. She’s continually influenced by her surrounding in the music industry and is using this knowledge towards creating a new recording.
Joining Mairi on stage will be Franco-American master fiddler Don Roy who has been called the dean of Franco-American fiddling in Maine. Don also plays guitar, mandolin and banjo, and has been playing since age 6. His uncle Norman Mathieu taught him how to play guitar, and he then accompanied another uncle, Lucien Mathieu, who taught him how to play fiddle at 15.
Don learns most of his tunes by ear, although he occasionally thumbs through collections of fiddle tunes. In keeping with Acadian tradition. In 2003, Don and an apprentice won a Traditional Arts Apprenticeship grant from the Maine Arts Commission, receiving two traditional arts fellowships for excellence in traditional music.
Ethnomusicologist Bau Graves calls Roy the finest Franco fiddler in New England, whose playing, “exactly exemplifies what Franco American fiddling is all about. It is simultaneously precisely controlled and wildly danceable.”
Pianist and step dancer Cindy Roy will accompany Mairi and Don.
Skye Theatre is located 3 miles West of East Dixfield village at 2 Highland Drive off Winter Hill Rd and US RT. 2 in South Carthage. Ticket price is $10 at the door. Reservations are required for this show. Call New England Celtic Arts at (207) 562-4445 for reservations and directions. For more information: www.necelticarts.com