Celtic-folk trio of women join forces for Harrison show

Cape Breton, Scottish, and B.C. musicians collaborate for one-time performance

  • Tue Oct 18th, 2016 8:00pm
  • News

Mairi Rankin (above)

The Harrison Festival Society is pleased to present a special collaboration of Cape Breton fiddler Mairi Rankin, Scottish harpist Ailie Robertson, and B.C. singer songwriter and guitar/banjo player Jenny Ritter at Harrison’s Memorial Hall on Saturday, Oct. 22.

Mairi Rankin is steeped in Cape Breton fiddling and dancing, and has a deep love and respect for her native traditions. From Mabou, Nova Scotia, she grew up influenced by the centuries-old fiddle music that is both a treasured part of the local culture and a popular export around the world.

Her work for several years with the Cape Breton supergroup Beolach best exemplifies those roots.

While a Cape Bretoner at heart, Mairi is also a contemporary and cosmopolitan musician, whose spirit of adventure and collaboration is evident in her work with The Outside Track, a transatlantic, internationally touring Celtic Band.

Harpist extraordinaire Ailie Robertson, from Edinburgh, is also in The Outside Track.  Ailie is widely regarded as one of Scotland’s leading young traditional musicians. She is a musician in the broadest sense of the word: composer, arranger, teacher, improviser and harp virtuoso.

Her accomplishment on the clarsach (Scottish harp) is stellar.

“Ailie’s synthesis of Irish, Scottish and contemporary harping technique into an individual style represents the realization of otherwise unimagined possibilities for the Celtic harp,” said Niall Keegan, leading Irish flautist.

Mairi and Ailie’s beautiful and toe-tapping instrumental arrangements will be interspersed with the original songs of Vancouver’s Jenny Ritter.

Jenny’s sweet, positive songwriting, has won acclaim for its deceiving simplicity. She’s a naturally-skilled flat picker on guitar, and adds the twangy tones of claw hammer banjo to many of her songs.

She was born and raised in a cabin deep in the woods of Vancouver Island, and the loneliness and beauty of such an upbringing flavours her songs with gorgeous pastoral imagery and uninhibited expression.

“This performance came together through a series of conversations over the last few years with Mairi Rankin, trying to get her back here for a follow up to her last performance several years ago at the festival with the group Beolach,” said Artistic Director Andy Hillhouse. “She suggested bringing this trio of friends and collaborators together — I predict some Celtic musical magic.”

The show will begin at 8 p.m. on Oct 22 at the Harrison Memorial Hall. Tickets are $22 and can be purchased online at harrisonfestival.com, by phone at 604.796.3664, Agassiz Shoppers Drugmart, or at the door. In addition, a table of eight may be reserved when all eight tickets are purchased together. Please call the Festival office at 604.796.3664 to book your table.