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Past Performers


poster mwcf 23Morning Star
Morning Star is Gordon Fisch and Marie-Claude Simard.

Gordon used to live happily in Regina where he worked for the Regina Folk Festival and Emma Lake fiddle Camp, playing in great bands like "Iron Brew". Now living in Montreal, Gordon teaches at the Siamsa School of Irish Music and has played pubs, festivals and concerts with groups like "The Cats in the Kitchen".

Marie-Claude, born in Quebec City, now in Montreal, had a career in classical music, in symphonies and touring groups, but then she discovered Celtic music! She has studied with Natalie Haas at Alasdair Fraser's Skye Fiddle Camp and also plays with the celtic group “Sassenach” and the hit Quebec show “Hommage à Nirvana”.

Morning Star presents trad music from Niel Gow and Robbie Burns to Calvin Vollrath and Charlie Chamberlain with passion and creativity.

Iron Brew

Gordon Fisch and Marie-Claude Simard with Michael Quinn, Barbara and Iain MacDonald

For several years in the 1990s IRON BREW was a staple of Celtic shows in Regina and area, featuring hard-driving pipe tunes mixed with classic covers and original material. Iron Brew was one of three local bands recorded live off the sound system for The Regina Folk Festival CD, and in 1998 recorded and released an independent CD "Are You My Sister?" that continues to be played on local radio, after initially reaching as far as BBC Scotland.

The original lineup featured the late Tim Dixon, who was an amazing drummer. "Captain Drummer Tim" will be there in spirit though, and we're looking forward to a reunion set!


poster20Wendy MacIsaac is a renowned fiddler from Cape Breton who has been playing music for more than 30 years. She is recognized as one of the “old school” style of players who has kept the traditional sound going and has a deep respect for it. Wendy is also a sought after piano accompanist and step dancer. Besides performing as a solo artist, Wendy records and tours in a critically acclaimed and award-winning band with Mary Jane Lamond and Cathy Porter. She is a founding member of Beòlach, and has also performed with The Cape Breton Summertime Revue, Capercaillie, The Chieftains, Ashley MacIsaac, and toured with Heather Rankin and The Rankin Sisters. Wendy has recorded on more than 20 albums (including four of her own, two with Beòlach, and one with her and Mary Jane), and is in high demand for her skills at teaching the Cape Breton style of fiddling, and most recently, for producing albums as well.

Mac Morin is a dancer and piano player from Troy, Cape Breton. Starting out as a talented dancer, Mac became interested in piano as a teenager. He has gone on to tour around the world with Natalie MacMaster and Beòlach while continuing to travel widely to teach Cape Breton step dancing. Mac has appeared on numerous artists’ recordings including Natalie MacMaster, Yo Yo Ma, The Rankins, Buddy MacMaster, Troy MacGillivray and released his own solo album in 2003. A past Artist in Residence (2014), Mac has hardly missed a year of Celtic Colours and he always has plenty to do to keep him busy during the Festival. This year he will be performing with his band Beòlach, one of the 2019 Artists in Residence, as well as teaming up with bandmate Matt MacIsaac for a night of pipe tunes at the Pub. Mac will also join Glenn Graham and Rodney MacDonald for Ashley’s Favourites and take a turn on piano for the This is Howie Do It! concert.

Biographies courtesy Cape Breton Colours Festival

Photography by Ryan MacDonald Photography


poster19 8002018 was a breakout year for prairie favourites WEST OF MABOU, and they were nominated for Western Canada Music Awards, Canadian Folk Music Awards, and released their second full recording, this one produced by Wendy MacIsaac. WOM were great, and had the house dancing for a good part of the night.

This year the CRPB played an arrangement of Pachelbel's Canon by Winnipeg piper, singer, composer and arranger Gord Taylor. Gord made it for the band about 10 years previously, and last year we had just the right people to pull it off.

Here's the video.



poster18How do you improve on a weekend with the incomparable Fred Morrison? We did it in 2018 by adding long-time MWCF friend Troy MacGillivray, who had a sold out workshop and a brilliant set on stage at the Ceilidh. As a bonus, he also accompanied the City of Regina Pipe Band in our "Black Donald's Suite" piece, which was a lot of fun. 

Fred gave another outstanding performance, and shot the lights out once again with his expressive, amazing playing on Highland pipes, uilleann pipes and Low D whistle.









poster17We've had some cool performers, performances and years at the MWCF over the years, and this was definitely a highlight. Fred Morrison delivered a jaw-dropping performance to a sold-out hall, and it was also a pretty special year for the pipe band, which was celebrating its 25th Anniversary. We can't say enough about Fred as a performer—he puts everything in, and the result is amazing for the audience. 

Fred played uilleann pipes, Highland pipes and Low  whistle, and he fills in all kinds of contextual details about the music and his life that gives the audience more than just some good playing.










The Cape Breton-style fiddle and pipe music band is made up of five members with Scott Benson and Roberta Wallace playing the fiddles, Alex Rasmussen playing the pipes/whistles, Justin Easton on guitar, and Jared Dormer on the drums.

Dormer said that the group met at an "Irish session in Regina, and we kinda found that we worked well together. So we just started playing more and more together and eventually formed a band".

The group has been playing together for the past six months and has been officially named for the past three months. They named their band after a small town in Nova Scotia, on the west side of Cape Breton island, that was famous for their style of music.




MWCF2015This Saskatoon band has been playing together for more than six years in this format and is one of the major Celtic bands in this province. Each of the five members is a multi-instrumentalist as well as a vocalist, which is in part the reason for this band’s unique sound and arrangements.

The rich repertoire of music reaches from traditional tunes from the 1700s to bar favorites, with plenty of instrumentals and songs in between. Due to unique instrumentation and instrument changes and the high caliber of musicians, many tunes and songs have been re-arranged and made into a delightful experience and entertainment for the listeners.

Ted Leighton, the founding member of the Residuals, is also a renowned dance caller for Ceili dancing – the Irish version of line dance. The Band has performed at the Scottish Pavilion at the Saskatoon Folk fest for several years now, has regular gigs at the local Winston’s Pub and has played at the Basement as well as many other venues in Saskatoon and across the province. Performances also include traditional weddings, wakes and funerals, as well as birthday parties and last but not least celebrations for St Patrick, Robert Burns and Alexander Keith. The music of this band is a treat for all ages.

The Residuals are: Ted Leighton (Uillian pipes, whistles, guitar, bodhran and vocals); Meaghan Haughian (flutes, whistles, mandolin, bodhran and vocals); Jeremy Cook (fiddle, viola, banjo, mandolin and vocals);  Rob McInnis (banjo, mandolin, octave mandolin, guitar and vocals), and Rick Kroener (guitars, mandolin, bodhran and vocals).



MWCFposter webMairi Rankin

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, a sideman and was a member of the Cape Breton Celtic group Beolach. She has 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, 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 is currently living in British Columbia and is teaching at the Sabir Sister's Music Studio in Abbotsford. She is also part of The Outside Track, a 5 piece Celtic band with members hailing from Scotland, Ireland and Canada.

Wendy MacIsaac
“Fiddler Wendy MacIsaac showed her mastery of the
wildly varied cadences of the Cape Breton fiddling style”
- Michael Parish, The Chicago Tribune

Wendy MacIsaac is a fiddler/piano player/stepdancer from Creignish, Cape Breton, Canada. Wendy has been touring all over the world for the last ten years with Mary Jane Lamond, Ashley MacIsaac, Beolach and as a solo performer.
She has performed in Italy, Brazil, the UK, Ireland, Iceland, Eastern Europe and all over North America. Wendy’s recordings include ‘The Reel Thing’ (1994), ‘That’s What You Get’ (1996) and her latest album ‘Timeline’ (2003). Beolach has recorded a self-titled album (2001), and Wendy is featured prominently on the recordings of Mary Jane Lamond.

Wendy began performing at age 5 as a stepdancer. At age 12, she began fiddle lessons with Stan Chapman. By age fifteen, Wendy was playing dances all over Cape Breton island and forming the sound that makes her so recognizable today. She soon began travelling further, to Boston, Detroit, and Toronto, to play for the popular Cape Breton dances in those areas.

At this time, Wendy also developed a strong reputation as a piano player and has accompanied just about all of the Cape Breton fiddlers of her generation.
In 1995 she began touring with the Cape Breton Summertime Revue and has made the road her second home ever since. Wendy has performed with the Chieftains, Capercaillie and Buddy MacMaster, to name a few. Her skills as a teacher are also in high demand at festivals worldwide, whether for fiddle, piano, or stepdancing; she is always happy to share her music and experience with others.

As manager and member of the five piece instrumental group Beolach, Wendy is able to take the traditional music of Cape Breton to the rest of the world with a larger format and a youthful energy. While Wendy MacIsaac may draw inspiration from her past; her future looks brighter than ever.

For More Information, visit Wendy's web site at:


mwcf poster13This was one of those days when an unexpected problem threw us for a loop. Troy MacGillivray's plane was delayed due to weather in Seattle, he missed his Vancouver connection, and was unable to get to Regina in time for the Ceilidh!

The show featured a performance of new and old music from hosts The City of Regina Pipe Band, followed by sets from a hugely talented band featuring Saskatoon fiddler KarrnellJake Charron from Ontario on guitar and piano, bassist Daniel Koulack from Manitoba and Sarah Robinson, a Canadian Champion Ottawa Valley stepdancer. They were joined for a few sets by Scott Benson and we also crowned a new Champion Highlander in a great contest featuring Ceilidh guests pitting their Scottish skills against one another.






2012 posterWe went with  "local" show in 2012, featuring three southern-Sask bands with varying styles. Downbeat featured Ray Bell on guitar and a handful of great fiddlers playing old tyme, bluegrass, Celtic and just great, top-tapping fiddle music. This was followed by the Scott Benson Band, featuring Scott Benson playing Cape Breton-style fiddle, with amazing keyboard and percussion background, and also featuring Iain and Barb MacDonald on reelpipes, smallpipes, Uilleann pipes and whistles. The night rocked out with Regina's Celtica, featuring brothers Cade and Rob Stewart, along with piper Ryan Durning and others doing originals and covers from AC/DC and many more. It was a great night of ecclectic sounds.




2011 posterLizzy Hoyt is an award-winning Canadian vocalist and songwriter who also happens rank among the top Celtic instrumentalists in the country. With the voice of an angel, Lizzy delivers music and stories with soaring melodies rooted in Celtic and folk traditions.

Lizzy’s fourth album New Lady on the Prairie (produced by John Reischman and Lizzy Hoyt; to be released Oct. 1st, 2014) demonstrates a mature and refined ‘transatlantic’ sound that blends influences from Celtic, bluegrass and folk traditions. The title track, inspired by Lizzy’s great great aunt immigrating to Canada from Ireland in the early 1900s, demonstrates her ability to craft songs that are touching, poignant, and lyrically rich. Her arrangements are detailed and atmospheric, and her talents as a multi-instrumentalist are featured in spades. The album also features some of Canada’s finest musicians including John Reischman, Ivan Rosenberg, Joe Phillips, Christine Hanson, Jeremiah McDade and more.

Lizzy’s music has been recognized on both the national and international level. She won “Best Female Artist” at the 8th International Acoustic Music Awards (a contest that saw over 11 000 applicants), was a Canadian Folk Music Award Nominee for “Traditional Singer of the Year” and has been named a finalist in both the John Lennon Songwriting Contest and the USA Songwriting Competition. In addition to these, Lizzy was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal by the Governor General of Canada for her outstanding contribution to commemorating Canadian veterans and history through music.


2010 poster


Scott Benson recorded and released a couple of CDs of Cape Breton style fiddling, and the band brings keyboard, percussion, reelpipes, uilleann pipes, and whistles into the mix. We had a great night of tunes and fun featuring some cracking long dance sets from Scott and the band.







2009 posterEvery year, the festival brings in a headline guest to play the Ceilidh and contribute a workshop or another session during the day. We always try to book energetic and engaging performers from various parts of Canada. This year we are proud to present Circling Over Shannon. As well as their performance at the Ceilidh, members of the band will be at The Alexander Keith's Kitchen Party at O'Hanlon's on Saturday afternoon. Check out the band's MySpace site to hear some tunes, or have a look at a fall performance at O'Hanlon's on YouTube.

Circling over Shannon is driven by the two fiery fiddles of Lighthouse Penguin alumni Skye Lennox and Ryan Spracklin and fuelled by the high octane strumming of Michael Hughes on bouzouki and guitar. This is accelerated by the frenetic freestyle drumming of Matt Bradford on bodhran. Skye Lennox is a veteran of the Celtic music scene in Saskatoon. Skye fiddled with Siamsa, Saskatoon’s favourite Celtic band of the nineties, and was a founding member of the Lighthouse Penguins. Skye is currently the only certified Irish fiddle instructor in Western Canada and takes great pleasure in imparting her fiddle knowledge and experience to some 30 students of all ages. Michael Hughes originally hails from Glasgow, Scotland and fell in love with the Celtic music scene in Saskatoon becoming a founding member of the Lighthouse Penguins in 1999. He is a regular player at the many Irish music sessions and ceilis throughout the year, and continues to enjoy original composition with his solo project “Jellicoe Street”. A 3rd generation drummer, Matthew Bradford has been playing the bodhran for the past 18 years. Matthew’s drumming skills were mentored from day one by his grandfather and Siamsa bodhran player, Wayne Bradford. Notorious for his frenetic freestyle technique and roof raising solos, Matthew has had the privilege of playing with a host of great musicians. One career highlight includes being asked to stay and play the night away with fiddle and button accordion legends Frankie Gavin and Sharon Shannon at a session in Galway, Ireland. Ryan Spracklin has been playing the fiddle since he was a wee tiny lad. A founding member of the Lighthouse Penguins, he is delighted to be reunited with Skye Lennox to cook up a blistering unison fiddle sound. Ryan has a passion for live entertainment of all genres. It was this zeal that led him to pursue a career as a stage technician and musician. Having lived in Edmonton and Halifax, he has had the pleasure of playing with an assortment of fine celtic players, and is delighted to be back once more in his home town to soak in the vibrant live music scene the city and province have to offer.


The City of Regina Pipe Band has been Saskatchewan's champion pipe band since 1992, and has also won prizes in the North American Pipe Band Championship, and at Highland Games across Canada and in the USA and Scotland. 

Laura sm


We are excited to have Irish dancer Laura Buckley performing at the Ceilidh. Laura is a long-time resident of Saskatoon, and will be performing along with Circling Over Shannon. Laura has recently moved to Regina, and is teaching dancing here. A little bit about Laura from the dance web site: Laura Buckley (T.C.R.G.) was a longtime student of the Blakey School. Laura competed in the Open Championship level for many years, having won first place championships and top-five Oireachtas placements numerous times. She also medalled at North Americans and represented our school at Worlds. Laura qualified for her T.C.R.G. in 2007, while also completing full time University courses. Laura inspires us all with her enthusiasm and energy, she is a great role model for our young dancers.


Guitarist/piper/composer Gord Taylor

Highland dancer Eilidh MacDonald



poster07Fiddler Shona Le Mottée started playing at the age of seven on the Island of Jersey, in the English Channel. At age nine she moved to Vancouver, Canada where she continued to develop her music under fiddling greats such as Alasdair Fraser, Buddy MacMaster, Bruce Molsky, Daniel Lapp, and Martin Hayes. In September, 1995, Shona was chosen to join the internationally known Canadian Celtic-pop group, “The Paperboys”. During the 2 ½ years she was with the band, she toured extensively throughout North America playing on stages from Vancouver and San Francisco to Halifax and New York.

She has performed at sold-out festivals and venues such as: The Boston Irish Festival, the Vancouver Folk Music and Celtic Festivals, the Toronto Harbourfront and Celtic Festivals, the Victoria Celtic Festival, the Owen Sound Folk Festival, the Kentucky Folk Festival, the Seattle Folklife and Bumbershoot Festivals, the Spectrum in Montreal, the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver, the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, and many more. Shona was also part of the du Maurier Concert Series, the Huron Carol Concert Series, and the MuchMusic Canadian benefit tour for AIDS. During the summer of 1997, Shona recorded the album “Molinos” with The Paperboys. It was released on the Stony Plain/Warner Canada label and won the Canadian Juno Award in March 1998 for “The Best Roots and Traditional Album – Group” category. Shona also recorded two music videos with The Paperboys which were broadcast across the country on “CMT” and “MuchMusic”. She has made appearances on radio and T.V. shows such as: CBC radio, Terminal City (CBC TV), Muchmusic in Vancouver, Toronto, Halifax, and San Francisco, the Vicki Gabreau Show (TV), the CMT Rockin’ Country Series (TV), Entertainment Desk in Toronto (TV), Breakfast Television in Toronto and Vancouver, and numerous other radio stations in Canada and the USA. In 1998/99, Shona performed with “Micheal Flatley’s Lord of the Dance” at the New York, NY Casino in Las Vegas and at Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

More recently, Shona has performed and recorded with several local Canadian bands such as “Fear of Drinking”, “Tim Readman”, “Alpha YaYa Dialo”, “The Town Pants”, and “Mad Pudding”. Shona is also in great demand as a fiddle teacher. She has been teaching privately for over 13 years and was the founder and director of the Vancouver Scottish Fiddle Club which ran successfully for six years. During the summers of 2002 - 2004, Shona was invited to teach at the Coast Strings Fiddle School in British Columbia and the Rocky Mountain Fiddle Camp in Denver, Colorado. At these schools she was on staff with some of the best fiddlers in the world such as: Bruce Molsky, Seamus Connelly, Richard Greene, Iain Fraser, Pierre Schryer, Andy Stein, and Sandy MacIntyre. Throughout 2006/2007, Shona will be teaching fiddle lessons in Vancouver and Victoria, BC. In March of 2005, Shona released her debut solo album, "Destination Grouville." Visit Shona's web site.


2006 posterThe Mid-Winter Celtic Festival welcomed fiddler Ashley MacLeod from Glengarry, Ontario! Ashley performed at the Ceilidh with her cousin Kelsey McDonell, and they gave a great performance for the capacity crowd! During the day, Ashley conducted a fiddle workshop attended by enthusiastic fiddlers from around Saskatchewan. This summer, Ashley released her latest CD "Hold Fast" [The motto of the Clan MacLeod] and you can get copies here.





2005 - IRON BREW

2004 poster




It was time. We featured a reunion performance of former Festival band Iron Brew in 2005, and it was a highly anticipated, and very much enjoyed night of music. We had all the old tunes, and lots of the fun, with some new twists. We did a song for Tim ["No Woman, No Cry"] and the Bic lighters were in full action.



Phil1Former front man for "Scatter the Mud" was the main act in 2004, and we also had a set from Saskatoon singer and Festival friend Eileen Laverty. We were also thrilled to have 9-times World Highland Dance Champion Colleen Rintamaki. Colleen performed at the Ceilidh, and conducted a Highland dance workshop on Sunday.








2003 posterIn 2003, we had Jennifer Roland and her band out from Cape Breton, and she entertained at the Ceilidh and put on a great fiddle workshop. Jennifer is a lovely player, a great dancer, and a very solid entertainer, and her band was excellent.

 Stephen McAteer

teaching sm2003 was also a great year for irish dance at the Festival. We were honoured to have former World and All-Ireland Champion Stephen McAteer at the Festival. From the Toronto area, Stephen has won many Canadian and north American titles,a nd was also part of the Riverdance show that toured North America. He was a fabulour worshop instructor, and an all-round great guy to have at the Festival.  




penguinsThe Lighthouse Penguins is a four-piece Celtic group from Saskatoon. Skye Lennox fiddle Margaret Leighton bodhran, accordion Ryan Spracklin fiddle Michael Hughes guitar, bouzouki, vocals The Lighthouse Penguins deliver a turbocharged mix of infectious reels, jigs and songs while staying true to the spirit of the Celtic tradition. They performed at the Festival two years ago, and they have been delivering great entertainment since at ceilidhs, Highland Games, pubs, festivals, and dance parties across the prairies.  


seanachie1998 & 2001 - SEANACHIE

The Calgary band Seanachie has made a couple of appearances at the MWCF, and they always bring a great time and good music to the Ceilidh. City of Regina Pipe Band member Ann Gray performs on Highland pipes, smallpipes, whistles, mandolin and vocals, and front man Gordon McCulloch takes you on a journey you won't forget. Regulars include Peter Clark on bass and guitar, and Robin Tufts on any kind of percussion! Visit their web site, and check out the 2002 release "A Parting Cup".



scatter smiling smSadly enough, the 2001 MWCF was the last public performance for the Calgary-based band Scatter the Mud. Named after a great old tune, this was a favourite band across Canada, from PEI to BC. Their self-titled debut CD made a big splash on Canadian airwaves, and they had a couple more good ones to follow. The members are all happy (we're told) and prospering, and we'll have to be content with happy memories!   



kendra1Kendra MacGillivray was born and raised in Antigonish, The Highland Heart of Nova Scotia. Music and dance have always been a major part of Kendra's life and along with her family, she has performed at various concerts and ceilidhs playing the music of her Scottish ancestors. One such pioneer was her grandfather, Hugh A. MacDonald, who recorded Scottish fiddle music in 1935 and 1936 on the Celtic Music Label. Kendra learned to play many of the tunes which he played and continues to keep the music alive through playing, teaching and promoting.   We were really fortunate to have Kendra and Troy MacGillivray out to the Festival, and what a great show they put on! They also taught fiddle tunes at the workshop, and did impromptu Cape Breton dance instruction at the ceilidh!    

Other Years....  Iron Brew Regina band Iron Brew played at a few festivals, including the year they released their CD "Are You My Sister?" Fronted by Gord Fisch [guitar/mandolin/lead vocals], and supported by Mike Quinn [bodhran/vocals], Barbara MacDonald [whistles/vocals], Iain MacDonald [Highland and uilleann pipes] and Tim "Captain Drummer" Dixon {percussion----sadly, Tim passed away in 2001], the band cooked up a frothy brew of hard-driving jigs and reels, mournful ballads, and just plain fun. 



Saskatoon's Eileen Laverty broke onto the Canadian music scene after being a shy local star for years. Her beautiful voice and passionate lyrics are a soulful mix, and the hint of an Irish accent gives her package authenticity on top of her technical brilliance. Since appearing at the Festival, Eileen released her acclaimed CD Dancing With Angels, and she has toured Canada, toured Ireland with Mary Black, and had Mary perform one of her songs on her "best of" CD. Not bad!  


Originally from Ontario, now resident in Tugaske, SK. "TC" and Dave do a lot of performing and touring, and they have multi-instrument show that's worht seeing whenever you get the chance.


Paddy's great ballads and traditional instrumentation have been a part of the Saskatchewan folk scene for many years, and we were very pleased to have Paddy perform at one of the Ceilidhs.