Natalie Macmaster & Donnell leahy
Together, they are Canada’s reigning couple of Celtic music. Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy have racked up more Junos and ECMAs than one mantlepiece can handle. Their mutual love of the fiddle has been the gift that keeps on giving; from their beloved Christmas Tour, an accompanying TV special, to their Greenbridge Celtic Folk Fest, and a Road Gold Award from the Canadian Independent Music Association; the musical milestones just keep coming. 2015 saw the release of their first recording as a duo. The record, titled "One" was their crowning achievement, bolstering their career combined album sales of over one million.
Both consummate professionals, they have collaborated with the likes of Yo-Yo Ma, Alison Krauss, and Béla Fleck and have gathered awards and accolades ranging from the Order of Canada to honorary doctorates. Together with their fiddling and dancing family of eight, they have crested the peak of traditional music, winning hearts from Sydney, Nova Scotia to Sydney, Australia.
Old man luedecke
Hailing from Chester, Nova Scotia, singer-songwriter and banjo player Old Man Luedecke is a two-time Juno award-winning artist, taking home Solo Roots and Traditional Album of the Year for ‘Proof of Love’ (2009) and ‘My Hands are on Fire and Other Love Songs’ (2011). His 2012 album ‘Tender is the Night’ took home Folk Album of the Year from Music Nova Scotia. He’s also toured as a member of the Pan-Canadian New Folk Ensemble with Kim Barlow and Christine Fellows. One of Canada’s most acclaimed and unique roots personalities, he’s well known for his virtuosic banjo playing and wry storytelling.
Scottish-born Canadian carpenter-turned-songwriter David Francey is ‘one of Canada’s most revered folk poets and singers’ (Toronto Star). His impressive discography includes 11 albums, with 3 Juno Awards along the way. He’s received the SOCAN Folk Music Award, and a grand prize John Lennon Songwriting Award and International Acoustic Music Award. He’s worked across the country in rail yards and construction sites, writing poetry and melodies in his head, emerging as a documentarian of the working person who never imagined earning a living from his music.
Storytelling through song is a fundamental duty of traditional music, and Newfoundlander Matthew Byrne does this brilliantly. His repertoire has been shaped by his musical upbringing with parents that were both singers and song collectors, and Byrne supports this tradition with powerful vocals, polished guitar work, and a presence that fills the room. His fascination with unearthing and reimagining traditional songs has led to two Canadian Folk Music Awards for Traditional Album of the Year.
Born and raised in Launching, PEI, Jesse was born into a fourth generation lobster fishing family, instilling an early appreciation for all things local. He attended the Culinary Institute of Canada, and upon graduating in 2010, spent time apprenticing under well-known chefs and establishments. He then broadened his culinary horizons with stops in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, France, Italy and Spain. In Spring of 2018, he became Executive Chef at Rodd Crowbush Golf & Beach Resort and the Corporate Culinary Ambassador for Rodd Hotels & Resorts. In 2018, he was named Chef of the Year from Tourism PEI and is our reigning 2019 Setting Day Culinary Festival Chef of the Year. Jesse is a support chef instructor at his alma-mater, and remains passionate about continuing to build momentum on ‘Canada’s Food Island’