One of the hugely influential Rankin Family – legends on the Canadian music scene – she plays fiddle, sings and also step-dances up a storm. 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. She has toured nationally and internationally as a solo artist, a sideman and is a member of the Cape Breton Celtic super group Beolach. She has performed with the Rankin Sisters, Unusual Suspects and Bruce Guthro to name but a few. Mairi has recorded one solo album, two CDs with Beolach and has been featured on numerous compilations and recordings
Teresa Horgan, from Co. Cork, has an emotive singing style. “She has just enough world weariness in her vocals to interpret…songs and make them her own.” – Tony Lawless, Tradconnect. Teresa was immersed in music from a young age, playing with her family and later went on to obtain an honours degree in Irish Music and Dance at the University of Limerick. She recorded two albums with award-winning Irish band, ‘FullSet’, and one album with guitarist, Matt Griffin, called ‘Brightest Sky Blue’. She was also privileged to perform on the prestigious TV show, ‘The Late Late show’. She has toured extensively and shared the stage with The Chieftains, Declan O’Rourke, Andy Irvine, Lúnasa and more.
From the Highland village of Evanton, Fiona Black developed a love of music and dance from a young age. The feisean movement provided her the opportunity to nurture her passion through learning to play the piano accordion. Fiona went on to attend the National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music where she honed her skills as an accordionist and gained valuable experience arranging, performing, composing and recording. Fiona set off for Limerick in 2005 where she completed a BA with Honours in Irish Music and Dance. During this degree, Fiona further developed her skills as a performer, arranger, teacher and composer while also traveling to Cape Breton during her third year of studies. Fiona’s accordion style incorporates many different influences, intertwining her native Scottish style with Irish, Swedish and Cape Breton repertoire, always adding her distinctive rhythm and vibrancy.
Ailie Robertson from Edinburgh is widely regarded as one of Scotland’s leading young traditional musicians. She is a musician in the broadest sense: composer, arranger, teacher, improviser and harp virtuoso. Her accomplishment on the clarsach is such that leading Irish flautist Niall Keegan said: “Ailie’s synthesis of Irish, Scottish and contemporary harping technique into an individual style represents the realisation of otherwise unimagined possibilities for the Celtic harp.” Ailie grew up in Edinburgh, Scotland, and was immersed in the harp world from an early age. She began playing the clarsach when she was eleven years old and through her piano and clarsach lessons she developed a love for both classical and traditional music. In 2009 she was nominated for ‘Up and Coming Artist of the Year’ in the BBC Alba Scots Trad Music Awards. Ailie is in great demand as a teacher around the world, and has published six books of harp music.
Michael Ferrie is an award-winning guitarist and composer from Callander, Scotland. A former student of Sgoil Chiùil na Gàidhealtachd (National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music) and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Ferrie is currently studying on the MMus Folk Music program at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland. Ferrie was named Highland Young Guitarist in 2010. In 2013 Ferrie was commissioned to compose for the Royal Scottish National Orchestra’s ‘Out and About’ week, and in the same year was nominated for the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award with Scottish folk band ‘Thalla’.