One of the hugely influential Rankin Family - legends on the Canadian music scene - Mairi plays fiddle, sings and also step-dances up a storm. Born in Mabou, Nova Scotia, she has been influenced by some of the best Cape Breton traditional musicians and instructors on the island.
Mairi 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 and currently tours with The Outside Track.
Seán Gray is a flute, whistle and guitar player from the small village of Coylton near the south west coast of Scotland. Since spending a year at the prestigious National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music (Sgoil Chiùil na Gàidhealtachd) he has toured and played to audiences throughout the world. Most of this time has been spent playing with the award winning Paul McKenna Band who were cited by The New York Times as: "The best folk band to have come out of Scotland in the last twenty years”. Seán was commissioned to write a piece of music for the highly respected New Voices concert series at the 2017 Celtic Connections festival held in Glasgow. He is soon to be releasing his debut EP "The Waiting Room".
Nathalie Arsenault is an Acadian stepdancer from Charlottetown, PEI. Her Acadian style of stepdancing has evolved over the years, as she developed her own unique style of dance that includes mostly improvised, percussive steps that complement the rhythm and feel of the music. She will be teaching traditional steps, as well as some originals, and will be gearing her lessons toward the level and interest of the group.
Andre was born and raised in Lacolle in Québec’s Montérégie region. André’s unwavering energy and refined style earned him a spot with ten piece band La Bottine Souriante with whom he toured more than 15 countries over the course of 10 years. Although his journey with La Bottine Souriante came to an end in 2006, André remained immersed in traditional music and he is currently playing with his former colleagues from La Bottine Souriante: Pierre-Luc Dupuis and Éric Beaudry in the group De Temps Antan. At the Canadian Grand Masters Fiddling Competition in 2008, André took home top honours as “Canadian Grand Master”. By pushing the boundaries of music and by continuing to rise in the musical world, Andre's passion for traditional Québécois music is equaled only by its irresistible desire to play the violin and to carry the soul of a deeply rooted historical and prestigious tradition.
The fiddle is the most played instrument in Acadian traditional music. In this class, students will learn the style and techniques from the Magdalen Island’s Acadian fiddle style. With very distinct and unique bowing technique and an east coast french swing, Pascal will teach step by step how to play the high energy music that makes people want to dance. A repertoire of Acadian tunes from the Magdalen Island and PEI will be taught.
Prince Edward Island’s J.J. Chaisson is without any doubt a talented multi-instrumental musician. He has collaborated on award winning recordings, acted as front man for a Celtic rock band, and toured widely as a solo artist. It is not possible to put into words what this man can do with his fiddle and guitar. The ‘Fiddling Fisherman’ has taught at music camps all over Canada and the United States and we’re pleased to have his talent and charm at this year’s first ever Rollo Bay Music Camp.
Composer, dancer and accordionist Pastelle LeBlanc is among the most accomplished Acadian musicians of her generation. Raised in the heart of the small Francophone village of Mont Carmel, Pastelle was surrounded with traditional music from an early age. By her mid-teens she was touring professionally as an Acadian dancer throughout North America and by her early twenties, Pastelle had mastered her grandfather’s instrument – the accordion. She brings to it a percussive, melodic right hand, indicative of her formal dance background, and with her left hand, a strong sense of harmony that stems from her formal piano training. She has shared stages and recorded with several internationally touring groups and her compositions have been featured on a wide-ranging list of sources from American television (ESPN) to the Japanese film, Finding Anne.
As well as playing fiddle and singing in The East Pointers, Tim Chaisson is also an accomplished singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He released the most accomplished record of his career – the many-sided country/folk/pop opus Lost in Light, which reached #1 on the iTunes Country Chart in 2015. Tim has taught at many music camps all over the world and is very excited to be teaching fiddle at the Rollo Bay Music Camp.
As a member of The East Pointers, Jake Charron has also been in high demand as a multi-instrumentalist, playing guitar and piano with the likes of Shane Cook, Troy MacGillivray, and Liz Carroll. His recently released duo album with Shane Cook entitled “Head to Head” was nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award. Hailing from Ontario, Jake has taught at many camps in Canada, the United States and Europe. We’re excited to have him for a few days at the Rollo Bay Music Camp!
Composer and dancer Emmanuelle LeBlanc is one of the most accomplished female multi-instrumentalists in folk music today. As a percussionist, she is a widely recognised master of podorythmie and was touring internationally as a professional percussive dancer by the age of fifteen. Raised in the musically-rich Evangeline region of Prince Edward Island, Emmanuelle grew up on the traditional instrumentals of her people. She has pioneered her melodic instrument of choice – the tin whistle – in both Acadian music and has become its chief exponent throughout Canada. As a seasoned touring musician, Emmanuelle has performed at thousands of concerts worldwide and recorded on over a dozen records.
Koady Chaisson, growing up amongst his musical cousins and uncles, has played traditional music most of his life. As the tenor banjo for The East Pointers, he has played guitar along side his fiddle playing brother J.J, and toured the world playing bass in Tim Chaisson’s solo project. Koady will be teaching tunes on the tenor banjo at the Rollo Bay Music Camp.
Darren Chaisson is finishing up his fourth year as the music director at Souris Regional School. He has been playing fiddle for seven years and loves every minute of it. He is very excited to be working with the age group 10 and under. Darren has just came off a great winter teaching both privately and in the local “Kitchen Group”. If you know someone starting out, don’t let them miss a chance to have Darren share his knowledge and passion with them.
Ward MacDonald grew up in the Scottish fiddling traditions of Prince Edward Island. His playing reflects four generations of family fiddling and is spiced with a unique blend of Cape Breton, Acadian, and Irish influences. He has been featured at concerts, festivals, and square dances across Atlantic Canada and has traveled with his music as far as Cuba and the Bahamas. He has also taught and performed at fiddle camps in New Brunswick, Vermont, Maine, Colorado and the Yukon.