Since 2001, Celtic Colours has incorporated a pair of Artists in Residence who contribute to specific elements of the Festival’s programming. This year’s Artists in Residence are well-known to Celtic Colours audiences. Troy MacGillivray, from Antigonish County, and Irish flautist and singer Nuala Kennedy each have a long history with the Festival.
Troy will be joined by siblings Kendra and Sabra MacGillivray while Nuala’s performances will include Tara Breen (fiddle), Tony Byrne (guitar), and dancer Siobhán Butler. Troy and Nuala have been busy over the last few months via Zoom chats and Facetime calls to plan some one-of-a-kind, trans-Atlantic collaborations.
Troy MacGillivray is from Lanark, a small community on the north-eastern shore of Nova Scotia. Troy’s commitment to music has spanned 30 years and includes both practical and academic accomplishments–most recently an M.A. in Ethnomusicology from the University of Limerick in Ireland. From as young as six years old, Troy was impressing audiences with his step dancing and soon after, fiddle and piano skills. His first teaching gig was at 13 years old at Colaisde na Gàidhlig/the Gaelic College in St. Ann’s, Cape Breton. His roots-centered approach comes from a family of proud Scottish heritage where fiddle playing and Gaelic traditions runs in the bloodline. In 2012, Troy was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal for contributions to culture in Canada. Troy’s strong career has brought him around the world playing and teaching from the North Pole to Afghanistan, while his solo recordings have received numerous nominations and awards from the East Coast Music Association and the Canadian Folk Music Awards. Troy has performed at Celtic Colours 21 times since 1997.
World-renowned traditional singer and flute player Nuala Kennedy grew up playing Irish music in Dundalk, County Louth and currently resides in Ennis, County Clare with her Appalachian singer husband A. J. Roach and their two young children. Her fourth solo release, Behave the Bravest (2016), received accolades from reviewers and fans around the globe. Known for her creative reworking and reimagining of traditional songs and for her unique Irish flute style—formed in Dundalk and honed in her long-time adopted home of Edinburgh, Scotland—Nuala is a musical adventurer who is recognized world-wide as a superlative performer of traditional music. Her latest recording, Sun Dogs (2019), is a live album made by Snowflake Trio, a group she co-founded with Norwegian musicians Vegar Vårdal and Frode Haltli. Since 2002, Nuala has performed at Celtic Colours solo and with Fine Friday, the Unusual Suspects of Celtic Colours, Snowflake Trio, Oirialla and The Alt.