Ryan MacNeil grew up in a musical environment in Sydney Mines. After spending a number of years recording and touring with Slàinte Mhath—a popular Cape Breton-based Celtic fusion band—Ryan and his brother Boyd joined their siblings in The Barra MacNeils. Although best-known for his innovative piano accompaniment, Ryan also plays percussion, Uilleann pipes, tin whistle, bodhran, and step dances. He has been living in South Africa the past seven years and while there, he released a self-titled album with South African guests and composed and recorded many tunes. His arrival back to Cape Breton has him fully immersed into the Celtic culture of the Cape Breton Island including traditional sessions at Island Folk Cider House, square dances, guest appearances with The Barra MacNeils, and a summer-time reunion of Slàinte Mhath.