Celtic Colours kicks o Friday
British folk musician Kate Rusby a headliner for the C.B. music and culture fest
One of the great shining lights of the modern British folk music scene, Barnsley singer Kate Rusby has been high on the list of Celtic Colours International Festival attendees’ want list almost since the event began over 20 years ago.
Coincidentally, the year Celtic Colours began also marked the start of Rusby’s solo career, when her 1997 album Hourglass brought her affecting, impossibly gorgeous lilt to the forefront, the rst of 16 albums (four of them Christmas releases) that showcased a keen ear for updating timeless ballads, and an insightful songwriting talent as well.
Travelling long distances was never Rusby’s favourite activity, pointed out by the title of her 2005 album e Girl Who Couldn’t Fly. But she and her band take to the skies next week to help close out Celtic Colours, which begins Friday with an all-star opening concert at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre, opening the floodgates to a host of musical performances and community events across Cape Breton Island.
Rusby and co. perform on Friday, Oct. 12 as part of Fiddle and Folk Friday at the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre at 7:30 p.m. (with Jason Macdonald, Dwayne Cote and Ur: e Future of Our Past) and at e Grand Finale at Sydney’s Centre 200 on Saturday, Oct. 13 (alongside Mary Jane Lamond and Wendy Macisaac, Phil Cunningham and Change of Step).
For the Yorkshire singer affec- tionately known as the Barnsley Nightingale, she feels it was only a matter of time until her voice rang out across the autumn-painted hills of Cape Breton in October.
“We’ve been hearing about it for years, mostly from friends who’ve been there when we meet up at other folk festivals, primarily our own Celtic Connections over here,” she says over the line from her home near the village of Penistone.
“ ey keep telling us, ‘Oh, you’ve got to get to Celtic Colours, Cape Breton is a fantastic place,’ and so it’s been on our radar for quite some time.”
Given the unique nature of Celtic Colours and its use of all of Cape Breton as its backdrop – the description reminds Rusby of the Shetland Folk Festival in the remote North Scotland archipelago – she’ll probably bringing home a new organizational idea or two, and possibly some musical ones as well.
On Rusby’s last release of new material, 2016’s Life In a Paper Boat, she wrote and sang the haunting title track after being moved by stories from the ongoing refugee crisis overseas. Like other songs on the record, it also featured the sound of a Moog synthesizer, used subtly to enhance the mood and provide some otherworldly atmosphere, but not employed to the point of distraction.
For more on her and her music, visit www.katerusby.com.
British folk singer Kate Rusby is part of the Celtic Colours 2018 lineup. Contributed.