James Keelaghan is among today’s most-esteemed Canadian folksinger-songwriters. A Juno Award [Canadian Grammy] -winner, he has been hailed as “Canada’s finest songwriter” by Dave Marsh, a noted American music critic and historian. Others consider Keelaghan a poet laureate of the Canadian folk and roots music world. “[His] is a voice in contemporary Canadian songwriting that has helped us define who we are as a people,” says David Francey, himself a much respected, award-winning Canadian singer-songwriter. “He writes with great humanity and honesty, with an eye to the past and a vision of the future. He has chronicled his times with powerful and abiding songs, with heart and eyes wide open.”
A Calgary native, who now calls Perth, Ontario home, Keelaghan has been plying his craft for more than 25 years. His music fuses contemporary folk with roots rock and Americana /Canadiana. “Among the most distinctive voices on the Canadian singer-songwriter scene, this baritone also is a masterful storyteller known for his literate and layered narrative songwriting,” according to Michael Kornfeld, FMSH’s president. Keelaghan’s love of language and of history is reflected in his songs; some of them touch on themes of social justice and problems facing society, while others — like “Cold Missouri Waters,” “Fires of Calais” and “Hillcrest Mine” — focus on tragic historical events. He’s also known for his interpretation of songs by others – including fellow Canadian Gordon Lightfoot, whose “Canadian Railroad Trilogy” Keelaghan covered on the tribute album Beautiful.
FMSH is delighted to welcome James Keelaghan to grace our stage for the first time.
Cassie and Maggie MacDonald encompass everything you could ask for in a musical act; their talent is only surpassed by the joy with which they so generously share it. “Exciting and innovative” (Trad Connect), they have found the perfect balance between musical integrity and sheer entertainment. While still staying true to their Nova Scotia Celtic roots, they have explored and tested the boundaries of traditional music — bringing a breath of fresh air to the genre with their original compositions and arrangements. Sisters, cohorts and collaborators, Cassie and Maggie have been enchanting audiences far and wide with their infectious energy, driving rhythms and lilting melodies.
Equally at home playing tunes passed down through generations of musicians, as seamlessly weaving themes from the Moonlight Sonata into sets of surefire reels, Cassie and Maggie are turning heads wherever they go. And the music community has taken note. They “are among the top musical acts in demand on the Irish/Americana/Canadian scene,” according to Irish Music Magazine. “Be it their foot percussion accompanying driving Nova Scotian sets, their perfect blend of sibling harmonies, added to a stunning interplay on various instruments, a musical evening spent with Cassie and Maggie is a great night, altogether.”
Named as Live Ireland Radio’s New Group and Female Vocalists of the Year, as well as Galaxie Radio Rising Stars, and Emerging Artists of the Year by Chicago’s Irish American News, Cassie and Maggie have also been nominees for numerous other awards. The MacDonald sisters have graced stages across Canada and Europe and made forays into the U.S., where they impressed audiences at the Milwaukee Irish Festival and the Philadelphia Folk Festival, among others. This will be their Long Island debut.