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Tunes on the Town Ingonish - Beòlach and Jesse Cox

37733 Cabot Trail Highway, Ingonish Beach, NS B0C 1L0

September 15, 4 – 6 pm


More than 20 years ago six dynamic solo performers came together to jam at a late-night session during the Celtic Colours International Music Festival… this session was the spark that lit Beòlach.

During the next decade, Beòlach continued to grow artistically through their innovative and exciting arrangements of traditional Cape Breton, Scottish and Irish tunes for fiddle, bagpipes, piano and guitar. The energy they present on stage demonstrates their knowledge of and passion for the traditional music of Ireland, Scotland and Cape Breton. The natural, easy wit and banter they exchange on stage reflects lifelong friendships, a shared sense of fun and years of experience as professional musicians. The band has delighted audiences throughout the world with their original compositions and unique arrangements of traditional tunes and their ability to light the stage on fire with their energy and witty stories. Their versatility as instructors has provided an opportunity for learners to gain knowledge of traditional music and dance as well as insight into the relationship between these traditions that makes this style of music unique.

Beòlach has recorded three albums: Beòlach (2001) and Variations (2004), each of which gained critical acclaim and earned nominations for East Coast Music Awards. In 2005 the group was nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award as Best Instrumental Artist. More recently, Beolach’s latest release, All Hands (2020), has garnered much attention. It has been nominated for a Juno, 4 East Coast Music Awards, and 2 Canadian Folk Music awards. It has also appeared on Alex Monaghan’s Top 10 Albums (Folkworld) for 2020.

Throughout their history as Beòlach, the original members which include Wendy MacIsaac (fiddle, piano, stepdance), Mac Morin (piano, stepdance, accordion) and Màiri Rankin (fiddle, stepdance) have maintained solo careers as musicians and collaborated with some of the most renowned artists on the traditional music scene. In their solo careers, they have been nominated for various East Coast Music Awards, Nova Scotia Music Awards, and several Canadian Folk Music Awards. They have appeared on Grammy and Juno-winning albums and worked with artists of all genres. The demands of their successful solo careers as well as the realities of life and family put Beòlach on temporary hiatus. However, after this brief pause, Beòlach has again sparked up again from hot embers with their latest recording, All Hands. The core members Wendy, Mac and Màiri have welcomed Matt MacIsaac (bagpipes, whistles, guitar), re-forming the group as a quartet. Matt brings an extensive repertoire of bagpipe music, experience as a professional touring musician. He has won top honours at world piping competitions and cites influences such as his three uncles and the MacDonald brothers of Glenuig, Scotland.

With new material already in the works for future projects, expect to see more from this creative force from Canada’s musical East Coast.

Jesse Cox

Raspy-voiced Jesse Cox’s songs are grounded, and rootsy like his home “Down North” in Cape Breton Island.  He was enveloped in music from a very young age being hauled around live music venues by his touring folk musician parents “Dennis and Lori” even before their 1980 release of “The Welcome Table”.  Getting to hang out with and absorb serious musicians like Matt Minglewood, Rita MacNeil and Sam Moon from early on is evident in his sound today.

Passionate about his music, his songs are ingrained with the cool harshness of being a fisherman in Northern Cape Breton

In 2006, he made it to CBC Rising stars, then went on to make it to the Top 24 Canadian Idol contestants. In 2015 Jesse made NB Regional champion in the  “CBC Searchlight Competition” earning national Radio play with his song “Haul your Tears”.  Overdue to make his first full album release, Jesse is over-due and over-prepared.  Teaming up with music-veteran producer Keith Mullins, they will cultivate a surefire memorable creation of song.

“Who do I have to arm wrestle to keep this guy’s demo?” – Gordie Johnson, Big Sugar

“Every time I hear him, he just keeps getting better and better!” -Bruce Guthro

“Jesse Cox is the real deal, he has the goods to be on a big stage, and I want to help him get to that level”.   – Keith Mullins

Be sure to spend some time in town before and after the show – grab a bite to eat, visit the shops and stay for the night.

Tunes on the Town is a live music series in downtowns throughout Cape Breton Island during summer and fall 2022. The program is supported by funding from the Government of Canada through the Rediscover Main Streets program. 

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