Downeast Ceilidh March 5, 2011

Marcia and Joe

The basis of Downeast Ceilidh was Cape Breton Fiddle, because that was the music she loved most deeply, but she always include Acadian and “Old Time” fiddle as well. She was always sure to play music from all four provinces of Atlantic Canada: Nova Scotia (Mainland as well a Cape Breton), New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland.

She felt it important to include music by the old masters, like Angus Chisholm, Bill Lamey, and Winston Fitzgerald along side the younger generation like Natalie MacMaster, Ashley MacIsaac and Andrea Beaton.

Almost every show included a song in Gaelic and one in Acadian French. The other songs were in English but were either traditional to the region, or recently composed songs about Atlantic Canada. Most of the songs contained local references and, whether it was a song or a tune, Marcia was always careful to identify where the artist was from. For example Rita & Mary Rankin were not just from Cape Breton, and not just from Mabou but from Mabou Coal Mines. To Marcia even a couple of miles made a difference.

And it made a difference to her listeners as well. Early on in the life of the program she got a call from a homesick young maritimer who was in tears. He never thought he’d not just hear the music of home but the name of the little place that he came from on the radio in Boston.

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