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PODCAST.: The Barra MacNeils are Canada’s Celtic Ambassadors

TODAY IN B.C.: Christmas concert tour began on Vancouver Island, spanned nation

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Host Peter McCully talks with Lucy and Stewart MacNeil about their Christmas concert tour that began on Vancouver Island and ended on Cape Breton Island.

The siblings are from Cape Breton Island and began performing together in 1980 while still teenagers (Lucy being only 10) and are classically trained musicians and alumni of Mount Allison University.

“There’s lots of different parts of Christmas that we can draw from in our shows, and I think that’s why it comes across as natural and because we are drawing on real things, it’s not Tinsel Town,” said Lucy.

“I do think that, as Canadians, there’s something about our climate where we live and the expanse of the land we do share,” added Stewart. “There’s things about the Christmas season and the darkness that comes and how it’s so important for people to experience the comforts of home cooking, the smells, the sights, the lights, the sounds. These are things that get us through the dark months.”

The podcast includes two tunes, ‘Toonik Tyme’ from the live album ‘Sessions’ (inspired by the Toonik Tyme Festival in Iqaluit) and ‘O Holy Night’.

The Barra MacNeils won their first East Coast Music Award in 1991, and won a Juno Award for Album of the Year for TimeFrame in 1992, and a Group of the Year award in 2001.

Their 1993 album ‘Closer To Paradise’ earned gold record status. They have been an opening act for Céline Dion and have toured regularly across North America and Europe.

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Toonik Time – MacNeil, O Holy Night - Adolphe Adam

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Peter McCully

About the Author: Peter McCully

Peter has been a broadcaster and publisher on both of Canada’s coasts and has owned a small newspaper and run an advertising agency along the way.
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