Franklin Countys First News

Cape Breton’s Ben Miller and Anita MacDonald to play western Maine dates

Ben Miller and Anita MacDonald

FARMINGTON - New England Celtic Arts will present Cape Breton's Ben Miller and Anita MacDonald in concert at Green Church Concerts in Mexico on Wednesday, Nov. 15; and at North Church Concert Series in Farmington on Thursday, Nov. 16. Doors open at 6 p.m. with shows at 7 p.m. A jam session in Farmington will start at 6:15 p.m.

Ben Miller and Anita MacDonald join together, blending the rich traditional sound of the Cape Breton fiddle, with the fiery edge of the Scottish Border pipes. Combining their creative vision with influences from Old and New World Gaelic traditions, they create a powerful sound. Since meeting at the 2013 Celtic Colours Festival, Miller and MacDonald have toured across North America and further afield, wowing audiences with their captivating blend of driving dance tunes and soulful Gaelic airs.

Miller is an American-born player of Scottish bagpipes. His interest in traditional music stems from his exposure to the pipes at a young age, in his hometown of Queensbury, New York, as well as his family’s strong connections to its Scottish and Irish roots, through both his American mother and Canadian father. He began studying the Highland Bagpipes around age eight, but by twelve he began to shift his focus to the bellows-blown Scottish small-pipes and Border pipes. Miller is also an academic, holding an undergraduate degree in Music, as well as a Master's degree in Scottish Ethnology, from the University of Edinburgh's School of Scottish Studies. His repertoire and style draw mainly on the Gaelic traditions of Western Scotland and the Canadian Maritimes, blended with a healthy dash of Irish tunes for good measure.

MacDonald is an accomplished musician, dancer, and Gaelic singer from Little Narrows, Cape Breton. She began step-dancing in the family kitchen at the tender age of four, and picked up the fiddle a few short years later, at age eight. She has been wowing audiences with her impeccable timing and neatly choreographed steps ever since. MacDonald’s fiddle playing has a distinctive sound, influenced by the deep roots of her musical family. Her energetic style has put her in demand as a performer and teacher, across Cape Breton and beyond.

Guest artists include Tyson Chen, Ottawa Ontario (on piano) and Zak Cormier Wellington PEI (on foot percussion and guitar).

The Green Church is located at 163 Main Street in Mexico, tickets are $15. Call 207-562-4445. North Church is located at 118 High Street in Farmington. Tickets $15. Call 207-778-2006 for reservations or neceltic@gmail.com.

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