Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ceilidh Trail

The Cape Breton square dance and step dance traditions were brought over from Scotland by the early settlers and are central to the Cape Breton culture.

Inverness County in Western Cape Breton is home to the Ceilidh Trail.   A Ceilidh ( pronounced Kay-Lee ) is a gathering or party, and these regular happenings featuring toe-tapping fiddle music take place up and down the coast all year long.
Here, traditional Celtic square dances can be found on almost any evening.  These differ from the dances in the US.  The beat is much faster, there is no caller and the steps and maneuvers are different.  Everyone knows the dance and what to do.

                        We stopped in the town of Mabou for lunch at the Red Shoe Pub.

The Rankin and Beaton families are internationally known for their Celtic music.

They were not here today, but the music and atmosphere were outstanding.

                       The Celtic Music Center in Judique is home to archives and exhibits. 

Music and dance lessons are taught here by well known instructors.  The hallmark instruments used are the fiddle and piano.

          We listened to a Ceilidh played by the music director and an instructor.

These are also known as “Kitchen Parties” or “Kitchen Rackets”, as that is where they often took place in early settlers homes.

 We went back in the evening for another Ceilidh hosted by the instructors and highlighted by a foot-stomping eighteen year old student on the fiddle.

                      She was outstanding and had the place rocking the whole night.

   These traditions are very strong here, with children taught Celtic music and dance at a very early age.

  This girl is already quite good at stepdancing and just took over the floor.

                                These parties often go until 2 or 3 in the morning.

 The Celtic language is still taught in the schools here and is seen on signs all around the area.

 We enjoyed a peaceful sunset and stayed for the night at this lighthouse near the town of Mabou.

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