“An entertaining and lively show, which got audience members on their feet and dancing...”
— The Inverness Oran (Nova Scotia, CAN)
TRIO - Miller | MacDonald | Cormier
Ben Miller & Anita MacDonald have become renowned across Atlantic Canada and further afield for their synergistic, pipe and fiddle driven style of Gaelic dance-music. Joining together the musical traditions of Cape Breton and the Scottish Highlands, while incorporating influences from Ireland, Shetland and beyond, Ben and Anita have created a signature sound, described as "Fiery... Fresh, yet totally traditional." - Piping Today Magazine (Glasgow, UK)
Joining them in this project is Zakk Cormier, a talented multi-instrumentalist with deep roots in the Acadian music community of Prince Edward Island. Zakk brings his talents as a creative and dynamic guitar accompanist, as well as the driving rhythms of Acadian foot-percussion. As a trio, these three young artists create a powerful sound, which transcends the boundaries between Cape Breton, Scottish, and Acadian traditions.
DUO - Ben & Anita
Anita is an accomplished fiddler, step-dancer, and Gaelic singer from Little Narrows, Nova Scotia.
With strong roots in her native Cape Breton fiddle tradition, Anita draws inspiration from across the Maritimes and the British Isles, to create a sound that is equal parts new and old. She creates a sound that is constantly evolving, exploring the boundaries of tradition, while remaining firmly grounded in the Gaelic dance-music of her home.
Growing up immersed in the Cape Breton tradition, Anita was drawn to the rich drones and subtle ornaments favoured by the older generation of fiddlers in her community. These sounds had a depth and grit which is seldom heard today, often left behind for a cleaner, more delicate style of playing.
Drawing on similar elements within the fiddle traditions of Ireland, Shetland, and beyond, Anita explores new possiblities in dynamics and texture. She often utilizes older scordatura or “high bass” tunings, a defining element of the Cape Breton tradition in years gone by. Her fiddling gracefully mimics the sounds of the pipes, weaving melody and drone with a distinct fluidity.
As a dancer, Anita is known for her impeccable timing and neatly improvised steps. Influenced by the clean and precise step-dance tradition of central Cape Breton, she has developed a style that is rhythmic and expressive, both creative and grounded.
Ben Miller is an American-born player of Scottish bagpipes, currently living in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Ben’s love for the pipes began at a young age, first studying with a local piper, in his home town of Glens Falls, NY. In his youth, Ben exceled within the regimental Highland piping tradition, performing and competing with the internationally acclaimed Scotia-Glenville Pipe Band.
As he grew to discover the wider breadth of the Scottish piping tradition, Ben fell in love with the sounds of the smaller cauld-wind bagpipes. Gravitating to the Lowland pipes, he has made this instrument his own. Ben has developed a unique playing style that draws equal influence from both traditional Scottish piping techniques and the parallel Irish uilleann piping tradition.
Ben also holds a Master’s degree from the University of Edinburgh’s School of Scottish Studies, where he focused on the dance-music traditions of New World and Old World Gaelic communities. He is in demand as both a performer and an educator.