New Waterford native Doug MacPhee has performed with all the great fiddlers of Cape Breton over the years. Although he prides himself in his ability as an accompanist, Doug is also known as Cape Breton’s foremost piano soloist. Doug’s music can be heard on more than 50 recordings in addition to his five solo albums and a compilation CD as well. He has toured throughout Canada and internationally and has been recognized with the Order of Canada for his contribution to Cape Breton traditional culture. Doug has lived in Toronto, Boston and even California, but the call of returning home was strong and he is always happiest playing music and living home in New Waterford, Cape Breton. He has a great recall of tunes and tune names, and an impeccable memory for details of the culture, which made him a perfect employee at the Beaton Institute and archives at Cape Breton University. Doug is now retired but continues to play regularly all around Cape Breton.
Fiddler Paul Cranford’s contributions to traditional music are widely recognized. Almost every Cape Breton fiddler uses some of the books he has published. In 2015 he was named Patron of World Fiddle Day and in 2018 he was given The Katherine McLennan Award for contributions to culture and historical preservation on Cape Breton. Now retired, Paul spent 34 years as a lighthouse keeper. The isolation allowed him time to practice, to research older music and to compose. During his months off the light, he traveled Cape Breton widely, visiting and staying in the homes of dozens of older musicians who took time to teach him. His book, The Lighthouse Collection, features over 250 of his original melodies. A publisher for more than 40 years, his collaboration with Mario Colosimo and numerous festival participants resulted in The Celtic Colours Collection, a book celebrating music made at and for the festival. Other books include The Cape Breton Musical Series, 9 volumes, containing over 2000 melodies, the last two being The Cape Breton Scottish Collection and The Cape Breton Highland Collection, compilations which reflect older Scottish music played in Cape Breton.