Pierre Schryer

fiddle, foot percussion

Pierre is one of Canada’s leading traditional fiddlers. Celebrated performer and producer, Pierre has established himself as a gem on the music scene among fans and fellow musicians. He was immersed from an early age in the Franco-Ontarian traditions of his heritage, through multiple fiddle competitions along with his triplet brothers. The Schryer Triplets recorded 2 albums and appeared several times on the “Tommy Hunter Show.”

As a solo performer Pierre has received numerous titles and awards including Canadian Open Fiddle Champion, Canadian Grand Masters Fiddle Champion, Violoneux Championnat, and North American Irish Fiddle Champion. Over the last decade, Pierre has released six solo recordings on his own label New Canadian Records, of which “Blue Drag” was honoured with a nomination at the 2004 JUNO Awards for best Roots and Traditional Album of the Year, and “Mélange” was nominated at the 2008 Canadian Folk Music Awards for Instrumental Solo Album of the Year.

Pierre has shared the stage with many colleagues in the traditional music scene including Natalie McMaster, members of Leahy, Jane Bunnet, the Barra MacNeils, Ashley MacIssac, Liz Carroll, John Doyle, Matapat, Club Carrefour, La Bottine Souriante, Altan, Old Blind Dogs and others. He has performed with numerous symphony orchestras across Canada with his acclaimed Symphony Pops show. Pierre is the creator and artistic director of the “Canadian Celtic Celebration”, a three-day festival presented in Thunder Bay, Ontario each June. A native of Northern Ontario, Pierre is proud to continue planting roots in the north.

Merrie Klazek

trumpet, flugelhorn

Merrie is active as a performer and recording artist in orchestral, solo, chamber, folk and pop music. She holds a BMus from the University of Calgary in her hometown, and a MMus from Northwestern University in Chicago where she studied with the late Vincent Cichowicz. Her musical travels have takenher around the world with performance highlights including the Spoleto Italy Festival, MusikContemporaire in Strasbourg France, Tokyo’s Bunka Kaikan hall, Brandenburg #2 with the TBSO, performances at the International Trumpet Guild Conference 2008 & 2011, as well as the 2010 International Women’s Brass Conference.

Merrie has been principal trumpet with the Thunder Bay Symphony since 1999 and has held the same position with the Victoria Symphony (2005) and Orchestra London Canada (1996-99). She has been a sessional instructor in the Department of Music at Lakehead University since 2001, and is the director of the LU Wind Ensemble. Her solo recording entitled “Songs to the Moon” has been featured on TVO’s Studio 2 and CBC. She appears on three JUNO nominated recordings and performs regularly with her husband, renowned Celtic fiddler, Pierre Schryer. Over the past decade Merrie has had occasion to collaborate with various top artists in the Pop, Latin, and Folk music scenes. These performances have led to an expansion of creativity which she continues to explore as a performer and as a teacher. Merrie has also learned the craft of Social Dance Calling, and regularly calls at Ceilidh dances.

Emily Flack

voice, piano, Ottawa Valley stepdance

Originally from Dorchester, Ontario, Emily Jean Flack has been immersed in music for as long as she can remember. This is not difficult to imagine, as Emily is the daughter of one of the siblings of the Celtic band Leahy. Family gatherings, celebrations, and spontaneous sessions always included a song or a tune, and Emily was there.

At age four, Emily began learning French Canadian stepdancing and by the time she turned eight was also playing the piano. It was not long before Emily found her true love - singing. Exploring many different styles of music, Emily has clearly developed her own unique sound. With a profound understanding of how to get inside a song, she communicates deep emotion for such a young singer. Emily has taken her music to festivals and venues across North America. She has appeared as a guest on stage with Leahy and Natalie MacMaster, as well as with various other musicians. Emily is writing her own music, both songs and instrumentals, and choreographing her own dance routines. Her first solo CD was released in 2012.

Mairi Rankin

fiddle, Cape Breton stepdance

Born in Mabou, Nova Scotia, Mairi Rankin has been influenced by some of the best Cape Breton traditional musicians and instructors on the island. She has developed her own unique style out of this rich musical culture, touring nationally and internationally as a performer and educator in both fiddle and step dance. Mairi has performed as a solo artist, a sideman and is a member of the Cape Breton Celtic super group Beolach and the acclaimed Celtic group, The Outside Track. She has performed with the Rankin Sisters, Unusual Suspects and Bruce Guthro to name a few. She has appeared on the television broadcasts of DRUM!, the East Coast Music Awards, Rita MacNeil’s Christmas special and MNE’s Togaidh Sinn Fonn in Scotland. Her festival credits internationally include Celtic Connections, Chicago Celtic Festival, Milwaukee Irish Festival, BLAS, Tonder Festival, as well as performances in Dubai and India.

In Canada she has performed at major folk and Celtic festivals including Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Dawson City and the internationally renowned Celtic Colours Festival. As an educator Mairi has taught at Universities, schools, festivals and workshops around the world. Mairi has recorded one solo album, two CDs with Beolach and several CDs with The Outside Track, a 5 piece group from Scotland and Ireland. She is also featured on numerous compilations and recordings.

Colin Savoie-Levac

guitar, mandolin, banjo, foot percussion

Colin Savoie-Levac is a native of St-Jean-de-Matha, Québec. Born into a musical family, he has long been a singer of traditional songs and began to play the mandolin at age 12. Not long after, he took up tenor banjo, guitar and foot percussion, and began studying traditional music with multi-instrumentalist Michel Bordeleau (La Bottine Souriante, Les Charbonniers de l’Enfer), guitarist Simon Marion and Belgian-born, Montréal-based banjo player Guy Donis (Mademoiselle s’Amuse). Colin is very involved in the activities of the Centre Régional d’Animation du Patrimoine Oral (CRAPO) in his hometown, where he regularly presents traditional music. He is a member of the extended version of Québec band Dentdelion, with whom he toured the Maritimes playing the main stage at the Newfoundland-Labrador Folk Festival. He made his formal début on the “grande scène” during the 2006 St-Jean-Baptiste celebration in Park Maisonneuve, Montréal performing alongside several other young artists with Yves Lambert (La Bottine Souriante) and his Bébert Orchestra before a crowd of 250,000 people. He is performing and recording extensively with the Duhks from Winnipeg and les Poules à Colin from Montreal.

Ross Griffiths

uilleann pipes, highland pipes, whistles

Ross Griffiths, born in Parry Sound, Ontario, started playing the Scottish Highland pipes at age 9 after being inspired by his father, also a piper. By age 16 Ross was commuting to Toronto to play with some of Canada's best pipe bands. As a highland piper he continued to play solo and with top level bands in Canada, the US and in Scotland for over 15 years before turning an eye to Irish music.

While taking a break from the world of Scottish pipes to finish university in Hamilton, Ross discovered the exquisite playing of Liam O'Flynn on the uilleann pipes via the Irish 70s group Planxty, and was immediately hooked. For the last 10 years, he has used his knowledge of Scottish piping to move efficiently into the world of Irish music on uilleann pipes and whistle, with a particular attention to the old piping style of the great mid-century uilleann pipers.

Living in Toronto, Ross regularly plays at local Irish sessions and shows, and has taught uilleann pipes at the Chris Langan Weekend. He is a founding member of both the Toronto-tradtunetrio North Atlantic Drift, and of the band Poor Angus from Hamilton, Ontario, who recently received a Canadian Folk Music Awards nomination for Traditional Album of the Year for their album "Gathering" (Borealis) in 2014.

Duncan Cameron

Bouzouki, voice, whistles, guitar

Duncan Cameron is a Celtic singer, composer, and multi-instrumentalist currently living in Sudbury, Ontario.

His late father Stewart Cameron’s mastery of Scottish ballads was his first inspiration, and in his teens, Duncan started singing with his family. At folk festivals The Cameron Family performed not only music and storytelling, but also traditional mummers plays.

He chose the fiddle as his first instrument, but now also plays mandolin, guitar, Irish bouzouki, tin whistle, harmonica, bodhrán and English concertina. Traditional Irish, English and French-Canadian groups have contributed to much of Duncan's repertoire, but classical, country, and other popular styles of music have also added to his creative approach.

He has toured, recorded with, and composed music for many groups including Pierre Schryer Band (Juno nominated in 2004), Fig For A Kiss (nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award in 2006) and The Irish Descendants. In addition Duncan has been part of several theatrical productions, notably Drayton Entertainment's "Sorry... I'm Canadian" in 2008 and "Cotton Patch Gospel" in 2006, as well as the Mirvish production of "Needfire". His solo performances and his solo CD, The Whistling Thief (2000) have also garnered attention. His strong vocals (in both French and English), intricate arrangements, and sense of humour truly transport the listener.

Yaëlle Azoulay

French Canadian stepdance, caller

Born in Quebec, with a Moroccan-French background, Yaëlle Azoulay is a professional dancer/choreographer specialized in Quebecois traditional dancing and percussive dance (jig). She started dancing with Pieds Légers de Laval and Reel et Macadam folk ensembles and later joined the professional dance group ZOGMA where she's been dancing since 2003. With this group Yaëlle has travelled in Canada, the U.S., Africa and Asia.

Also an accomplished teacher and Dance Caller, Yaelle has been teaching stepdancing and calling social dances for the past 12 years all over Quebec and the U.S. She has established herself as one of the best in her field on the Quebec scene and is well sought-after for large dances and productions, as a caller and as a performer.

Steafán Hannigan

bodhran, whistles, bouzouki

Steafán Hannigan was born and raised in the culturally rich Irish city of Belfast, and now makes his home in Canada. He is a musician, composer, storyteller, actor, instrument maker and teacher. He has won North American and All Britain Championship titles on instruments including Bodhran, Flute, Whistle, Pipes, Mandolin and Banjo.

Steafán is the author of a range of instructional dvds and books, notably The Bodhrán Book, The Bodhran DVD and The Low Whistle Book.

He has worked with top artists including Bjork, Depeche Mode, The Chieftains, The Afro-celts, Lorenna McKennett, Oliver Schroer, Il Divo, Michael Flatley, Band of Hope, and Uriah Heep, as well as on TV shows such as Friends, Black Harbour “Copper” Relic Hunter, Earth Final Conflict. Also a producer of theatre and shows, Steafán has worked for a number of different companies including Factory Theatre, Capital Theatre, Panasonic Toronto Theatre, and Rylepuss Theatre, on such productions as “Driving Miss Daisy”, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, “Come From Away”, “Rob Ford - the Musical”, and others.

Steafán currently lives in Baltimore Ontario and, along with his wife Saskia Tomkins, runs local Folk sessions in the area. He has a collection of 800 musical instruments from around the globe which are used as educational tools.