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Slainte Mhath and Great Big Sea Major Hit Attract Thousands To Toronto Winterfest

By John Gavin - Atlantic Seabreeze

The music highlights at Toronto Winterfest this past Saturday Feb 9th, was certainly 2 big musical acts from Atlantic Canada, namely Slainte Mhath and Great Big Sea. Thousands of people turned out to see what East Coast Music was all about. And they weren’t disappointed!

Slainte Mhath from Cape Breton and P.E.I. were in top form despite the –3 c. temperatures. Riding high from their performances at ECMA 2002 in St. John, N.B. last week-end, the group discovered that they had many fans in Toronto & area. Their unbelievable sound is one of a kind, including bagpipes, piano, fiddle, guitar, and drums.

Band members Ryan and Boyd are the younger brothers of the famous Cape Breton Group, The Barra MacNeils, Lisa Gallant, fiddler and stepdancer, Brian Talbot, drummer and John MacPhee, piper. The group was founded in 1994, and have been performing regularly across the world. Last weekend they signed a national deal with Toronto-based Linus Entertainment a Warner Music affiliate. Their second album entitled, Va, will be released in a matter of weeks.

The Group left late last night for England, where they will participate in the BBC Radio 2 International Folk Awards on Feb. 11. They have been nominated for a Rising Star Award, and will be performing on the show as an opening act.

Later in the evening, Great Big Sea, from Newfoundland arrived on Stage and performed on stage before hundreds of thousands of people. What a tremendous turn-out of people for the world famous group! The audience was made up of people of all ages and included many from other countries visiting Toronto. The band were at their best, despite the cold & winds.

They introduced many hits from their new CD entitled, “Sea of No Cares”, their sixth album. With platinum albums behind them and thousands of miles touring, the band is about to tour across United States and then Canada, promoting their latest album.

Atlantic Seabreeze photographer, Nick Buczok took many pictures of the event (above photo). February 9, 2002 will certainly be a day to remember in Toronto, with all the great East Coast Music


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