Culture, history and music are a richly intertwined tapestry in the Margarees.

With the settling of Cape Breton by those of Scotch and Irish heritage, and the relative isolation of Cape Breton (until the mid-fifties when the Canso Causeway was constructed), you had the reality of a traditional culture existing apart from mainstream North American culture.

Although the Celtic musical revival has brought this culture into the spotlight in the last two decades, a rich oral storytelling and musical tradition had deep roots in the daily life of Cape Bretoners all along. Entertaining guests with tea, stories, chit chat, and music was the norm for the older generation. After all 'Ceilidh' (pronounced Kay-lee) usually means a musical 'party', refers


to get-togethers which happened in kitchens all over Cape Breton.

And now, as stars like Natalie McMaster, Rita McNeil, J.P. Cormier and various members of the Rankin Family continue to interpret the traditional music in contemporary ways, younger musicians like The Cottars and Slainte Mhath are inspired to reinvent the connection again. One of the nice things about visiting Cape Breton from June to October, is the opportunity to see both stars and up-and-comers in the same venues, either in concert settings or in more informal spots, like the Barn in Margaree Valley.


The Barn at The Normaway Inn and Cabins    
The Barn at the Normaway Inn is not just the place to be on a cool summer evening; it's a Cape Breton musical institution. The Barn awaits you with a new group of Cape Breton musicians each week. As you make your way past the grazing foals and Highland cattle, you'll see other guests and locals gathering around a converted barn. For a really memorable evening in Margaree, you can't go wrong here.

Margaree folks love the Barn, because a concert is just the beginning; later in the evening, chairs are cleared for some serious square dancing, where everyone has a good time. At any given Concert and dance, you might hear the jigs, reels, or
laments of Buddy McMaster, the dean of Cape Breton fiddling, or his neice and fiddling sensation Natalie McMaster. Things are rarely dull with emcee/innkeeper Dave MacDonald. Dave, after all, is not just a host - he's an enthusiast. And if it happens you can't fit the Barn in, local musicians play in the Normaway's living room every other night of the week, by donation.

Friday Night Square Dance at the Southwest Margaree Hall
This is a deeply embedded cultural tradition - what's called a Ceilidh ("kay-lee") and more to the point, a lot of fun. Everyone's invited to St. Joseph's Hall every Friday night from June until October. Whether or not you like to square dance, you can't help but enjoy the festivities. As fiddles, guitars, and piano's sing, local folks do 'square sets' and neighbors chat. Don't miss a chance to live a tradition.

'Steak & Ale' Night at the Island Sunset Resort
On Tuesdays in July and August, there's fiddle music and good eating along with some of the most spectacular views of Margaree Harbour you can find anywhere. It's lovely to watch the sunset over the ocean as you enjoy a great meal and listen to local musicians play a reel or jig.
 
Other restaurants often offer a musical night with dinner during the season. Check out the local newspaper, the Inverness Oran, or check at the Visitor Information
Centre for updates.


Production Assistance by: FADERCommunications