Celtic-folk trio of women join forces for Harrison show

Cape Breton, Scottish, and BC musicians collaborate for one-time performance Oct. 22.

Mairi Rankin (above) performs with harpist Ailie Robertson and Jenny Ritter

Mairi Rankin (above) performs with harpist Ailie Robertson and Jenny Ritter

The Harrison Festival Society will present a special collaboration of Cape Breton fiddler Mairi Rankin, Scottish harpist Ailie Robertson, and B.C. singer-songwriter and guitar/banjo player Jenny Ritter in Harrison’s Memorial Hall on Saturday, Oct. 22.

Rankin is steeped in Cape Breton fiddling and dancing, and has a deep love and respect for her native traditions. From Mabou, Nova Scotia, she grew up influenced by the centuries-old fiddle music that is both a treasured part of the local culture and a popular export around the world.

Harpist extraordinaire Robertson, from Edinburgh, is widely regarded as one of Scotland’s leading young traditional musicians. She is a musician in the broadest sense: composer, arranger, teacher, improviser and harp virtuoso.

The original songs of Vancouver’s Jenny Ritter will bring a sweet, positive songwriting that has won acclaim for its deceiving simplicity. She’s a naturally-skilled flat picker on guitar, and adds the twangy tones of claw hammer banjo to many of her songs.

Artistic Director Andy Hillhouse notes that “This performance came together through a series of conversations over the last few years with Mairi Rankin, trying to get her back here for a follow up to her last performance several years ago at the festival with the group Beolach. She suggested bringing this trio of friends and collaborators together”. Hillhouse adds “I predict some Celtic musical magic!”

The show will begin at 8 p.m., Oct. 22 in the Harrison Memorial Hall. Tickets are $22 and can be purchased online at harrisonfestival.com, by phone at 604-796-3664, or at the door. In addition, a table of eight may be reserved when all eight tickets are purchased together.