Celtic Fiddle Festival

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Celtic Fiddle Festival
OriginCeltic territories, including Ireland, Scotland and Brittany
GenresCeltic, Scottish traditional, Irish traditional, Music of Brittany
Years active1993–present
LabelsLoftus Music
Associated actsSilly Wizard, Bothy Band, Kornog, Patrick Street, La Bottine Souriante

* Christian LeMaitre

  • Andre Brunet
  • Nicolas Quemener
Past members

Celtic Fiddle Festival is a group of Celtic fiddlers active since 1993. Representing the three main branches of Celtic culture, the members were Johnny Cunningham (late of Silly Wizard) of Scotland, Kevin Burke (best known for the Bothy Band) of Ireland, and Christian LeMaitre (member of Kornog) of Brittany. Since Cunningham's death in 2003,[1] the group has continued to perform, replacing him with Andre Brunet (formerly of La Bottine Souriante) from Quebec.[2]

Cunningham and Burke were both resident in the US and decided they wanted to tour together. It was suggested that a show with just 2 fiddlers, one Scottish, one Irish might not be appealing to many but if another element could be added it might be of interest. Because of their love for Breton music Kevin and Johnny decided to contact their good friend, Christian Lemaitre, from Brittany. Christian agreed and the Celtic Fiddle Festival was born.

It was conceived as a "one-off" tour, an interesting way to showcase the 3 differing styles while at the same time demonstrating the deep historic connections, but the response from audiences was so positive that an album was released from that initial tour and, 20 yrs later, the group is still playing and recording. Cunningham, Burke, and LeMaitre were accompanied by guitarist John McGann on that first tour and the first album, The Celtic Fiddle Festival, was released on Green Linnet Records. The sixth album by the Celtic Fiddle Festival, Live in Brittany, was recorded in Jan 2013 and is scheduled for release in April on the Loftus Music label.

During the group's 20 yr career its accompanists have included Breton guitarist Soig Siberil, Scottish guitar player Tony McManus, Ged Foley from the Battlefield Band and Patrick Street, Nicolas Quemener from Brittany.[citation needed]

Each Celtic Fiddle Festival concert begins with a short solo performance from each fiddler to demonstrate the individual styles of music. The musicians then all play together.[3][4]


  • Celtic Fiddle Festival (1993)
  • Celtic Fiddle Festival: Encore (1998)
  • Rendezvous (2001)
  • Play on (2005)
  • Équinoxe (2008)
  • Live in Brittany (20th Anniversary Concert) (2013)
  • Storm In a Teapot (2016)


  1. ^ "Johnny Cunningham". 17 Dec 2003.
  2. ^ "Celtic Fiddle Festival - Play On". Retrieved 14 Jan 2013.
  3. ^ "Celtic Fiddle Festival - Encore". Retrieved 27 Dec 2011.
  4. ^ Alistair Brown (12 July 2011). "Celtic Fiddle Festival: Play On". Archived from the original on 2 January 2012.