Renowned Cape Breton fiddler Ashley MacIsaac is returning to Victoria this month for the latest in a string of sold-out performances with homegrown Victoria musician Quinn Bachand, a collaboration that dates back to 2010.
“It’s always a pleasure,” MacIsaac says of playing with Bachand. “The first pleasure was getting to hear him in a YouTube video performing with one of my heroes, Buddy MacMaster.”
The Juno Award-winning MacIsaac had been looking for a Cape Breton-style guitar player and was amazed at how accomplished Bachand was at such a young age.
“[The video] came up when I did this search, and lo and behold this little kid whose guitar was almost as big as him was following and playing along with Buddy,” MacIsaac recalls. “And I thought ‘who’s this guy and why is he from British Columbia and why can he play so good for such a young kid?’”
He reached out to Bachand through the Youtube channel, which was managed by Bachand’s mother, Marie. That first email led to a musical collaboration that has endured for 10 years,. The 45-year-old MacIsaac is quick to praise the talents of his now 24-year-old friend.
“Quinn can listen to gypsy jazz and become a gypsy jazz expert,” he says. “Quinn can listen to Cape Breton music and become a Cape Breton music expert. He can listen to B.C. fiddling and play that. There’s something that’s unique in his ability to have so wide and diverse ability to put something of himself into whatever the style is.”
MacIsaac and Bachand’s show on March 28 quickly sold out, as did a second show that was added for the following night in the Upstairs Lounge at the Oak Bay Recreation Centre.
People can expect an evening of Cape Breton and folk favourites, including Irish pop-style music in honour of St. Patrick’s Day. “Who doesn’t enjoy people just playing their hearts out and smacking it in a pub?” MacIsaac says.
He’s hoping that two new Island residents drop by to one of the performances: “If Harry and Meghan show up, they should say hi to me after the show.”
Showtime both nights is 7:30 p.m. To find out about other events put on by Beacon Ridge Productions, visit beaconridgeproductions.com.