2023 Faculty Lineup

2024 full faculty lineup is coming soon!

Jump to section: Fiddle | Piano | Guitar | Flute | Dance | Accordion | Bouzouki | Harp


Mari Black
Scottish Fiddle
Don Roy
Franco-American Fiddle
▸ Click to read more about Mari and Don

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Raised on a rich blend of traditional musical styles, Acadia Trad’s own Music Director, Mari Black, burst onto the international stage when she became Scotland’s Glenfiddich Fiddle Champion, 2-time U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Champion, and 2-time Canadian Maritime Fiddle Champion, all within a three-year period. Ever since, she has been spreading her love for dance-based music, performing as a featured artist at performing arts centers, Celtic festivals, Scottish Highland Games, celebrated folk venues, world music concert series, and acclaimed classical venues including Carnegie Hall.

Mari’s passion for dance-driven music extends far beyond the concert stage, as reflected in her work as a teacher, composer, dancer, competition judge, and musical ambassador committed to connecting people through music. Having earned her Doctorate in Education from Columbia University and a Masters in Performance from the Yale School of Music, Mari is a master teacher who is dedicated to helping students of all ages and levels explore the joy of making music. She teaches regularly at prestigious camps and workshops around the country.

Mari tours around the world with her bands, the World Fiddle Ensemble and her Celtic Band. In between shows, she still finds time to engage in collaborative projects with fellow artists, and host a series of YouTube videos called “Mari’s Tune of the Month”, where she teaches some of her favorite fiddle tunes.

Learn more about Mari: http://mariblack.com/

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Don Roy’s music is deeply rooted in two strains of Franco-American tradition – Québécois (from Canada’s Province of Québec) and Acadian (from the Maritime provinces of Canada) – significant to the heritage of New England’s robust French-Canadian communities. Uncle Lucien (Lou) Mathieu, a well-known fiddler in Franco-American circles, introduced Don to the fiddle when he was 15 and became Don’s musical mentor. Only one year after picking up the fiddle, Don won his first fiddle competition. He has since been named winner of numerous fiddle contests throughout the Northeast and earned three Individual Artist Fellowship Awards from the Maine Arts Commission.

Learn more about Don https://donroyonline.com/

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Anastasia DesRoches
Acadian Fiddle
Katie McNally
Cape Breton Fiddle
Colin Farrell
Irish Fiddle
▸ Click to read more about Anastasia |

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Anastasia DesRoches is a traditional Acadian fiddle player from Prince Edward Island. Her musical career spans 35 years and has taken her across Canada, Europe and the US. She has a passion for the stories behind the tunes and those who play them. She has toured as a solo musician and with her former bands DOC and Gadelle. Anastasia is a respected music teacher and has had the privilege of teaching hundreds of students.

Learn more about Anastasia: https://anastasiadesroches.com/

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▸ Click to read more about Katie |

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Katie McNally grew up playing Scottish and Cape Breton music near Boston, Massachusetts and currently tours with her own projects, Fàrsan, Pine Tree Flyers, and the Katie McNally Trio. A member of the cross-genre fiddle supergroup, Childsplay, Katie has also toured with Karan Casey, John Whelan, and Carlos Núñez. Her latest album, Now More Than Ever, was recorded with the guidance of producer Anna Massie (Blazin’ Fiddles) and released Dec. 4, 2020. Her 2016 album, The Boston States, which explores the historic ties between her hometown of Boston and Cape Breton, has been featured on NPR (The World, Thistle and Shamrock) and was hailed as “one of the best modern Cape Breton records of the past ten years” by Irish Music Magazine. Katie has appeared at Celtic Colours, Celtic Connections, Newport Folk Festival, and The Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, as well as countless folk venues throughout North America and Europe. 

In addition to her busy touring schedule, she is the artistic director of the Boston States Fiddle Camp and is a devoted educator who teaches regularly at fiddle camps across the country and gives private lessons at her home in Portland, Maine.

Learn more about Katie: https://www.katiemcnally.com/

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▸ Click to read more about Colin

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Manchester-born fiddle and whistle player (now residing in Florida), Colin Farrell is one of the leading lights of the contemporary Irish trad scene in the UK and beyond. 

His parents began taking him and his siblings to music lessons at a young age, and it was his teachers that truly inspired him. “My fiddle teacher was Paddy McMahon from Loughrea in Co. Galway, and Michael McGoldrick taught me the whistle. It was Michael that has probably been my biggest influence. He was always very encouraging and positive, and he has gone on to become one of the most revered musicians in Irish traditional music.”

Farrell has collaborated with many traditional Irish music artists, including touring with the Celtic band Lúnasa, and performing alongside some of his favourite artists, including Tim O’Brien, Natalie Merchant and Mary Chapin Carpenter. He’s also well known for his composing, recordings and teaching, and is passionate about ensuring the future of his craft in the hands of the next generation.

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Ellen Gawler
Novice Fiddle
Laurel Martin
Novice Fiddle
▸ Click to read more about Ellen and Laurel

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Ellen Gawler is a celebrated Maine fiddler, masterful in many styles, including Irish, French Canadian, Maritime, and Shetland. Her sparkling playing is inventive and playful while authentically rooted in tradition. She has toured widely, performing with Childsplay, Old Grey Goose, Maine Country Dance Orchestra, Ladies of the Lake, Trillium, Borovchani Duo, and Gawler Family.

Ellen grew up in the New England dance and music community, and studied with All-Ireland fiddler Seamus Connelly. At 19, she ventured to Ireland to immerse herself in the style. Through Antioch College, she apprenticed in the Shetland Islands with master fiddler Tom Anderson. 

Ellen has been the recipient of the Maine Arts Commission Master/Apprentice Award. As co-founder of Pineland Suzuki School, director of Pineland Fiddlers, founding member of Maine Fiddle Camp, and teaching artist at 317 Community Music School, she has dedicated herself to teaching fiddlers of all ages the love of playing the fiddle.

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Irish fiddle player Laurel Martin’s lyrical musical style reflects her fascination with the enigmatic sounds of the old fiddle masters of Clare, East Galway and Sligo. She has played the fiddle since 1980, and in the 1990s she studied the regional fiddle styles of Ireland with master fiddler Seamus Connolly under the auspices of a Traditional Arts Apprenticeship grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

A regular performer at concerts and sessions throughout New England, she is also an engaging teacher of traditional Irish fiddle music, having taught at Boston College, Wellesley College, at many traditional music festivals, and currently at the Groton Hill Music School in Groton, Massachusetts. Laurel co-authored and recorded the collection of traditional Irish tunes Forget Me Not in 2002, recorded and toured with the fiddle ensemble Childsplay for more than twenty years, and has recorded two well-received solo albums, The Groves (2006) and Larks & Thrushes (2018).

In 2002 and in 2010 she was awarded Traditional Arts Master Apprentice grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council as a master teacher, and beginning in September 2022 will again mentor a young Irish fiddler supported by a Traditional Arts Apprenticeship grant from the MCC. Laurel considers teaching to be one of the greatest joys of her musical life, and she looks forward to meeting and working with aspiring fiddle players in June at the Acadia Trad Festival!

Learn more about Laurel: https://www.laurelmartin.com/

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Neil Pearlman
Troy McGillivray
▸ Click to read more about Neil and Troy

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Multi-instrumentalist, producer, stepdancer and host of the TradCafe podcast, Neil Pearlman is a vital and distinctive voice in contemporary traditional music. Described as “a tremendous pianist” on BBC Radio Scotland and “a force to be reckoned with” by WGBH’s Brian O’Donovan, Neil’s piano style is instantly recognizable for his unique blend of driving rhythms, syncopation and lush harmony.

Neil is in demand across the traditional music world as a collaborator and workshop leader, touring regularly across North America and Europe and teaching at music camps and festivals from Spain to California. The debut album for his duo with Shetland fiddler Kevin Henderson was called “sheer virtuosity” and “breathtaking” by Fatea Magazine.

In addition to his many touring and teaching projects, Neil runs TradCafe, a podcast and production company presenting podcasts and videos of collaborations and conversations between Neil and musicians from a wide variety of backgrounds and styles.

Learn more about Neil: https://neilpearlman.com/

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Troy MacGillivray is from Lanark, a small community on the north-eastern shore of Nova Scotia. Troy’s commitment to music has spanned 30 years and includes both practical and academic accomplishments – most recently an M.A. in Ethnomusicology from the University of Limerick in Ireland. From as young as six years old, Troy was impressing audiences step dancing and soon after, fiddle and piano skills. His first teaching gig was at 13 years old at the Gaelic College in St. Ann’s, Cape Breton. His roots-centered approach comes from a family of proud Scottish heritage where fiddle playing and Gaelic traditions runs in the bloodline. 

In 2012, Troy was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal for contributions to culture in Canada. Troy’s strong career has brought him around the world playing and teaching from the North Pole to the Afghanistan while solo recordings have received numerous nominations and awards from East Coast Music Awards and the Canadian Folk Music Awards. While he is qualified to teach many instruments and skills, we are pleased to have him join our Piano Faculty for 2023!

Learn more about Troy: https://www.troymacgillivray.com/

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Matt Heaton
Josh Dukes
Patrick Egan
▸ Click to read more about Matt |

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Matt Heaton is the son of noted organist/composer Charles Heaton, who instilled in Matt a love of music from an early age. His earliest exposure to Irish music was through an unlabeled cassette tape which contained “The Planxty Collection.” His search for more led him to the vibrant Chicago session scene, and eventually to flute player (and now wife) Shannon Heaton.

Matt’s guitar style reflects an amalgam of influences without losing the context of the music. (His background includes a degree in Classical Guitar, recordings with a tango ensemble, late nights with a rock band and more recently, an early morning career playing music for young kids.) Through it all he remains a sensitive and informed accompanist for whom the music is more important than the instrument.

He has taught at a number of camps including: Portal Irish Music Week, Milwaukee Irish Fest School, Catskills Irish Arts Week, O’Flaherty Retreat, our own Acadia Trad week and others. His easy going manner and ability to demystify both technique and theory make him a favorite among students.

Learn more about Matt: https://mattandshannonheaton.com/

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▸ Click to read more about Josh |

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Josh Dukes is an All-Ireland champion accompanist and a highly sought after music teacher in the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area. A multi-instrumentalist whose talents embrace the guitar, bouzouki, bodhran, flute, and tin whistle, Josh has established a reputation for providing sensitive, tasteful support for traditional Irish music.

As a young high school student, Josh studied the oboe, tenor/alto saxophone, drum set and baritone horn. Outside of the classroom, he learned the art of ancient rudimental drumming under the tutelage of Dominick Cuccia, a widely respected instructor/performer in the fife and drum community. In 1997, Josh enlisted in the Army and earned the rank of Master Sergeant and served as one of three Drum Majors for the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, “The Official Escort to the President,” the only military unit of its kind.

Josh continues to perform Irish music, having shared the stage with such renowned musicians including John Doyle, Paddy Keenan, Billy and Sean McComiskey, Brendan Mulvihill, Skip Healy, Dylan Foley, Zan McLeod, and Myron Bretholz, and he can be seen performing regularly with The Old Bay Ceili Band. Josh lives in Northern Virginia with his wife Judy and two daughters, Mya and Olivia.

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▸ Click to read more about Patrick

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Patrick Egan has performed with the Internationally-known Irish trio, Chulrua for 15 years as guitarist and singer. He is praised for his powerful rhythm playing and his soulful tenor voice. Pat also performs with The Hedge Band, featuring, Billy McComiskey , Donna Long and Laura Byrne, an exciting Irish quartet based in Baltimore, Maryland. 

Now living in Northern Virginia, Pat plays with Fiddle and Banjo and singer Alex Caton and Jeff Thomas concertina player/maker. He also plays in the Scottish trio The Sound of Sleat. Pat still teaches guitar and song workshops and has been a regular at the Catskills Irish week in upstate NY and Baltimore Irish Trad Festival in Baltimore, MD.

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Shannon Heaton
Nicholas Williams
▸ Click to read more about Shannon and Nicholas

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Boston-based Irish flute player/singer Shannon Heaton has performed and taught on four continents. In her duo with guitarist Matt Heaton and with her Irish Music Stories podcast, Shannon has made Irish traditional music accessible and welcoming for many. During the early days of the pandemic, she started the Virtual Guided Session with participants from over 50 countries. She received a 2016 Artist Fellowship from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and was twice named Live Ireland’s Female Artist of the Year. Shannon is s a wildly creative teacher, prolific composer, and a warm and inviting performer!

Learn more about Shannon: shannonheatonmusic.com

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Nicholas Williams is a multi-instrumentalist (flute, accordion, piano), composer and singer, who has developed a reputation as a versatile and sought-after musician in the traditional music scenes of Québec and New England, playing with ensembles such as Genticorum, Crowfoot, and the duo Alex Kehler & Nicholas Williams.

Since learning the Irish flute with Sligo flutist Loretto Reid, Nicholas has explored new ways of adapting the instrument for Québécois, Scandinavian and Appalachian music styles, developing his own nuanced and rhythmic approach to the instrument. He currently lives in the Eastern Townships of Québec.

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Pierre Chartrand
Québécois Dance
Kieran Jordan
Irish Step Dance & Sean-nós
Evie Ladin
Appalachian Old-Time & Body Music
▸ Click to read more about Pierre |

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Born in Montréal, Québec, Pierre Chartrand is a dance historian-ethnologist, choreographer, master step dancer, and an artful dance caller.
Dancing for more than 45 years, he teaches and performs regularly in Québec, across Canada, the United States, and Europe. After acquiring his Dance Masters in La Sorbonne (Paris, France, 1991) he founded the Centre Mnémo, an archive center on traditional French-Canadian dance and music. He has published folk music and dance books for Mnémo, wrote many articles for magazines, and is in great demand to speak at folk music programs and conferences.

Pierre has won many awards, including the International Dance Medal in Madagascar (1997) and the prize for Best Choreography by the Independent Reviewers Of New England (2005.) He taught for the dance program at the Université du Québec à Montréal, and at the folk music program in Cégep de Joliette. In 2000, Pierre opened his company “Dance Cadence” with his wife Anne-Marie Gardette, and they produce a variety of shows including Rapetipetam, Chasse-Galerie, and Le Bal des Ménestriers.

Learn more about Pierre: https://www.danse.qc.ca/

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▸ Click to read more about Kieran |

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Acadia Trad Dance Director, Kieran Jordan, based in Boston, is an Irish dance performer, teacher, director and choreographer, and founder of the Kieran Jordan Dance company and studio. Drawing from a background in contemporary dance, somatic work, and more than 40 years of immersion in traditional Irish dance, Kieran is recognized as a leading artist and contributor in her field.

Kieran is a tradition-bearer and innovator, mentor and community builder. Born in Philadelphia in an Irish American family, she started Irish step dancing when she was just five years old. A passion for music and movement, a life-long interest in family and cultural identity, and a quest for health, wholeness, and joyful self-expression — have guided her unique career in Irish dance.

Regarded as “one of America’s premier dancers and instructors” (Irish Echo), Kieran is a two-time recipient of the Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellowship (2008 and 2018) and was also awarded two Master Artist teaching grants in the Traditional Arts Apprenticeship program (2010 and 2020). Kieran has a Master’s Degree in Contemporary Dance from the University of Limerick, Ireland, a B.A. from Boston College in English and Irish Studies, and also holds the TCRG certification for teaching Irish Dance.

Learn more about Kieran: https://kieranjordan.com/

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▸ Click to read more about Evie

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Banjo player, singer, songwriter, percussive-dancer, choreographer and square-dance caller, Evie Ladin grew up steeped in traditional folk music/dance, and brings a contemporary vision to her compositions and choreography.

Evie’s performances, recordings and teaching reconnect Appalachian music/dance with other African-Diaspora traditions, and have been heard from A Prairie Home Companion to Lincoln Center, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass to Celtic Connections, Brazil to Bali. Based in Oakland, CA, Evie tours with Keith Terry and the Evie Ladin Band; and has produced numerous CDs and instructional DVDs.

In the percussive dance world, she is Executive Director of the International Body Music Festival, directs the moving choir MoToR/dance and is an ace freestyle flatfooter. In the trad world, Evie teaches banjo and harmony singing at the infamous Freight & Salvage, online at Peghead Nation and many camps. In the songwriter world, she just writes great songs. A highly entertaining performer, Evie enjoys facilitating arts learning in diverse communities.

Learn more about Evie: https://evieladin.com/

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Piano Accordion

Jimmy Keane
Jeremiah McLane
▸ Click to read more about Jimmy and Jeremiah

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Irish music accordion virtuoso Jimmy Keane was born in London of Irish-speaking parents from Connemara and Kerry. His late father Jimmy was a magnificent sean-nos (old style) singer, and along with young Jimmy’s mother Mary, actively encouraged him to take up traditional Irish music.

Jimmy’s accomplishments are far reaching. He has achieved astonishing and unprecedented success in competitive playing, having won five consecutive All-Ireland titles on the piano accordion. He has always been an avid collector and arranger of old tunes and is becoming increasingly known for his original compositions, many of which have become part of the mainstream of traditional Irish music around the world. He also has recorded and produced numerous albums.

Many regard Keane as the premier exponent of traditional Irish music on the piano accordion. Noted University of Limerick Professor, composer, and musician Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin praised Keane as the “savior of the piano accordion.” eMusic described him as “one of the true giants of Irish traditional music of the past fifty years,” and the voice of Ireland, singer-songwriter Christy Moore, described Jimmy’s playing as “wild and beautiful.”

Learn more about Jimmy: https://jimmykeane.com/

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Accordionist/pianist Jeremiah McLane has a diverse musical background including blues, jazz, Celtic, Québécois, French, Scandinavian and other roots influenced music. He has served on the faculties of the State University of New York in Plattsburgh, NY, the Summit School for Traditional Music in Montpelier, VT, and currently teaches at the Upper Valley Music Center in Lebanon, NH. He teaches regularly at summer music programs throughout the United States, and he is the founder and director of the Floating Bridge Music School.

Since 1990 Jeremiah has released over thirty-five recordings. In 2016, Montpelier Times-Argus music critic Art Edelstein named Jeremiah Vermont’s musician of the year, citing his contributions in teaching, recording and performing is his various configurations. Jeremiah tours regularly with the Kalos trio and the Triton trio as well as performing with his wife Annemieke McLane, in Cassotto Duo.

Learn more about Jeremiah: http://www.jeremiahmclane.com/

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Owen Marshall
▸ Click to read more about Owen

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Vogue magazine calls Owen Marshall “a guitar/mandolin/banjo player rivaled in character only by the occasional three-pronged carrot” (Vogue 2009). Over the past two decades, multi-instrumentalist Owen has emerged as one of the foremost accompanists of traditional music. Known for his fluid and spontaneous bouzouki work and driving and melodic guitar accompaniment, Owen has toured and recorded with the likes of the Seamus Egan Project, Copley Street, The Press Gang, Liz Carrol, Jenna Moynihan, Wooden Nickels, Haas, Marshall and Walsh, and a Christmas Celtic Sojourn.

In addition to being a respected performer and studio musician, Owen is in demand at music camps throughout the U.S., where he shares his approach to accompanying traditional music.

Learn more about Owen: https://owenmarshallmusic.com/

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Maeve Gilchrist
▸ Click to read more about Maeve

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Edinburgh born harpist and composer Maeve Gilchrist has been credited as an innovator on her native instrument and taken the Celtic (lever) Harp to new levels of performance and visibility. Currently based in Kingston, NY, Maeve tours internationally as a solo artist and composer as well as being a member of the grammy-nominated Silkroad ensemble, Arooj Aftab’s Grammy winning Vulture Prince Ensemble and as part of the multi-disciplinary quartet Edges of Light. She has performed and recorded with such luminaries as Yo-Yo Ma, Frankie Gavin, Esperanza Spalding, Bruce Molsky, Ambrose Akinmusire and Solas. 

As a composer, Maeve straddles the worlds of folk and classical with pieces including her original concerto for symphony orchestra and harp (a co-commission with Luke Benton), a three-movement Samuel Beckett-inspired piece for harp, string quartet and sound samples which was premiered at the Edinburgh International Harp Festival in the spring of 2018 and a number of other pieces for harp ensembles and strings. She is a regular visiting artist at the Berklee College of Music and has had a number of instructional books published by Hal Leonard and 80 days publishing. Maeve has released a number of albums to her name on the Adventure Music Record Label as well as being a featured soloist on the Dreamworks blockbuster movie soundtrack, How to tame your dragon: The hidden world. Her most recent album, The Harpweaver, has garnered international acclaim including a five-star review from the Irish Times who described it as “buoyant, sprightly and utterly beguiling….a snapshot of a musician at the top of her game”.

Maeve is the co-music director of the WGBH holiday show, a Christmas Celtic sojourn and the co-artistic director of the brand new Rockport Celtic Music festival; an innovative new festival focused on cross-curation and the outer-fringes of Celtic Music.

Learn more about Maeve: www.maevegilchristmusic.com

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Enrichment Workshop Instructors

Cindy Roy
Piano and Dance
▸ Click to read more about Cindy

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At the forefront of the Franco-American community in the Greater Portland area, one finds Cindy Roy who has long entertained audiences in the Southern Maine area and beyond. Hailing from roots deep in the Maritimes Cindy’s musical passion lies with the French Canadian tradition followed closely by Celtic music. Cindy has been a member of many successful groups including the The Don Roy Trio, Fiddle-icious and the popular Maine French Fiddlers for its duration. Cindy has also received a National Heritage Fellowship award from the National Endowment for the Arts for her excellence in traditional music. Cindy is well known for her step dancing and her piano accompaniment which is among the best in New England. Augmented by her “rhythmic feet” she adds life and enthusiasm to the music.

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The Acadia Festival of Traditional Music & Dance is governed by Friends of the Acadia Trad Festival, a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) Maine nonprofit corporation. Website art by Anabelle Keimach and Annelise Papinsick.