Cape Breton University is delighted to honour the celebrated musical career of Ashley MacIsaac.
Born in Creignish, Cape Breton Island, Mr. MacIsaac achieved international recognition from an early age as one of Cape Breton’s most dynamic young fiddle musicians. As one of the most renowned Canadian roots musicians of all time, with gold and platinum records, Ashley MacIsaac has received significant international acclaim. He plays the fiddle in a direct, traditional Cape-Breton style, adding his own unique treatment, mixing genres and making contemporary Celtic music appeal to a wide spectrum of fans.
Mr. MacIsaac is also an accomplished piano player and step dancer.
Already considered something of a prodigy at the time of his 1992 debut album Close To The Floor, three years later Ashley into the mainstream with his double-platinum album Hi, How Are You Today? International radio play for his 1995 single, Sleepy Maggie and a regular slot on MuchMusic, made Mr. MacIsaac a Canadian icon.
One thing Mr. MacIsaac is less well known for is his ability to conform; he constantly pushes the traditional styles of Celtic music incorporating rock, pop, dance and everything in between.
Captivating international audiences for decades, he performed in the opening ceremonies of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics to a worldwide audience and with artists such as Phillip Glass and The Chieftains and has performed in premier venues around the world, including New York City’s Carnegie Hall.
Mr. MacIsaac’s public recognition includes three Juno Awards – one for Best New Solo Artist, the second for Best Instrumental Artist and the third, in 1996, for Best Roots & Traditional Album – Solo. He has appeared on the Conan O’Brian Show, the Today Show and he has performed at international festivals, theatres and halls all over the world. He has also been featured on Bravo’s celebrity series Star Portraits and CBC’s acclaimed series Life & Times and appeared in various TV shows and films.
Ashley MacIsaac’s catalogue of music includes 15 albums produced through his long standing relationship with Linus Entertainment. His newest project called FDLER is a hybrid Celtic/dance record to be released this June, featuring collaborations with many current and up and coming East Coast producers and acts such as Neon Dreams.
A new CBC show called Celtic Edge featuring Ashley will be broadcast this fall exploring the relationship between the younger generation of Celtic musicians inspired by Ashley as Ashley discusses his relationship to the older generation of fiddlers who inspired him. Ashley is an inspirational story teller and continues to pass on the proud musical heritage and traditions of Cape Breton to the world.
Mr. MacIsaac resides in Windsor, Ontario, with his husband, Andrew Stokes, their three dogs and a parrot.