Cóig ("Ko-ig". Gaelic for '5') is an exciting line-up of five solo acts from Nova Scotia, Canada. So much did they enjoy performing together when asked to form a promotional band of participants for a festival, they now try to play as the Cóig whenever they can. They consist of fiddlers Chrissy Crowley, Rachel Davis and Colin Grant from Cape Breton along with piano whizz, Jason Roach from Chéticamp, Cape Breton and multi-instrumentalist Darren McMullen from Hardwoodlands, Nova Scotia.
Chrissy Crowley, from Margaree already has an impressive list of awards, nominations, and international appearances under her belt. Embracing her Celtic roots, she also makes them her own through original compositions coupled with contemporary arrangements of traditional tunes.
Rachel Davis from Baddeck spends her time switching from international festival stages to small local dances at home. In a genre that sees many performers pushing the envelope and testing new waters, her style of playing traditional tunes in a traditional way is a refreshing reminder of why the Cape Breton fiddle style drives so hard, and is so highly sought after.
Colin Grant from Sydney has been touring steadily as a solo performer for several years now, as well as with Sprag Session who were a Festival highlight for many in Shetland last year. His respect for traditional style, combined with his drive to take the Celtic fiddle to new places results in an exciting sound that is as much Buddy MacMaster as it is Ashley MacIsaac.
Jason Roach, from Chéticamp, Cape Breton is one of the most impressive piano players you will ever hear, who also performed with Sprag Session at the 32nd Shetland Folk Festival. With a style all his own, and an unparalleled intensity on the keys, he’s so mesmerizing that you sometimes have to remind yourself that there's other players on the stage.
Last but by no means least is Darren McMullen, from Hardwoodlands, NS, who is a highly sought after multi-instrumentalist. Easily switching between guitar, mandolin, whistle and banjo with Cóig, this "Swiss-army knife" keeps the rhythm sound diverse. Last year, he was nominated as “Solo Instrumentalist of the year” in the Canadian Folk Music Awards.
Due to busy solo schedules, it’s a challenge to co-ordinate diaries to enable these five musicians to play together as Cóig but we’re delighted to be able to welcome them as a group to the Shetland Folk Festival. What a treat!