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May 2014

KitchenFest! Q+A: Andrea Beaton

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We’re getting so excited for KitchenFest!, so we thought we would catch up with some of the folks whose talents will contribute to the big island-wide kitchen ceilidh!

First up in our little Q+A series is Andrea Beaton, who is a fiddler, tune composer and recording artist originally from Mabou. We reached her in her home in Montreal via Skype last week to chat about KitchenFest, about coming home to Cape Breton to play, and about what she’s looking forward to most about the festival. Thanks Andrea, and we can’t wait to see you on the island very soon!

(Check out KitchenFest details on our website here or call us at the College, 902-295-3411.)

Us: KitchenFest! is all about the kitchen, which is important in the Gaelic culture. What are some of your memories of the kitchen? 

Andrea: I have lots of great memories of the kitchen! My grandmother, the only one living while I was a kid, had a great kitchen with a wooden floor, people would dance on that. And I remember that I would sit at the kitchen table when I was learning tunes, I don’t know why, it was just the best fit, to sit at the kitchen table! And food and drink is central to our culture and gatherings, so I guess it made the most sense to have the food and the piano in the same room!

Us: What makes playing in Cape Breton different?

Andrea: It can be scary to play at home! Because the people know, so you can’t get away with anything! But it’s also the best feeling, because the people know. They know what you’re doing, they get it, they love it. They dance the best to it! They feel what you’re feeling.

Us: What are you looking forward to the most, about coming home to play KitchenFest? 

Andrea: I get to play with a nice variety of musicians. You know, I love playing a dance with a piano and guitar, but you don’t always get to hire a piper or a singer to come up on stage with you. That’s going to be great. And I’ll get to see my family and friends, as well, and play with some of them too, with my parents Kinnon and Betty Lou.

Us: What’s your current favourite tune? 

Andrea: There are some days when every tune I hear is my favourite tune! But I really miss playing strathspeys. My favourite tune, I would say, is Christy Campbell. I don’t get much chance to play high bass tunes! Strathspeys are a kind of tune you don’t play as much when you’re playing away, you tend to play more jigs, reels, things that people connect with more, away.

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