First and Third Sunday

of every month



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About the Music

The aim of Ottawa Cape Breton Session is to share the music and culture of Cape Breton Island with the National Capital area. The Sunday Pub sessions are open to anyone who enjoys the music. Sessions are primarily for the musicians to share the experience of traditional music, are open to anyone who can play the common tunes of the tradition, and are great way to learn new tunes and meet new people. Want to join in? You can! To get familiar with the Cape Breton repertoire we have practice sessions every other Sunday from 2-5pm at various locations. If you already know some of the tunes join in the first and third Sunday of each month. Sessions are led by Aylene, or sometime other folks. This session is a mix of session and solo playing, let us know if you have something special to share with the group.

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The Trousers

Cape Breton Post

Christmas Schedule: Both Christmas and New Year's Day fall on Sunday this year, so there won't be any sessions those days. On Dec. 4 we'll be having a special Cape Breton Celtic Christmas session at St. Patrick's Basilica - we hope that lots of musicians and listeners are able to join us in sharing some Christmas cheer. It's open to everyone so come on out!

Dec 3 Cape Breton Club Christmas Dinner: 6pm - Join the Cape Breton Club of Ottawa for a Christmas dinner and dance evening at the Vanier Knights of Columbus Hall at 260 McArthur Road, Ottawa. Cocktails at 6pm, Dinner at 7:15 followed by dancing with music by DJ Doug MacDonald. Members $33, guests $42. Tickets available from:  Brent MacDonald (613) 233-3047 (Central) | Gord Reid 613-830-5956 (East End) | Evelyn Garnier (613) 728-9098 (West Ender) Deadline for tickets is Nov. 27. 

Dec 4—Cape Breton Celtic Christmas Session: 2pm-5pm OCBS has been invited to host an open jam session at St. Patrick's Basilica. The Knights of Columbus will be providing coffee and refreshments (good will offering) and a light lunch for musicians during the break. St. Patrick's K of C really leaped into the lurch when we had a problem with the hired sound system for our recent square dance. When they heard of our predicament they left their dinner tables and went to the church, loaded up their sound system and brought it over to Montgomery Legion. They set it up and took it all down and back to the church in time for Sunday morning! Now we have a chance to thank them by filling their hall with music. We hope you are all able to come out to either play or just visit and enjoy the tunes, and help us say 'Thanks'. We'll play all the regular stuff, but be prepared to play some Christmas music too. This session is open to everyone, we hope to see lots of our regular audience as well as musicians there.

Dec 9The Barra MacNeils: An East Coast Christmas: 7:30pm A musical potpourri of traditional MacNeil family favourites. Presented by Shantero Productions. Tickets $55. More...

Dec 11 —House Session: 2pm-5pm - Hosted by Brian and Aylene Gracie at 925 Parkhaven Ave. Queensway to Woodroffe Ave. North, left on Georgina then left on Parkhaven. Google Map. Park in driveway, on street or at the school across the street. BYOB. Time to play some more Christmas music! Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells.....We may also take a bit of time to check out a couple of possible venues that are very nearby. 

Dec 11 —Reel Sloow Jam: 2pm-5pm Today's session has been cancelled as most of the group has tickets to see Gary Palmer's choir production this afternoon. 

Dec 18 —Pub Session: There won't be a session today because many of our musicians will be playing the day before at a private event, and because we really want to encourage folks to go see a couple of other musical events (details below). You can make it a full day of Cape Breton/Celtic music by going to see MacKenzie and MacIsaac from 1-3 at Strathcona Legion and Anna and Tyson from 3-5 at Fallowfield St. Patrick's Church. 

Dec 18 —A Celtic Christmas: 3pm Celebrate St. Patrick's Parish (Fallowfield) 150th anniversary with Anna Ludlow|Tyson Chen|Graham Lindsey. St Patrick's invites everyone to join them in welcoming three very talented, local artists to lead us in a joyful afternoon for sing-along Christmas carols, as well as lively jigs and reels, on fiddle, piano, mandolin, flute, and more!15 Steeple Hill Crescent Ottawa (Fallowfield), ON Tickets $10 in advance, $15 at the door. Buy Tickets


Dec 18 —MacKenzie and MacIsaac 1pm-3pm - Since the 4th Sunday for December is Christmas Day, the Celtic Kitchen Ceilidh has been moved to  December 18 at the Strathcona Legion at 1940 Bank Street. Featured performers are  Alexis MacIsaac and Calum MacKenzie (Mabou). There will be a Turkey luncheon served with all of the trimmings from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm for a price of $10.00. The luncheon is open to everyone, but you must reserve a ticket by calling the Branch at 613-236-1575.

Dec 21 —A Natalie MacMaster & Donnell Leahy: A Celtic Family Christmas: 8pm NAC Southam Hall. Presented by the National Arts Centre.  Tickets starting at $49. More...

Dec 25 Christmas Day
- no sessions today!
Jan 1 New Year's Day - no sessions today!

Jan 8 —House Session: 2pm-5pm - Hosted by Brian and Aylene Gracie at 925 Parkhaven Ave. Queensway OR we might go pub crawling again. Stay tuned....

Jan 8 —Reel Slooow Jam: 2pm-5pm - Hosted by Helen Barkley at 1143 Agincourt Road, off Maitland. Google Map BYOB  

Jan 8 —Pub Session: 2pm-5pm - Location TBA. Hopefully in our new permanent home.

How to Host a House Session 

All you need is a space big enough to put 6-8 fiddlers in, some chairs without arms, and a willingness to listen to the same tune played over and over again as we practice. If you have a piano let us know, otherwise we'll bring our own keyboard. We can also bring folding chairs. Sessions are BYOB but usually the hosts provide some non-alcoholic beverages and a little something for snack time. Interested? Talk to Aylene or Beth or send an email to 

The Gaelic Hour                 Music from the Glen

Open Jam Sessions: 1st and 3rd Sunday of every month.  Sessions are led by Aylene, or sometimes other folks. This session is a mix of session and solo playing, let us know if you have something special to share with the group. Sheet music permitted. Generally a pretty fast pace. Jam ouverte avec concentration sur le pieces de l’ile du Cap Breton, de l’Écosse et de Glengarry. Apportez un instrument ou venez partager une chanson avec nous. Ou, venez savourez la musique et notre plaisir. On ne sait jamais qui s’y présentera, mais c’est certainement toujours un groupe avec un accueil amical avec qui passer l’après-midi.

House Sessions: 2nd and 4th Sunday of every month 2pm-5pm various locations. More of a practice session, slower pace for learning new tunes. Mainly aimed at those who read music or learn by ear quickly. For intermediate/advanced players. Session à domicile:  Session à vitesse moyennement accéléré où apprender de nouveau ‘sets’ de pieces, généralement  à partir de feuilles de musique mais aussi ‘à l’oreil’. Lieu idéal pour faire l’essaie d’une  nouvelle chanson, ou pratiquer de nouvelles pieces avant de les jouer à la session au pub. C’est aussi un bon temps pour faire du ‘social’ avec des gens forts sympatiques et pour savourer des grignotines délicieuses.

Reel Slooow Jams: The Reel Slooow Jam is an occasional and irregular gathering for those who are new to playing fiddle (or piano or guitar) and who would like to learn Cape Breton tunes. The focus is on tunes such as airs and waltzes, as well as playing jigs and reels from the session repertoire but at a slow learning pace with more time for those who don't read music to learn by ear. On vise les débutant(e)s au violon (ou piano ou guitar) qui désirent apprendre le pieces de l’Isle du Cap Breton dans un millieux amical et sans pression. Plusieurs aires et valses lentes ainsi que des jigues et des reels à partir du repertoire régulier, mais à une vitesse plus lente; ceci donnera plus de temps à ceux et celles qui ne savent pas lire la musique a apprendre à l’oreil. Vérifier la page “Tunes” pour la liste le plus souvent joué au Slow Jam (“jam lent”).

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Past Issues of Newsletter


CBCO Christmas

Click below for the best source of musical information in Cape Breton. Listings for who is playing where and when - an indispensible vacation planner!

Music Cape Breton


Kingston CB Session

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Sheet music and practice track

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Looking for something more Irish? Everything you need to find Irish music and culture as well as Ottawa Valley and other Celtic music in Ottawa is at

Listen to Irish/Celtic music from Ottawa online at the Gaelic Hour

Both sites contain links to various Celtic happenings in the Ottawa area. Irish Music Ottawa also has links to genealogy resources, local music teachers, instrument sales/repair, also links to tune archives.