Pub Session - 
First and Third Sunday
of every month

House Sessions - 
Second and Fourth Sundays 2pm-5pm

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About the Music

Ottawa Cape Breton Session provides an opportunity to play tunes and sets that are part of the Cape Breton traditional repertoire. Sunday afternoon pub sessions are generally at a pretty fast pace. It is mostly group/session playing with the occasional song or solo. Anyone is welcome to join in and play with the group or share a song. Sessions  are led by Aylene, or sometimes other folks. Let her, or the pianist Ellen know if you have something special to share with the group.   

Sessions are primarily for the musicians to share the experience of traditional music, are open to anyone who can play a few of 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 house sessions every other Sunday from 2-5pm at various locations. Regular house sessions are pretty fast, new tunes are learned mostly from sheet music. The Reel Sloow Jam is a house session that is at a more moderate tempo for learning.

If you don't play, but love to hear Maritime and Cape Breton music live you're more than welcome to come down to the pub sessions and have some fun. It's always a big and friendly group of folks, a great place to meet old friends and make new ones too.


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Session Schedule
Mar 17 —Workshops: 12pm-4pm at La Grange de la Gatineau 80 chemin Summer, Gatineau, QC. Google Map  12-1pm: Stepdance/Squaredance Class (Instructor: Anita MacDonald) 1-2pm: Fiddle/Pipes Master Class (Instructors: Ben Miller & Anita MacDonald) $25/per lesson. To register or for more information, contact us at Walk-ins welcome. Note: We have a limited number of private lessons available in pipes, fiddle or guitar from 2-4pm. Guitar classes will be taught by instructor, Zakk Cormier. Please get in touch if you are interested in booking a private lesson.

Gracie's Session

Mar 18 —Pub Session: 2pm-5pm -Grace O'Malley's East Coast Pub 1151 Ogilvie Road Google Map The best cure for a St. Paddy's hangover is more St. Paddy's! If you aren't completely worn out from St. Patrick's Day you can keep the St. Paddy's spirit going with another big helping of traditional Cape Breton, Irish and Scottish tunes. All players of fiddles, guitars, mandolins, whistles, accordions etc. welcome to join in. This session is mostly group playing with a few solos, 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.

Other Cape Breton Cultural Events
Local events for those who enjoy the music and culture of Cape Breton Island. Events listed may be sponsored by a variety of different organizations, but all have at least some Cape Breton music, or Cape Breton artists performing.

Mar 16 —St. Patrick's Day Concert -7pm (doors open 6:30pm) featuring  Mabou's Calum Mackenzie and Alexis MacIsaac, the Trousers, as well as Hibernia, MacIsaac and MacKenzie, and Kyle Burghout and Tyson Chen. PURCHASE TICKETS.  Available in person at  at Brigid's Well - If you purchase a ticket at Bridgid's Well you will receive a $5.00 pint with your purchase. All ages welcome. Cash bar. Brigid's Well 310 St. Patrick St. Ottawa.

Mar 17 —Fraser - 6pm to 9pm Come to the Kat & Kraken for a great supper, one or two of your favourite bevvies, and some lively Cape Breton Celtic music to celebrate St. Patrick's Day! Entertainment will be provided by FRASER - Ernie Fraser (fiddle & guitar), Marietta Fraser (piano & guitar), and Diane Fraser (bodhran and vocals). Admission is free! 330 Elgin St.

Mar 17 —Ben Miller and Anita MacDonald  - at La Grange de la Gatineau 80 chemin Summer, Gatineau, QC. Google Map  Dinner (6:30pm)  and Concert $62.00 + service & tax. Concert only (8pm) $25.00 + tax. Buy online. Celebrate St. Patrick's day Cape Breton style! Ben Miller and Anita MacDonald blend the rich traditional sound of the Cape Breton fiddle with the fiery edge of the Scottish Border pipes. Combining their creative vision with influences from Old and New World Gaelic traditions, they create a powerful sound, heralded as "one of the most important folk acts on the Island [Cape Breton] today." (Wendy Bergfeldt-Munro, Producer/Host CBC).  Tempering the sharp edge of the pipes and fiddle, Ben and Anita are joined by friends from the Maritimes and beyond. A cocktail of tradition, distilled like a pure drop of the Canadian Maritimes, their unique blend of driving dance music transcends boundaries - equally at home at a kitchen ceilidh or on a late night festival stage. "... Fiery, fresh, yet totally traditional." (Alex Monaghan, Piping Today Magazine)


Mar 17 —St. Patrick's Day Ceili 5:30pm- Supper and Dance St. Patrick's Basilica Ottawa Knights of Columbus Council 12158 and Parish presents its annual Ceili Supper and Dance in honour of our Patron, Saint Patrick.  Doors open at 5:30 pm on Saturday March 18, 2018 in the lower level or “Scavi” of the Basilica Church, located off Gloucester or Nepean Streets at Kent Street in downtown Ottawa.  Free parking may be found in the school yard across Nepean Street.
Supper is a traditional Irish Stew (meat or vegetarian), salad, coffee and dessert.  A cash bar will be available for your favourite beverages.  The music program will include ceili bands lead by Ottawa's own “Paddy G and the Mennie Man” in addition to  "Triple Trouble", an Ottawa Valley favourite.  Irish dance demonstration by the Trillium Academy of Irish Dance will be followed by a singalong.   Everybody young and old can participate in the Irish Ceili dancing called by the renown Brian Armstrong. Advance tickets $25, after March 9 $30. Buy online.

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 

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 les 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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