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BRING OUT YOUR CELT!!

Written by Winnie Czulinski

Open stages often provide an entry to media, regular gigs, and festival appearances. Exposure and support in the traditional music industry - as well as music vouchers worth 500 - are the rewards marking the Danny Kyle Open Stage, part of the annual Celtic Connections festivals in Glasgow. "Danny" winners have gone on to support the likes of Martin Hayes, Bob Geldof, and Old Blind Dogs at Celtic Connections festivals, and to establish their own musical careers.

Fifteen-year-old piano accordion player Harriet Bartlett was one 2003 winner. Host and musician Gibb Todd, impressed by the Scottish, French Canadian and contemporary music she'd performed during one of his concerts, had invited her to perform at the Danny Open Stage.

"There were excellent bands playing," marvels Bartlett, "and there I was - little ol' me and my piano accordion, playing sets of reels and the odd song. When (host) Liz Clark contacted me to say I was one of the winners I couldn't believe it!"

But with many festivals and pub performances behind her, and her first CD to be released next year by Greentrax, she's no novice. Since the age of nine, 16 year-old Shropshire native Bartlett was going to "as many music sessions as I could. Some of my best friends are in their fifties."

www.celticheritage.ns.ca