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Canada's Cape Breton Island Provides a Look at Celtic Music, Culture

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Cape Breton Island in Canada allows visitors to experience the spirit and sounds of Scotland without actually going there. NY1's Valarie D'Elia filed the following report.

CAPE BRETON ISLAND, NOVA SCOTIA - Ceilidh. Sounds great, but this Gaelic jumble of vowels and consonants is pronounced how?

"A 'kay-lee,'" says fiddler Kenneth MacKenzie. "It means 'a visit,' and anyone can join in."

"You hear the word Ceilidh and you're in a place like Cape Breton Island, that really means like a concert, a show, a get together, a place to have some fun," says Rodney MacDonald, CEO of Gaelic College.

One of the popular places along the Ceilidh trail is the Red Shoe Pub in Mabou, Nova Scotia, where the history is audible.

"Our people came from Scotland and the Highlands of Scotland 200 years ago. ind of the isolation of the island here meant that that culture was preserved," MacKenzie says.

"There are similarities between what you hear here and in places like Scotland and Ireland, but in North America, this is the place. It's really a gem. If you love Celtic music, if you love culture, if you want to learn about that, this is the place to be," MacDonald says. "You feel it in the landscape here. There's something unique. It's special."

Something special that has been handed down for generations.

"It was passed down from my grandfather, who passed away before I was born, and I found it under my grandmother's bed and it was all broken, so I got a fellow up the road there to fix it, and he fixed it all up, and now, I'm playing it," says fiddler Maggie Beaton. "I like to show it off. It's a beautiful fiddle. It's got nice sound and nice color to it, so it makes me proud to play."

As is common practice in the travel industry, Travel With Val often receives complimentary travel or reduced "media" rates at hotels, resorts and attractions, including those that may be featured in these reports. Such consideration is not taken in exchange for any express or implied promise or understanding of any nature, particularly regarding the content of these reports. These reports only feature travel providers personally recommended by Valarie D’Elia in the exercise of her independent editorial judgment, and do not represent the endorsement of Time Warner Cable or any third party. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP