Kendra MacGillivray

Kendra MacGillivray


"Kendra MacGillivray, to me, was the highlight of the weekend, entertainment-wise. She was amazing, multiple standing ovations and back to our real Celtic roots, which is what the College is all about." - The late Scott MacAulay, Director of The College of Piping & Celtic Performing Arts, PEI


"Cutting, cutting, cutting into the notes like a friggin' Ginzu knife through honey dew melon, MacGillivray just ripped through a set of reels to begin (The Messer Medley), followed by a dreamy, beautiful air called Love O' The Isles (the name of her new CD) and then finished off the tremendous set with a few raging reels, as rosin dust soared up in clouds above her head." - Todd MacLean, The Guardian


2003 Music Nova Scotia Educator of the Year
2002 StFX University Young Alumna of the Year
2002 ECMA for Female Artist of the Year
2002 ECMA for Instrumental Artist of the Year
1992 New England Scottish Fiddle Champion


2009 ECMA for Instrumental Recording of the Year (Love O' The Isles)

2009 Music PEI Award for Instrumental Recording of the Year (Love O' The Isles)

2009 Music PEI Award for Roots/Traditional Solo Recording of the Year (Love O' The Isles)

2009 Music PEI Entertainer of the Year

2009 Music PEI Entertainer of the Year

2005 Music Nova Scotia Award for Educator of the Year

2004 Music Nova Scotia Award for Educator of the Year


For over twenty years, Kendra MacGillivray has brought traditional fiddle music to life with her incredibly energetic performances with the fiddle. As a former Highland dancer, Kendra aims to make her fiddling lively and dancable with upbeat jigs, polkas and hornpipes, beautiful swaying waltzes and slow airs or selections of rhythmic strathspeys and reels that build in speed and intensity. She’s even been known to make a few steps while fiddling at the same time!

"Her playing is strong and catching, and as the saying goes, ‘If you’re not tapping your foot to it, check your pulse.’"
- Keitha Clark, The Canadian Folk Music Bulletin

With numerous awards under her belt, including two prestigious East Coast Music Awards, including "Female Artist of the Year" and "Instrumental Artist of the Year" in 2002, Kendra travels the globe, playing the traditional fiddling style from Eastern Nova Scotia. Performances have also taken her into the United States and as far away as New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Iceland, Europe, Barbados and of course, Scotland, where many of her favourite Scottish Gaelic melodies were composed by fiddlers such as James Scott Skinner in the 1800s and 1900s.

Kendra also composes tunes to compliment her Scotch rooted music and she also loves to incorporate tunes that are written by Cape Breton and Canadian composers and ones that her grandfather, Hugh A. MacDonald made popular in the 1930s on some of the early Canadian Celtic fiddle recordings.

Hugh A. was a recipient of a Stompin’ Tom Connors Award by the ECMA in 2001 and was inducted into the Nova Scotia Country Music Hall of Fame in 2003 for his contributions to the Atlantic Canadian music scene. His recorded music was played in the Canadian Pavilion at Expo 1967 in Montreal and at Expo 2000 in Germany, Kendra performed live in the Canadian Pavilion, thirty-three years later. To make the occassion even more momentous, she played the same tunes that her grandfather played.

She has four instrumental Celtic recordings to date. MacGillivray released "Love O' The Isles" in the summer of 2008, "Over the Waves" in 2000, "Clear the Track" in 1996 and "Antigonish’s Own" in 1990.

Kendra records and performs with some of the best musicians in Atlantic Canada iincluding Troy MacGillivray, Tracey Dares, Dave MacIsaac, Elmer Deagle, Darren McMullen, John Chaisson, Greg Simm, Sabra MacGillivray, Cheryl Smith and Scott Ferguson to name a few.

MacGillivray has taken her fiddle music from small halls in Eastern Nova Scotia to beautiful concert stages and sold out venues around the world. She’s been invited numerous times to be a special guest of Symphony Nova Scotia, The Maritime Forces Atlantic - Stadacona Band and a feature performer in the musical, DRUM!

Her talents have enabled her to perform alongside other acclaimed fiddlers such as Alasdair Fraser, Buddy MacMaster, Natalie MacMaster, Martin Hayes, Daniel Lapp and Liz Doherty. In 2003, she was a special guest of New York composer, Philip Glass in concert at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, ON and shared the stage with Canadian artists such as Celtic singers Loreena McKennitt, Rita MacNeil and Mary Jane Lamond.

Kendra has showcased at some of the most prestigious Celtic Festivals in Canada. She has played at the Celtic Colours International Festival in Cape Breton many times and the Halifax Celtic Feis in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Other highlights include the Celtic Roots Festival in Goderich, Ontario, the Vancouver Celtic Festival and CeltFest Vancouver Island in British Columbia. She also performed at "Fiddles of the World" in Halifax, Nova Scotia, a festival showcasing fiddling styles from around the world.

MacGillivray has headlined at Roots and Blues festivals, Folk festivals and Highland games as well. Highl



Produced by Declan O'Doherty and Kendra MacGillivray

Musicians include Kendra MacGillivray, Troy MacGillivray, Tracey Dares, Elmer Deagle, Cheryl Smith.

Recorded at Lakewind Sound Studio, Point Aconi, NS.


Produced by Scott Ferguson and Kendra MacGillivray

Musicians include Kendra MacGillivray, Troy MacGillivray, Dave MacIsaac, John Chiasson, Scott Ferguson

Traditional recording including some full band cuts (fiddle/piano/guitar/bass/drums) including special guests.

This CD won Kendra the titles of ECMA "Female Artist of the Year" and "Instrumental Artist of the Year" 2002.

"The Trolley" has been used by CBC Mainstreet in Charlottetown, PEI as the program theme music since 2001.

"The Trolley" has also been featured in the CBS movie, "Heart of a Stranger" in 2003.

"Hot Fingers" has been featured on the Tourism Nova Scotia compilation.


Traditional recording (fiddle/piano/guitar)

"The Polka Medley" has been featured on the Tourism Nova Scotia compilation CD.

"Starlight Waltz" has been featured on the compilation CD, "Rosin the Bow".

"Starlight Waltz" has been featured in the dance documentary, "Steps with Sabra" in 2004.


Debut traditional recording

Set List

The set list includes medleys of tunes that Kendra has arranged including mostly traditional Scottish tunes, some Irish, Cape Breton, Canadian tunes and tunes she composed herself.

Here are some of the popular medleys Kendra plays.

The Trolley Medley
Jackson's Fancy Medley
Miss Elspeth Campbell Medley
Starlight Waltz
Polka Medley
Arisaig Mist
Miller O'Hirn Medley
Tullochgorm Medley
Messer Medley
Ashokan Farewell

New Additions:
Love O' The Isles
Waters of Northumberland
Mark Anthony Rainnie Medley
Jolene Sonier Medley
Antigonish Polka Medley