Troy  MacGillivray Band

Troy MacGillivray Band

 Halifax, Nova Scotia, CAN
BandFolkCeltic

“"... if he was an octopus, he would be a mean one-man band." T. de Fries, Denmark

Band Press

Quotes & Recomendations – Various

"As one of the hardest working musicians around, Troy infuses light, joy and vibrancy onto every stage he occupies, and every instrument he plays. With a musical family legacy behind him, Troy moves audiences with his every inflection of the bow."
- Dawn Beaton, Artistic Director for Celtic Colours International Festival, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia (February 9, 2018)


"I first met Troy in 2002 and immediately noticed that he didn’t just play music – he WAS music.

Troy grew up with the music surrounding him in the family and locally, and maybe because of that, he has the most humble and respectful approach to traditional music, which in my view makes him one of the finest ambassadors besides being a monster-player on every instrument he touches - if he was an octopus, he would be a mean one-man band.

Since 2012 he has been a major inspiration to musicians in Denmark, especially here on the Island of Fanø where Troy is practically a mentor to the young players. Troy has played several Danish festivals including Tønder Festival, Godtfolk Festival, Musik over Præstø Fjord, Folk og Fæstival, Pinsefestival in Sønderho (some of them even more than once in different constellations). He has taught at the Folk Music Academy in Odense and Esbjerg, Fanø Kulturskole, and workshop and sessions at festivals around Denmark. Troy is an honorary member of The Danish Cape Breton Society which was formed by the late Jerry Holland.

I am proud to work with him and call him my friend."
- Tove de Fries, fiddler/music teacher/manager, Denmark (February 6, 2018)


“We were so pleased and excited to have the amazingly talented Troy MacGillivray back at the Life & Art Centre! In addition to the wonderful toe-tapping tunes on piano and fiddle, he is a great guy...when can you move to Roblin, Troy!?!”
- Betty Dayson, Life and Arts Centre President, Roblin, MB (February 5, 2018)


"Troy performs with so much heart, no matter the venue, that audiences all over have a new connection to Celtic music. Our concert series will be happy to present him again, and again!"
- Deborah Aitken, Nokomis Concert Series, Saskatchewan (February 2, 2018)


“[Troy’s] incisive bowing, flowing melody lines and vibrant, rhythmic feel were apparent in everything he played.”
- Kenny Mathieson, The Scotsman, Scotland (Blas Festival September 2006)


"At the end of April we brought young fiddler/pianist Troy MacGillivray to the St. James Hall for a concert, and he did not disappoint. His prodigious fiddle talents and compositional skills really shone, and his latest CD,"Boomerang," also showcases his piano playing to great effect."
- Steve Edge, Artistic Director, Rogue Folk Club, Vancouver, BC (July 2004)

Troy MacGillivray - Tune Poets – FolkWorld - 2013

Classic fiddling from Nova Scotia, and a young fiddler who's almost as well known for his composing and piano-playing as for frotting horse and cat remains. On his fifth solo album, Troy has recorded a set of tunes composed by each of twelve fiddler-composers (not all best known for fiddling). A great idea, this project has been perfectly executed by Mr McGillivray with assistance from Allan Dewar on piano, Jake Charron on guitar, and Andrew Downing on bass. I had the pleasure of seeing Troy and Allan on stage in Edinburgh last year, and I can tell you this studio recording comes close to their dazzling live performance.

So, if you had to pick twelve composers of fiddle music, who would they be? With one for each set of tunes, they also have to provide compositions which fit together. Some of Troy's choices are obvious, others less so. Prolific Canadian tunesmiths Brenda Stubbert and Dan R MacDonald are missing, but the seminal creations of James Scott Skinner are included, as is a set by Vancouver fiddler and super-prolific composer Calvin Vollrath. The iconic Shelburne Reel gets a track to itself, as does Phil Cunningham's waltz Colours of Cape Breton for which Troy himself sits down at the old horizontal accordion. There's a pair of Troy's own sneaky reels, a big strathspey and reel medley by Donald Angus Beaton with a nod to Dan R, and a big finish provided by Natalie MacMaster whose composing talent is often neglected.

A surprising highlight for me was the beautiful combination of strathspey and slip jig by Andrea Beaton: McArthur Library and The Water Boiling Machine. Both melodies are enchanting, and Troy again switches to piano to give them a sparkling but delicate treatment. Gordon's Hornpipes are a total contrast, punchy tunes by Gordon MacQuarrie, and John Campbell's jigs keep the feet tapping - "close to the floor", as the dancers say. More jigs from Wilfred Gillis, a name I'll have to google, lyrical and lilting this time, with a lovely key change. Troy slips in a Jerry Holland collaboration in the set of storming strathspeys and reels by Dougie MacDonald, before Natalie's clogs and reels bring this excellent album to a close. None of these sets are Cape Breton monsters - the longest here is under seven minutes - but every one is carefully chosen and convincingly delivered. Tune Poets will probably introduce you to some new tunes, and certainly to some novel combinations, but even without that it promises a very varied and totally engaging programme of first- rate fiddle music.

Musician pleased to represent Canada – The Casket (Antigonish) - June 17, 2008

An Antigonish native has recently returned from entertaining troops serving our country in Afghanistan.

Troy MacGillivray recently played shows in late May in Kandahar and Kabul, Afghanistan. The Antigonish fiddler was one of 14 musicians from across Canada to perform in the country.

The tour was organized by the Canadian Forces Personnel and Family Support Services (CFPFSS), the morale and welfare arm of the Canadian Forces (CF), The CFPFSS has a long tradition of providing show tours to CF members serving overseas and in isolated locations. Over the course of any six-month mission, a CF Show Tour is usually held at mid-point.

MacGillivray said he became involved in the show through Cape Breton rock and blue musician Matt Minglewood. "They asked him to suggest some fiddler who could do the tour and he suggest Kimberley Fraser and I," MacGillivray said. The show was a once in a lifetime experience because civilians can't travel into the country. "Kandahar airport is actually now a military base", he said. "You have to be on miliary airplances to get into there. We were really lucky to be able to do that, and really proud to be Canadian and represent Canada for a week and a half".

MacGillivray said the musicians had the opportunity to meet many of the troops and said he visited with a large number from Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, PEI and New Brunswick. "The east coast was definitely well represented".

It took 2 days of travelling to arrive in Afghanistan and after reaching their destination, the musicians were given time to acclimatise. "It was 56 degrees Celsius when we got there which is unbelievable. It was such a different feeling". It was diffficult to move around during the day, MacGillivray said, and they were drinking upwards of 1-2 litres of water every hour. "Once the sun would get behind the buildings around 4 pm - it got dark early there - everyone would go about their business again".

The show they played for the troops was a three hour set with a variety of types of music, MacGillivray said, which the troops seemed to enjoy. The show was not just for Canadian soldiers. "We were brought over by the Canadian government to play for Canadians but we were there to play for all of UN or NATO forces too".

Everyone there was very good to all the musicians who came over and did as much as they could for them, said MacGillivray. "Considering they were fighting the war, just to see them so happy and positive was quite interesting. They were just great people. A lot of it is so beautiful. It's desert, but they have these green valleys that are lush and beautiful and then huge mountains and big sand dunes. Its really an amazing place and its too bad there's such anxiety and fighting going on there".

Troy MacGillivray Wins Instrumental Artist – The Casket (Antigonish) - February 2008

Troy MacGillivray played over 250 performances in 2007 … and still managed to record and release a new CD! Live At The Music Room is Troy’s most invigorating and toe-tapping release yet and features the best of the traditional Celtic music world all wrapped up in a single package. And last week in Fredericton, Live At The Music Room garnered Troy his first ECMA Award for Instrumental Recording of the Year!

The ECMA’s are a four-day music industry conference and ceremony which took place in Fredericton this year. The event culminated in a gala on Sunday night at the Aitken Centre in Fredericton in which over 20 awards were distributed honouring the best in East Coast music over the past year.

Live At The Music Room is MacGillivray’s 4th solo release. Despite the fact that all of his previous recordings have received ECMA nominations, this release marks the first time MacGillivray has received the award. "People have been asking me for the past three or four years to make a live CD. Last year, the timing was finally right. The Music Room is a great facility to play in and the whole idea just came together in a matter of days. We had a fun night and the tracks sounded so good, that I just decided ‘why not’ " says MacGillivray, still reveling in the recognition from his peers.

The Music Room on Lady Hammond Road in Halifax did indeed provide for a proper concert presentation of Troy’s gifts on both fiddle and keyboard. On the CD, MacGillivray delivers a toe-tapping, invigorating musical journey that is both a concert and ceilidh wrapped up in an incredible listening experience! The unique acoustics of The Music Room are paired with the intimate rapport of Troy and the audience to provide 70 minutes of pure entertainment that flies by so quick, you feel as if you are at the concert instead of actually listening to a CD.  Accompanying Troy on the CD are ECMA Award winner Dave MacIsaac on guitar and fellow Antigonish-native Allan Dewar on piano. Special guest appearances by guitarist Brad Davidge and step-dancer Sabra MacGillivray (Troy’s sister) round out the tracks on the CD that Juno Award winning engineer Chad Irshick put the finishing touches to at his studio, Inception Sound in Toronto, to create one of the most dynamic traditional CD’s to come out of Atlantic Canada in recent years.

Troy MacGillivray is also the 2005 winner of the Danny Kyle Stage from the Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow, Scotland and the 2004 Auleen Theriault Young Tradition Award winner from the Goderich Celtic Roots Festival in Goderich, Ontario - an award given to an artist that shows outstanding talent and love for traditional and roots-based music.  Troy MacGillivray's career has kicked into high gear in recent years and is moving into overdrive with this latest recognition - the ECMA Award - and the release of Live At The Music Room, which is now available online at www.troymacgillivray.com

Mac of all trades - Multi-instrumentalist MacGillivray releases Eleven, a diverse set of tunes with a host of special guests – Halifax Herald - November 26, 2005 - By Stephen Cooke

I WONDER IF Nova Scotian traditional instrumentalists silently curse Antigonish native Troy MacGillivray under their breath for his talent at both keyboard and fiddle, his composing abilities, and the fact that the size of his ego seems inversely proportional to the weight of his abilities.

That last one probably just makes them feel worse for even thinking bad thoughts.

But with his third CD Eleven (Trolleymac Music), he proves once again he is a Mac of all trades, and also a master of them all (but oddly enough, not a MacMaster), with a spirited and diverse set of tunes and a host of special guests who will set Celtic fans’ spines to tingling.

Like his sisters Kendra (fiddle) and Sabra (bodhran, dancing and, recently, piano), Troy MacGillivray has a knack for being able to effortlessly convey a broad range of emotion through his instrumental playing, whether it’s the slow build from a bright strathspey to a joyous hornpipe on the Hey Johnny! set (with guitarist Dave MacIsaac) or the darker tone of Knittin’ & Drinkin’, which includes the tune Trolley’s Reel, written for MacGillivray by Sydney’s Colin Grant after "a sketchy St. Patrick’s Day performance in Halifax." From the sounds of it, MacGillivray’s completely recovered, and the tune reaffirms the notion that every cloud has a silver-lined song waiting inside.

MacGillivray fills the record with autobiographical detail, including the fact that the disc is titled Eleven because its the 11th album he’s performed on, and his reknowned fiddler grandfather Hughie A. MacDonald was named Hughie No. 11, after the number of his lot in Lanark, Antigonish County.

Then there are moments like the opening track, Stirling Castle, which he first played publicly 14 years ago during his debut on the fiddle, when he got so nervous he fled the stage. But on this version he commands it with a driving bow and sharp cuts, and the warm texture of Natalie Haas’s cello enriching the sound considerably. They duet again on The Eternal Rig, this time with MacGillivray playing viola, which sounds so brilliant you wonder why it isn’t used more often.

Then there are those moments of pure fun, like the trio of MacGillivray, Celtic guitarist Tim Edey and Irish flutist Nuala Kennedy (Fine Friday/Harem Scarem) tearing through a set called The Teetotaler, which I’m sure gets a lot of laughs when they announce it at the after-hours Festival Club during Celtic Colours in Cape Breton.

The record wouldn’t be complete without a family track, especially since Eleven is dedicated to the MacGillivray’s mother Janice who passed away this year. Using tunes taken from old family party tapes, Smash the Windows is a lovely one, with Troy doing triple duty on fiddle, keyboard and bass — through the magic of multitrack — with Kendra on fiddle, Sabra on bodhran and father Tony playing guitar. The difference in fiddle sounds is plain — Kendra’s notes always seem to have smiles on them — and the blend is the right mix of sweet and tart.

If I had a complaint to make about Eleven, it would be that MacGillivray’s stellar piano playing takes a back seat to the fiddle here, but as the cover graphic shows, it’s very much a fiddle record, compared to his previous CD Boomerang. There are still moments though, like the old Gaelic air Crodh Chailein (Colin’s Castle), a simple elegaic tune with fiddle and keyboard that closes the disc with a fit pairing of MacGillivray’s two musical loves.