The Mount Benson Ceili Band grew out of the 2008 Vancouver Island Fiddle Camp in Nanaimo. inspired by Victoria singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist Paul O’Brien, a transplanted Irish/Brit. Today the lineup features fiddles, whistles, mandolin, guitar, bouzouki, keyboard, and bodhran (Irish drum).
A ceilidh is a traditional gathering involving music and song, which originated in Scotland and Ireland. Ceilidh and ceili are both acceptable spellings. Ceilidh is traditional Gaelic used in Scotland and England while ceili is the language reform Irish name. Both spellings are used in Ireland. Many ceilidh bands are named after mountains, hence the name Mount Benson Ceili Band.
The band plays traditional music from Ireland, Scotland, and England, along with British Columbian, French Canadian, and American tunes. Their repertoire includes jigs, reels, hornpipes, polkas, mazurkas, and the occasional waltz for good measure. Upcoming venues include the Running Club at Cedar Hall, Cedar, at noon on Sunday, February 6, 2011, and the Rendez Vous Restaurant, 489 Wallace St, Nanaimo, from 7 to 9 pm on St. Patrick’s Day, Thursday, March 17, 2011. This year the Mount Benson Ceili Band will participate in Concert in the Parks series in Nanaimo.