Alana & Leigh Cline are a Toronto-based Celtic fiddle & guitar instrumental duo who combine Irish, Cape Breton and Scottish styles to create their own sound. They also include occasional Balkan tunes in their sets. The duo specializes in telling the history and stories behind tunes and musical styles, and many of their tunes are from the 1700s and 1800s. They also specialize in performances and workshops comparing different Celtic fiddle musical traditions.
Having performed in Canada and the US, a small selection of performances include the Great American Irish Festival, Celtic Island Music Festival, Trenton Scottish Irish Festival, Irish Real Life Festival, Chris Langan Weekend, City of Toronto's Canada Day Celebrations, The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, Music Niagara, Toronto Public Library, Burlington Public Library, folk clubs, and at private corporate events for Tourism Ireland, Corus Entertainment,
Enterprise Ireland, Maple Leaf Foods, and Discover Halifax.
Alana & Leigh have a self-titled CD.
Alana first started playing at the age of 8 under the tutelage of Cape Breton fiddler Sandy MacIntyre. She studied privately with All-Ireland Fiddle Champion Maeve Donnelly over a period of two years, and also studied the North-East Scottish fiddle style with Paul Anderson, whose teaching lineage goes back directly to Niel Gow and the Golden Age of Scottish fiddle music.
Alana has augmented her playing style with private lessons from Irish fiddlers Kevin Burke, Liz Carroll, Tony DeMarco and Patrick Ourceau. In 2008 Alana became the first Canadian to be accepted to the auditioned Meitheal School of Irish Traditional Music in Limerick, Ireland with Paul O'Shaughnessy of Altan as one of her instructors. She has also studied fiddle at the Gaelic College of Celtic Arts in St. Ann's, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.
Leigh was part of the Toronto/Yorkville folk scene of the 1960s, travelling throughout North America as a folk music performer. For the Mariposa Folk Festival, in the '60s and '70s, Leigh was Artistic Director, Stage Manager and Technical Director, and did World Music Research. Leigh was able to learn musical styles and guitar firsthand from the likes of Mississippi John Hurt, Skip James, Bukka White, Maybelle Carter, Lonnie Johnson, Bill Munroe, Merle Travis and Doc Boggs. He also worked for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation doing music research for TV documentaries.
Leigh was sound engineer for many performers including The Chieftains, Joni Mitchell, Judy Collins, John Allan Cameron, Fleetwood Mac, Aly Bain and the Boys of the Lough, Procol Harum, Bruce Cockburn, Rod Stewart, as well as touring with Ian & Sylvia & The Great Speckled Bird.
For many years he worked in Greece and Turkey with top folk and nightclub singers and musicians. These included Nikos Xilouris, Domna Samiou, Stathis Nikolaidis, Tasos Halkias and Mihalis Kaliontzidis, as well as many others, both in the folk and bouzouki nightclub genres.
Leigh is the author, with fiddler Sandy MacIntyre, of the Mel Bay publication “Cape Breton Traditional Style Fiddle Sets with Guitar Tablature”. Leigh has three solo CDs “Orient Express”; “Galatia”, a Celtic/Pontic Greek fusion CD single; and “Al Asha Bi Daha”, all of which are available on iTunes.