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Music Cape Breton's Diversity in Unity

Artist Bessie MacEachern

Bessie MacEachern was born October 4, 1911 at Craigmore, Cape Breton. Her parents were Angus D. MacEachern of Craigmore and Katie Anne MacNeil of Iona, Nova Scotia. She married Alex Angus MacEachern of Creignish on July 24, 1934. They had two sons, Lawrence and Joseph.

Bessie sang at concerts and ceilidhs in Creignish, Judique, Port Hawkesbury, Southwest Margaree, Broad Cove, the Highland Village, Glendale, Lake Ainslie, and Antigonish, including the Highland Games. She was a participant in annual St. Andrew’s Day and Robbie Burns’s Day events. Bessie sang at the official opening of the Canso Causeway in Port Hastings on 13 August 1955 and also at the 25th Anniversary in 1980. She often sang with other Gaelic singers, including Fr. Donald Angus Rankin.

Bessie and Alex Angus taught Gaelic classes in Creignish between 1971 and 1973; she taught Gaelic songs while he taught Gaelic conversation and translations.

On July 29, 1972, Bessie participated in the Caidreabh project, singing at the “World’s Biggest Ceilidh” at the Centennial Arena in Sydney, Nova Scotia. She was also a founding member of Coisir an Eilean ,the Gaelic singing group, who performed at the Nova Scotia Tattoo (Halifax, 1983) and at Festival Antigonish’s An Evening With the Cape Breton Gaelic Choirs (1988).

In August 1989, Bessie attended and sang at the re-dedication of the Cille Choirill church in Glen Spean, Brae Lochaber, Scotland and at various places during a cultural trip of Cape Bretoners to Scotland, arranged by Mary Campbell and John S. MacIsaac.

Bessie died on September 10, 1996 and is buried in Creignish at the Stella Maris parish cemetery.