Cookeilidh brings Yuletide music to Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre

The group formed at a backyard barbecue with a bunch of friends bringing out their instruments to jam.

Celtic group Cookeilidh will take the stage at the Mary Winspear Centre on Dec. 17.

Celtic group Cookeilidh will be coming out to the Mary Winspear Centre next weekend to provide a festive evening of Celtic and yuletide music.

“The tunes are basically from all over the Celtic world; Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales and even the Canadian Maritimes,” said Dave Cook, lead singer and acoustic 12 string guitar player.

He said many of the tunes will be familiar, but half will be older Celtic Christmas music, some instrumentals and some vocals.

“And of course we always add our Cookeilidh modern twist to all the arrangements that we perform,” he said.

The group has been together now for about 10 years — with the same members since the beginning.

Cook said they’ve played just about everywhere during the Christmas season, from The Butchart Gardens and Government House to Craigdarroch Castle.

The group formed at a backyard barbecue with a bunch of friends bringing out their instruments to jam. Cook said, it just felt right.

“We’ve started a once-a-month jam at the flute player’s house (Woody Wilson). He plays the wooden Irish flute, and we go over once a month and just jam,” he said.

Cook then phoned a friend of his, the bass player, Tom Pogson, and asked him to sit in too and it evolved from there.

“We all have Celtic backgrounds,” said Cook, adding that his family has Scottish heritage.

“So we all sort of discovered our roots and Cookeilidh was born.”

This will be the band’s second time at the Winspear Centre.

“It’ll be high energy, festive and fun.”

Also joining them will be eight of the best dancers from the O’Brien Irish Dancers. Some of the dancers have been to world competitions in Ireland and a couple of them competed at a national event in the U.S. So, the bank knows the dance troupe well.

“So we have girls that are actually world-ranked in terms of their ability in Irish dance,” said Cook.

Cook got his start when he was young, playing the drums in a high school concert band, stage band and jazz band. He got his chance at vocals by singing in church choirs.

He later played in a bunch of club bands doing Top 40 music and even toured around Western Canada in a bus.

After receiving many requests from people, the group is working on a Christmas CD.

They were also asked to play some major Irish festivals in the United States, one of which was in Dublin, Ohio, home to one of the largest Celtic festivals in the world.

Cookeilidh will perform Dec. 17 at the Mary Winspear Centre.

For tickets call 250-656-0275.