Celtic Celebration ft Alastair MacDonald and Karen Steven

  • January 24, 2024 8:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.
  • Red Bird

    1165 Bank Street
    Ottawa, Ontario K1S 3X4
Ticket Price (CAD) $20.00 This event is now over

Join us for an evening  of Celtic Music played by some of the best in the region. There will be a concert from 8pm to 10pm, with a jam to follow, so bring your instruments and get in on the fun. 

This months Celtic Celebration features Alastair MacDonald and Karen Steven. 


Karen & Alastair both hail from the far North of Scotland, where they grew up learning amongst some well-known musicians such as Addie Harper (of The Wick Scottish Dance Band), Bobby Coghill and Ian Sinclair who led the folk group, Mirk.

Karen has a strong, rhythmic style of fiddle playing, influenced by her highland dance training. With the bagpipes traditionally accompanying highland dancing, Karen was exposed to a strong repertoire of strathspeys, jigs and reels, long before she started learning the fiddle at the age of 13.

Alastair also started learning the accordion when he was 13 and was soon playing regularly for dances across Scotland and the North of England with Addie Harper’s Scottish Dance Band.

The twinning of the Highlands of Scotland with Cape Breton Island, Canada, in 1986 enabled both Karen and Alastair to travel to Cape Breton performing on a tour of the island and this gave them exposure to some of the great players and groups such as the Barra MacNeils, and The Rankin family.

This trip marked a turning point for Karen - A number of scholarships to attend The Valley of the Moon fiddle camp in California, USA followed. It was there, Karen was introduced to the phenomenal playing and teaching of; Alasdair Fraser, Buddy MacMaster, Martin Hayes (Ireland) and Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh (Altan).

A 1997 scholarship from The Cross Trust, enabled Karen to return to Canada to carry out the research for her degree dissertation. Other opportunities have included, playing for former president of the USA, Bill Clinton, at Carnegie’s Skibo Castle in Scotland and teaching at Norway's mid-winter dance festival, Trondheim. Teaching opportunities alongside Alasdair Fraser, at Celtic Connections festival, Glasgow and Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Isle of Skye, as well as performances and workshops at The North Atlantic Fiddle Convention; 2001, 2006 & 2018 have been particular career highlights.

Karen has composed many tunes and has published a book with 51 of her compositions. Many of these are featured on CD’s that she has available. One of her more recent compositions “Angel Boy” was used to help fundraise for a children’s hospital in Scotland. The music and video features 38 musicians from the UK, Sweden, Canada and the US.

Alastair left the Caithness to study Engineering but remained active in the music scene, most recently supporting Brandon McPhee – a recent Scottish accordion champion – on concert tours and CDs. Alastair has been living in Canada for 4 years. In recent months, Alastair has a been working on a CD album, with Ottawa Valley band, Traditional Fare, featuring Dan Schryer on Fiddle and Paul McClelland on pipes & whistles. The band enjoy playing for dancing and listening at venues and for events around The Ottawa Valley region. Look out for the release of their new album in 2023.

Together, Karen and Alastair will play a range of music influenced by their Scottish roots. You will hear a wide selection of reels, jigs, marches and airs – Scottish – Canadian – self composed and traditional tunes.

Date & Time

Wed., Jan. 24, 2024 8:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.

Venue Details

Red Bird

1165 Bank Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1S 3X4 Red Bird
Red Bird Live

Red Bird is an intimate, 80 capacity music venue with excellent sound and sight lines from every seat.

We are licensed and have a selection of locally crafted beers and ciders plus a small but fine selections of wine and spirits. 

We also carry a selection of non-alcoholic beverages such as locally made sodas and non-alcoholic beers, and a small menu of snack foods such as pressed sandwiches, hot dogs, soft pretzels and pastries.

Unless otherwise noted, all shows are all ages. Everyone must have a ticket, regardless of age. 

Doors open one hour ahead of the performance time. 

Parking is available at the south end of our building and on side streets (please be respectful of parking restrictions).

Regrettably, our space is not accessible. There are six gradual and wide steps to our front door with railings on each side. Once inside, everything is on one floor including an accessible washroom. 

Event end times will vary depending on the artist.

There is no phone number for the venue. Please email bookings@redbirdlive.ca or reach out via social media with inquiries. 

Find more Red Bird Live Events and Music events in Ottawa