The Barra MacNeils

The Barra MacNeils are a Canadian musical group from Sydney Mines, Nova Scotia. The founding members of the group are siblings Sheumas, Kyle, Stewart, and Lucy MacNeil.[1][2] In 2005 two additional brothers, Ryan and Boyd, joined the band. The Scottish island of Barra is the ancestral home of Clan MacNeil.

The Barra MacNeils
OriginSydney Mines, Nova Scotia, Canada
GenresCeltic music
Years active1980–present
Associated actsSlainte Mhath
MembersSheumas MacNeil, Kyle MacNeil, Stewart MacNeil, Lucy MacNeil, Ryan MacNeil, Boyd MacNeil

Musical career

The MacNeil siblings are from Cape Breton Island and began performing together in 1980 while still teenagers (Lucy MacNeil being only 10 years old). Consequently, they were only able to perform on weekends, and toured during school holidays. The siblings are classically trained musicians and alumni of Mount Allison University.

In 1986, they released their first eponymous album on their own independent label. The Barra MacNeils won their first East Coast Music Award in 1991, and have won four more since, including an Album of the Year award for TimeFrame in 1992, and a Group of the Year award in 2001. They signed with PolyGram, and their first two albums were re-released while their 1993 album Closer To Paradise earned a gold record. They have been an opening act for Céline Dion and have toured regularly across North America and Europe.



Year Album Chart Positions CRIA
CAN CAN Country
1986 The Barra MacNeils
1989 Rock in the Stream
1990 Timeframe
1993 Closer to Paradise 33 10 Gold
1994 The Traditional Album
1995 The Question 61
1997 Until Now
1999 The Christmas Album
2000 Racket in the Attic
2005 All at Once
2006 The Christmas Album II
2007 The 20th Anniversary Collection
2009 In Concert (live)
In Session (live)
2012 The Celtic Colours Sessions
The Barra MacNeils with Symphony Nova Scotia (live)


Year Title Chart Positions Album
1990 "My Heart's in the Highlands" Timeframe
1993 "Row Row Row" 36 41 81
"Darling Be Home Soon" 29 23 Closer to Paradise
1994 "In the Wink of an Eye" 12 25 31
"Caledonia" 22
1995 "We Celebrate" 16 46
"Myopic" 24 56 The Question
1996 "The Ballad of Lucy Jordan" 50
1997 "Mouth Music" Until Now
2000 "Misty Moisty Morning" Racket in the Attic
2001 "By Northern Light"


  1. Bowman, Durrell. "Barra MacNeils", The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved January 22, 2011.
  2. Elaine Keillor (18 March 2008). Music in Canada: Capturing Landscape and Diversity. McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP. pp. 298–. ISBN 978-0-7735-3391-2.
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