Strong Roots and Extended Branches

Duncan Cameron was born in a family where ancient ballads and storytelling were a natural part of life.  His Scottish father Stewart Cameron was well respected in Toronto for his traditional singing, and before Duncan was born, his sister Moira was already performing as well.  According to his mother Dianne, Duncan could sing before he could talk.

At the age of six, Duncan decided to learn an instrument, but wanted to play something that neither his sister nor his father (who were both multi-instrumentalists) played.  More than anything, it was the fiddle in Scottish, Irish and Appalachian music that piqued his interest, so that is what he chose to learn.

When Duncan was ten years old, The Cameron Family moved to Sudbury, Ontario, where they began performing together.  He also learned to play many of the instruments his father played including mandolin, dulcimer, concertina, guitar, banjo and harmonica.  Duncan attended high school in French, and his interest in French Canadian music grew.

In his early twenties he began playing with various local groups doing traditional music in pubs and festivals.  He added tin whistle, bouzouki and bodhrán to his list of instruments.  

Then he was invited to move back to Toronto to join the Celtic rock band, Enter the Haggis.  Living in Toronto led to exciting opportunities, including playing in the Mirvish Production Needfire with John McDermott, Mary Jane Lamond and Denny Doherty.  The big city was also rich with other kinds of music, and Duncan picked up work with bluegrass bands, singer-songwriters and pop musicians.

In 2000 Duncan recorded his first solo album, The Whistling Thief, combining influences from Celtic, funk, latin, and pop music.  Its arrangements in particular impressed Canadian Grand Masters Fiddle champion Pierre Schryer who then asked Duncan to join his band.  For many years they toured together in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K.  In 2003 they recorded Blue Drag which was nominated for a Juno Award.

Duncan continued to perform solo and with other bands as well, notably Fig For A Kiss.  Their album Fallen Leaf, which includes many of Duncan's original compositions, was nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award in 2006.

More opportunities with theatre and Irish dance shows allowed Duncan to travel extensively in Europe and North America.  In fact it seemed that living in Toronto was no longer necessary for his career.  Seeking new experiences, he decided to move to Newfoundland in 2009.  Within a year he began playing with one of Canada's most well known Celtic groups, The Irish Descendants.

Throughout his career, and to many groups, Duncan has contributed his singing, his many instrumental abilities, and his composing and arranging skills.  But now it is on his own unique vision that these assets are brought to bear.  This open minded vision of music includes elements of narrative and dance; English and French; new and ancient.  Celtic music was integral to his early life, but his continual exploration with musicians from many backgrounds has enabled him to augment this tradition.  Duncan's strong roots and extended branches are what make his music engaging and fresh.