Mark (left) & Tom (right)

Norigen Stage, Harbourfront, Toronto


Supporting the teachers at Queen's Park 


At the Sick Kids' Telethon 

As part of "Mark Haines & the Zippers"  

At the Wye Marsh Festival 

Supporting the teachers at Queen's Park

You want us to play where?!

With the Kingston Symphony Orchestra

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A note from Mark here (Feb 1st/05).


Saturday night, January 29th, a circle of friends from Fortune Prince Edward Island, held a fund raising dinner and dance, called "Hands Across the Water" in aid of the Tsunami Survivors . Having only been in preparations for three weeks, it was a whirl wind affair and a real roller coaster ride to the end. The success of the event was the result of many hands making light work.

 The dinner was produced by five star chef Michael Smith who has a cooking show with The Food Channel called "Chef At Large". He stands 6' 9" at least. He maintains a very busy schedule. On January 24th, six days before "Hands Across the Water", he was suppose to be in New York filming his show only he was storm stayed on PEI like everyone else. Nothing was moving due to heavy snow and heavy drifting. No snow ploughs, no air port, no nothin'! He was notified by his producers that he would have to stay in NYC over Friday and Saturday to complete the shoot. He said he couldn't do this because of obligations to his community. His producers said, that being the case we will come to Fortune Prince Edward Island and film the event and it will be the final show of the season!!! A crew from New York and a crew from Halifax showed up Thursday night and the cameras started rolling. They filmed the planning meeting, the prep meeting, and the trip to the grocery store. They filmed the volunteers and the volunteers cousins. They went everywhere and talked to every one that donated something or gave of their time. The list was long. In the end we paid for nothing and received help from people like the Delta Hotel, the IGA, the PEI liquor commission and local wineries, Colville Bay Oysters, Fortune Community Centre, and the list goes on and on and on. They filmed through the hall set up Friday and the final preparations on Saturday and right through the dinner, Saturday night. The film crew did their job well, for even the most camera shy of islanders did not seemed bothered by their presence at the dinner. Quite a feat for all concerned I'd say!!!

 100 tickets were sold at $50.00 a head and donations were collected. A fabulous three course dinner was served, complete with wines and Grand Marnier. A silent auction was held and the items up for grabs included the complete recorded works of Haines & Leighton which sold for $65.00 and a dinner for 8 prepared in your home by Michael Smith which sold for $6500.00 After the meal, music for dancing was provided by Mark Haines & The Big Bang Boom, the band consisting of Reg Ballagh on drums and Jon Rheder on Bass. Fabulous players, and great guys who also donated their time and talents to this worth while cause. The evening was highlighted by the presentation of a cheque to the Red Cross in the amount of, drum roll please budrdrdrdrdrdrdrdrdrdrdrdrdr CRSHHHHHH!!!!!! $14000.00 Which by the way was part of the gumment program that said, "What ever $$$ you raise for the tsunami relief, we will match it. So our little rural community of Fortune PEI is proud to sending.........well you do the math, to help brothers and sisters clear on the other side of the earth.

 Church was a little tough the next morning but not impossible and later

that day every one of the "Hands" showed up to tear down!!!!


For those of you with televisions that get The Food Channel and can find he "Chef At Large" watch for us in about 5 weeks time. I will try to post again to let you know.


A note from Mark: June 11, 2004

Mark here, - I've been having a great time these last couple days giging with Tom around the south of the province and the GTA. June 4th we performed in Van Kleek Hill., (near Montreal), in the pm. for Pleasant Corners Public School teaming up with their 80 voice Choir. A thrill for all involved! The evening had us at the Arbour Gallery for a successful house concert to an entusiastic crowd. We anticipate more dates in The Hill in the future!

Saturday night we played Jake's Boathouse, a great place to eat, drink, and enjoy live music!!! Jake's has been a huge supporter of live music for absolutely years. Needless to say, we go way back. Thanks again to Mike Cuttle for havin' us and to the staff at the "Boat House" for making us feel at home.

Sunday matinee we travelled to a far off land called Dundas where we were treated royally at the backyard borad and bar of Peter and Ireen Brechmanas, who with Karl and Sandy Whalen and their accopmodating crew hosted a bar-b-que, poolside, patio concert for friends and folk enthusiasts from their area and as far away as Buffalo! A glorious afternoon and an inspired concert, the folks enjoying a rare Spanish rendition of Under The Boardwalk and and even rarer Celtic Rock Rant that sounded something like Born to be Wild.

Sunday night we played for the Acoustic Harvest concert series at Birchmount United Church in the Beaches. Again the audience was treated to a Mark & Tom evening of favourites, surprises and requests. Everyone stayed way longer than they should have and left with smiles all around. The Acoustic Harvest is to be appl;auded and supported for their commitment to support live folk music. Thank you.

We're looking forward to returning to the Oasis in Cobourg Wednesday night and the Guild in Scarborough, on Thjursday. A free concert the Greek Theatre organized by Matt Bentley. For more information, check the dates section of our site.

Saturday I will be off back to The Island. I have been enjoying filling my time up with music. I teach private lessons, fiddle, guitar, electric guitar!, bass guitar!!, drums!!!, and piano!!!! I perform in a couple different situations and have been developing my solo performance. I play for, and help direct the Bay Fortune United Church Choir and when I grow up I want to be just like Tom.

Summer will have us here and there, keep checking the web site, I'm looking forward to the summer schedule of playing and when off the road, being 'round the homestead. There'll be fences to mend and trim to pain and wine to rack.

Thanks to all our fans and friends that continue to support us. It's great to see you and we'll look for you when ever you can make it out!


*** On Jan 3rd Mark & Tom sat in with that wonderful band "Melody Ranch". Dave Tufford (one of the 2 rockin' guitar players) was strapping on his little acordion to play a Cajun' Style. Mary DeKeyzer teased "aren't you nervous putting on that thing in the presence of Mark and Tom, after all he's so good"? Without missing a beat Dave mumbled "Bad or Good, it's STILL an accordion"! ........ OUCH!!!

YAHOO!! Mark and Tom have been nominated for Roots and Traditional Group of the Year for the upcoming East Coast Music Awards!

Meanwhile, Mark has recognized by his peers down in PEI! He was nominated for the PEI Music Awards, in these categories:

  • Male Artist
  • Roots Traditional Artist
  • Song Writer (for "Hand To Hand"), and
  • Best Song (Hand To Hand)

...and he won in the Song Writer and Best Song categories! CONGRATS, MARK!!! We'll be seeing Mark up in the Toronto area in January 2003 and again in March!


HAND TO HAND reviews!

Doug Gallant of the Charlottetown Guardian wrote:

February 15, 2002

A number of songs and stories have been written about the contributions made to the cultural development of Canada by those who came from other lands to settle this country and build a new life.

But few such songs have grabbed me as much as "Hand To Hand", the title track from Mark Haines and Tom Leighton's third album.

Built on a fine rolling melody in the classic folk tradition of Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie, Hand To Hand tells of the musical traditions our immigrants brought with them and life stories they told through their songs--songs which, as the title suggests, have been passed down from hand to hand.

Hand To Hand is a fine piece of work. Almost too fine. I can't get the damn melody out of my head.

Hand To Hand may have been the one to clinch it for me but there's no shortage of good material on this set, released on Canada's foremost folk label, Borealis.

Haines, who now calls P.E.I home, and Leighton, a native of New Brunswick, wrote just under half of the songs featured on the album and augmented their originals with a number of traditional pieces, plus covers of material by Bob Dylan, John Prine, and Stompin' Tom Connors.

The talented duo, who showcased well at the East Coast Music Awards in St. John two weeks ago, strikes a fine balance here between vocal and instrumental numbers, both of which are served up equally well. They also demonstrate their light hearted side with "Does This Mean It's Over", which could have been subtitled "The Idiot's Guide To Being Had".

Outstanding tracks on Hand To hand include The Immigrant, My Father's Kindness, Rummer's Homecoming, Same Old Man, and the title track.

From the Toronto Sun, 6 February, 2002:

From the the "Anti-Hit List" column by John Sakamoto, under the caption "Aggressive Dance—This Week's 10 Coolest Tunes":

#3. Mark Haines & Tom Leighton, "When The Ship Comes In"

A fully-realized, accordion-led take on Dylan's end-of-the-world sea shanty from "The Times They Are A-Changin'." (From "Hand To Hand", Borealis)  

From Penguin Eggs Mag (issue #14):

"DELIGHTFUL!!" Sheet music published in this issue!!

Here is a review of our concert in Greenbank January 13th, 2002. Lillian Wauthier posted this review.

Mark Haines and Tom Leighton always exude a great joie-de-vivre in their performances and tonight was no exception. Tom is a powerhouse one-man band (if he wanted to be); he sings and plays bodhran, keyboards and synthesizers and some kind of souped up accordian which I think was supplying a good backup bass sound; Mark is excellent on the fiddle and the majority of the lead vocals. Bill Usher joined them to provide some solid and complimentary percussion. Tony Burns played a Cabasa shaker which gave a nice sound on a couple of numbers. Their music almost defies description but with some interesting props and music ranging from many unusual originals to Celtic, gospel, contemporary, bluegrass, vaudville and swing influences—and great exciting polkas!—their music is in a class all its own. Their phenomenal energy, vivacity, charm, breadth of vision and consummate musicality results in one of the most exciting and mesmerizing shows you'll ever hope to see and hear. Their enthusiasm and love of music is so encompassing and pervasive that the audience is swept up in a contagion of joy—many in the packed house had never heard them before and there were constant looks of incredulity on peoples' faces and exclamations of wonder and amazement. With standing ovations and double encores, Tom & Mark invited Aengus (Finnan) back on stage and finished off the evening with the gospel song "I'll Fly Away" and a rousing rendition of "Will The Circle Be Unbroken", with everyone standing, singing along and being thoroughly transported. We got back to Toronto at 2am, but who could go to sleep, when you're so pumped and high! On the other hand, one might argue, you're exhausted by their overwhelming energy! However you react, this music courses through your veins and sure makes you feel alive.

(Lillian books the Acoustic Harvest Folk Club, and can be contacted at

Tom is currently musical director for TWO musicals by Suzanne Pasternak and Janet Kellough. "EXILE" is based on the diaries of two women who survived the American revolution and the exile to Canada and "MINERVA" is about a 17 year old hero and nautical genius who commanded her fathers barley schooner in the mid nineteenth century.

Also CBC fans can hear Tom's handiwork every hour and half-hour as he helped realize Bill Garrett's and Paul Mill's news themes.

Following Mark and Tom's performance on the Nova Scotia Kitchen Party, Rita MacNeil asked for (and was instantly given) permission to record their arrangment of Farewell To Nova Scotia with herself and the Men of the Deep.

Biographies - for more detials see our Pro Bio Page: PromoBio

Mark and Tom have been at it a long time. They enjoy the success of being two of the most regular working musicians on earth. They entertain in a wide variety of venues for an even wider assortment of audiences. With their roots firmly planted in tradition, their limbs freely explore the outer limits. Their engaging humor and musicality have made them popular in several circuits. Their ramblings have led them down the highways of Ontario, through the back roads of Britain, along the shores of the Maritimes and into the mountains of New York. They perform a traditional and original repertoire influenced by Celtic, Maritime and North American roots.

 Spring '93 they released their first recording "Foot To Floor (Repeat On Beat!)" They have performed nationally on CBC Radio Jurgen Gothe's Disc Drive, Murray McLaughlin's "Swingin' On A Star", "Morningside", locally on "Later The Same Day" and the national broadcast of "The Canadian Old Time Fiddler's Contest" from Shelbourne Ontario.

In the fall of '94, Mark and Tom toured England and Scotland. Over three weeks they played dates from Portsmouth to Edinburgh and Scarborough to Bath. Venues included folk societies, coffee-houses, pubs, the Boddington Manchester Festival of the Arts and a live performance on BBC's "Into the Parlour".

In the spring of '96 they were comissioned to write arrangements of Canadian traditional music for live shows at the Canada Pavillion, EPCOT Center, Disney World, Florida. You'll find them stomping the hardwood and leading the chorus where-ever tunes are played, stories are told and songs are sung.

Career Highlights

Independent recording "Foot To Floor (Repeat On Beat)"

A commission to write arrangements of Canadian traditional music for live shows at the Canada Pavillion, EPCOT Centre, Disney World, Florida.

Folk and music festivals include:

Eaglewood Folk Festival (Pefferlaw, Ontario)
Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival (Lunenburg, Nova Scotia)
The Vara World Music Festival, Sweden
Red Rock Folk Music Festival (Ont.)
Fox Valley Music Ferstival (Il)
Ottawa Folk Festival (Ottawa, Ont)Almaguin Music Festival Ottawa Folk Festival (Ottawa, Ontario)
Octoberfolk (Ontario)
Horseshoe Valley Spring Music (Ontario)
Home County Folk Festival (London, Ontario)
Festival Of The Islands (Gananoque, Ontario)
Blue Skies Music Festival (Clarendon, Ontario)
Grass Roots (Pickering, Ontario)
Mariposa (Cobourg, Ontario)
Horseshoe Valley Folk Festival
Atlantic Canada Festival (Toronto, Ontario)
Molson's Fiddlin' Arround Festival (Harbourfront, Toronto, Ontario)
Royal Agricultural Winter Fair (Toronto, Ontario)
Woodbridge Fall Fair (Woodbridge, Ontario)
Wye Marsh Festival (Midland, Ontario)

CBC and radio features:

"Swingin' On A Star" (hosted by Murray McLaughlin)
"Later The Same Day" (hosted by Catherine O'Hara)
Host band for national broadcast of "The Canadian Open Old Time Fiddler's Contest", Shelbourne, Ontario
"Night Side" (hosted by John Oakley and John Hesselink)
"CHIN Points East" (hosted by Karen Parmeter)

Here is an advertisement: A great friend of Haines and Leighton has started making excellent tippers for the bodhran (the Irish drum that Tom plays). Good tippers are really hard to find so I'm posting Randy Roels phone number. ph 613 - 478 - 3787.




E-mail Mark or Tom

©2002 Haines &Leighton