Haines & Leighton Bio

Bio • Photos

About Haines & Leighton • Their Sound • Other’s say • Awards • Recordings • Music Theatre

Who, What, When:  Mark Haines & Tom Leighton established themselves as a duo in 1992 with the release of their first cd, “Foot To Floor (repeat on beat)”. They perform an original and traditional repertoire influenced by their Celtic and North American folk roots. Their engaging humour and personality has made them popular performers in theatres, festivals, concerts, and clubs. These Borealis Recording Artists have rambled along Canadian highways from Ontario to the Maritimes, into the mountains of New York, and across the seas to Britain, Sweden and Taiwan.

Their Sound: Mark’s voice “is a one of a kind”. Add Tom’s superb harmony and arranging skills, and the stories and images come vividly to life. These multi-instrumentalists combine the traditional “tug at your heart strings” sounds of the fiddle, accordion, guitar, bouzouki, and bodhran, with the “turn on your ears” new technology of synthesisers, tone generators and processors. Tom sometimes plays FOUR instruments AT ONCE; left hand pumping the accordion and bass, the right hand thumping the drum, while his feet deftly work the pedals of the keyboards. These two guys can create a HUGE sound.

Others say:

  • “Gentlemen: Your Chicago area performances were nothing short of fantastic. Thanks for gracing us with your music”, Rich Warren, host of WFMT Radio – 98.7 FM’s folk music show (Sept. 04)
  • “Their enthusiasm and love of music is so encompassing and pervasive that the audience is swept up in a contagion of joy”. Lillian Wauthier,Acoustic Harvest Folk Club
  • “A two man folk festival”, Grit Laskin, Borealis Records
  • “Driving the crowd insane with pleasure!”, Chronicle Herald, Halifax
  • “Absolutely the hit of the White Oak Folk Festival Last July!!” – Jim Marino, host of the Freewheeling Folk Show on 93.3 CFMU in Hamilton Ont. July 2003
  • “I had the breath sucked right out of me by the fantastic musicianship of Mark Haines & Tom Leighton, they sound at times like a symphony…”, Nancy White, Toronto Sun, (and Canadian singer/songwriter icon).


  • Song of the Year, PEI Mus Awards ’02 for the title track from “Hand To Hand”
  • Song Writer Of The Year (to Mark Haines) PEI Mus Awards ’02
  • Nomination for Roots Group of the Year, East Coast Mus Awards ”02
  • Steve Fruitman’s Porcupine Awards 2001 – the CEC McECHERN AWARD (to Tom Leighton) for an outstanding musical accompanist.


“Hand To Hand”

“Optimists Jig”

“Foot To Floor, (repeat on beat)”

Music Theatre:

  • Folk opera “Minerva”, Regent Theatre,Picton, Ont. ’03 & 04 Mark was an acting lead, Tom has been the music director for 8 years and composed the incidental music.
  • “The Needfire”, ’00, the Royal Alexandra Theatre, Toronto, Ont.

TV Soundtrack:

  • Haines & Leighton were featured on Doug Wilde’s soundtrack of “Expulsion”, a C.B.C. – TV feature on the explusion of the Acadians, aired ’04

Selected festivals:

  • The Vara World Music Festival, Sweden
  • Red Rock Folk Music Festival (Ont.)
  • Summerfolk, Owen Sound, Ont
  • Fox Valley Music Ferstival (Il)
  • Ottawa Folk Festival (Ottawa, Ont)
  • Almaguin Music Festival
  • Mariposa (Coburg, Ontario)
  • Festival Of The Islands (Gananoque, Ont)
  • Grass Roots (Pickering, Ontario)
  • Stan Rogers Folk Fest., Canso, N.S.

“Back by demand” festivals:

  • Eaglewood Folk Festival (Pefferlaw, Ontario)
  • Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival (Lunenburg, Nova Scotia)
  • Octoberfolk, Brantford,(Ontario)
  • Miramichi Folk Song Festival, Miramichi, N.B.
  • Home County Folk Festival (London, Ontario)
  • Blue Skies Music Festival (Clarendon, Ontario)
  • Brampton Folk Fest., Brampton, Ont.
  • DeCoste Centre, Pictou, N.S.

Arranging Credits:

  • Commissioned to write arrangements of traditional Canadian music for the Canada Pavilion at Epcott Centre, Disney World, Florida.
  • Rita MacNeil recorded their arrangement of “Farewell To Nova Scotia” with the Men of the Deeps.
  • Tom has arranged & orchestrated for the Kingston Symphony Orchestra including a Haines & Leighton evening, and songs for Georgette Fry and Canadian idol Ryan Malcolm.
  • Tom’s vocal arrangments performed by many choirs including the Blue Skies Choir, Common Thread Choir, Summerfolk Community Choir, Canadian Men’s Celtic Choir, Open Voices Choir, Wexford C.I. School for the Arts
  • Tom’s instrumental arrangments have even been performed by the Royal Marine Band on board the Royal Yacht “Britannia”!

Official Showcases:

  • North East Reginal Folk Alliance, Montecello, N.Y.
  • Offical showcase 2002 (There are a huge number of applicants hoping for this honour)
  • Offical Tricentric showcase 2003 (Two years in a row?? – WOW!!!)
  • Ontario Arts Council Contact ’98
  • East Coast Music Awards ’03

Selected Radio features:

  • “The Midnight Special & Folkstage” WFMT Radio – 98.7 FM (Chicago), Rich Warren, host.
  • “Madly Off in All Directions” (hosted by Lorne Elliot – CBC national radio)
  • “Sounds Like Canada” (hosted by Sheila Rogers – CBC national radio )
  • “Back to the Sugar Camp” (hosted by Steve Fruitman, CIUT – FM)
  • “Fresh Air” (hosted by Jeff Goodes – CBC reginal radio )
  • “Nova Scotia Kitchen Party” (CBC national radio)
  • “Swingin’ On A Star” (hosted by Murray McLaughlin – CBC national radio )
  • “Later The Same Day” (hosted by Catherine O’Hara)
    Host band for C.B.C.’s national broadcast of “The Canadian Open Old Time Fiddler’s Contest”, Shelbourne, Ontario
  • “Night Side” (hosted by John Oakley and Richard Hesselink)
  • “CHIN Points East” (hosted by Karen Parmeter)

Festival Workshops:

  • Haines & Leighton have performed in at least 100 workshops such as:
  • Fiddle and/or Accordion Styles,
  • Art of the Duo,
  • Songs related to: love, humour, social justice, songwriting heros, the blues, jugband, cowboy, old timey, rock’n roll, disco folk!, swing, and war – protest or remembrance.
  • They’ve accompanied dance workshops of different styles.
  • Tom has directed community choir workshops.


E-mail Mark (902) – 687 – 1404

E-mail Tom ( (416 ) – 425 – 8233

hm: 519- 941 – 7317 or cell:416 – 554 – 7714

Comments are closed.