Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy Clinic
Meet Natalie MacMaster: wife, mother of four, and virtuoso Cape Breton fiddler. You know her more as the latter than the former, an electrifying performer whose passionate proficiency on the beloved four-string amplifies the traditional East Coast sound for contemporary times.
It's a signature sound that has resonated with world audiences through 10 albums, multiple gold sales figures, and 27 years; numerous Juno and East Coast Music Awards; three honorary degrees (Niagara University, Trent University, St. Thomas University); the Order Of Canada; and a reputation as one of Canada's most captivating performers.
She also has the respect and admiration of the crème de la crème of top-notch musicians: master violinist Mark O'Connor, whose camp MacMaster frequents as a guest instructor; legendary cellist Yo-Yo Ma, who recently invited her to prominently participate as a guest performer on his 2008 holiday-themed album Songs of Joy and Peace; banjo prodigy Béla Fleck; fellow fiddling marvel Alison Krauss; spiritually electrifying superstar guitarist Carlos Santana-the list goes on. But to Natalie MacMaster, her beloved family now shapes and informs her musicianship as much as the jigs, reels, air, waltzes, strathspeys, marches and traditional folk that feed her spiritual soul.
"The violin sings, but the fiddle dances" may be an old musician's proverb, but it's one that fittingly applies to the unique and contemporary style of master fiddler Donnell Leahy.