With wavy blonde hair swinging as she moves, Natalie MacMaster continues to stun crowds with her feverish fiddling and mesmerizing step dancing. Fans in the Washington, DC area can see her perform on Wednesday, March 5 at the gorgeous, accoustically extraordinary Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda Maryland. (For tickets go to www.wpas.org) Now a mother, she’s still in great shape. "Looking even fitter than her fiddle, MacMaster pranced, twirled, bounced and swaggered about the Symphony Hall stage," said Daniel Gewertz in the Boston Herald. "She is a master musician in constant motion, yes, but also a highly disciplined show woman who doesn’t make a single move that isn’t part of her theatrical plan ‚Ä¶ MacMaster still revels in girlish energy, yet her shows are the work of a mature, knowledgeable star. Folk mavens can focus on every fleet, phenomenal note her dazzling band makes; casual listeners can just let the fun and entertainment flow over themselves."
MacMaster is one of the foremost representatives of the Celtic-rooted music of Canada’s remote Cape Breton Island on the northeastern coast of
Nova Scotia. MacMaster inherited her phenomenal talent from her family. "Going right back through the generations, there were always musicians in the family," she says. MacMaster began playing piano and dancing at age 5 and first picked up a fiddle when she was 9. By the time she was 10, she was playing on stage in a community where the talent level and the expectations were raised because her uncle, Buddy MacMaster was a long-established CapeBreton fiddler there. She went on to record a tribute album with him in 2005.
MacMaster has recorded 10 CDs, including her latest album released in 2006, Yours Truly which she produced with husband and fellow fiddle virtuoso Donnell Leahy of the famed Canadian band Leahy. Yours Truly features a mix of traditional and contemporary numbers as well as several originals, including a rendition of "Danny Boy" sung by Doobie Brothers member Michael McDonald and "Farewell To Peter," which MacMaster wrote to pay respect to her friend, the late ABC newsman Peter Jennings; she sang the piece at his funeral.
Jennings was a fan of her music.
After winning numerous awards for her early traditional recordings, MacMaster’s subsequent releases have been boldly groundbreaking and have consistently received accolades. My Roots Are Showing (1998), which features photos of several generations of her musical family on its cover, was nominated for a Grammy Award. Her 2003 CD In My Hands, which she also co-produced with Leahy, fused jazz, Latin, and the guest vocals of CD label mate Alison Krauss. Her 2003 CD Blueprint combined Natalie’s talents with highly acclaimed American roots instrumentalists, including B?©la Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Sam Bush, Victor Wooten and Edgar Meyer, and won her Best Female Artist of the Year and Best Roots/Traditional Solo Recording at Canada’s East Coast Music Awards in 2005.