Artist profile: Natalie MacMaster
Natalie first picked up a fiddle at the age of nine. This was a decision that has led Natalie to a prolific folk music career, both as a solo and group artist!
Originally from Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, Natalie is the niece of famous Canadian fiddler Buddy MacMaster – they even recorded an album together in 2005. Natalie started to learn traditional fiddle tunes by ear, then decided to go out and tour the American Celtic festival circuit.
She released her first self-produced album at the age of 16 and has released several since then, three of which have achieved gold certification. Natalie has also won two Juno awards and ‘Fiddler of the year’ from the Canadian Country Music Association.
Natalie has toured worldwide with a range of prolific artists and bands including Yo-Yo-Ma, Bela Fleck and The Chieftains. In fact, The Chieftains were so impressed with her playing that they invited her to join the group full-time!
Natalie admits to having a traditional taste in folk music, which she attributes to her upbringing in Cape Breton. She blends traditional Irish and Scottish fiddle playing with some contemporary stylings, as well as elements of bluegrass music in later recordings.
Natalie married fellow musician Donnell Leahy in 2002, who came to prominence as the lead fiddle player for The Leahy Family. Together the pair has released two albums.
The first, One, was released in 2015, and was produced by legendary producer Bob Ezrin. Even though Bob was more used to working with rock bands like Pink Floyd and Deep Purple, he loved the mastery that the pair brought to their music.
The pair released a traditional Christmas album, A Celtic Family Christmas, the year after.
Natalie and Donnell have toured the world together and even feature their seven music-loving children in their performances!