Donnell Leahy, What Was the First Album You Ever Bought?

February 24th, 2015, 10:00 am by Greg
Donnell Leahy and Natalie MacMaster

Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy

“No, I don’t remember the first album that I actually bought, but I remember having fiddle records given to me when I was a young lad, and I would learn to play the whole albums.

“There were four specific records that were given to me – the Scottish fiddler Gerry Holland, an Irish fiddler named Sean McGuire, the Canadian fiddler Graham Townsend and the French-Canadian fiddler Jean Carringnon – that were huge influences on me because I just learned all four of the records from start to finish.

“And they were four different, very distinct styles, and each style required a different technique.”

Donnell Leahy teams up with Natalie MacMaster (who also happens to be his wife) for a fab fiddle concert, “Visions from Cape Breton and Beyond,” at The Egg’s Hart Theatre in Albany at 7:30pm on Wednesday (February 25). They will be melding their individual fiddle styles into a whirlwind of traditional and contemporary music featuring their band and dancers. Tickets are $29.50.


LIVE: Natalie MacMaster @ The Egg, 12/8/12

December 19th, 2012, 4:00 pm by Greg

Review by Fred Rudofsky

Natalie MacMaster is a walking endorsement for all that is good about music. A virtuoso fiddler, exuberant bandleader and deft step dancer (the latter explains how she’s kept a perfect figure despite five children, the latest born just a few months ago), she embraces her Cape Breton traditions and yet is not afraid to add in a contemporary wrinkle or two. A favorite of audiences at The Egg in Albany for a decade, MacMaster brought her talented band and three surprise guests on stage for two engaging sets billed as “Christmas in Cape Breton,” complete with trees and modest holiday lighting.

Master cellist Nathaniel Smith opened with a plaintive take on “Greensleeves,” as the other band members took their places. MacMaster sprinted out, fiddle in hand, to lead the band in a medley of traditional reels and jigs. After she offered greetings from Cape Breton, MacMaster jumped on to Eric Breton’s drum riser for a Dougie MacPhee “clog.” “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” was jaunty, not schmaltzy; likewise, “Silver Bells” was invigorated by an imaginative arrangement and fine piano playing by Mac Morin; and “Winter Wonderland” became a spry, jazzy ode to the season, with MacMaster tapping into her inner Stephane Grappelli.

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Be Here Now: Natalie MacMaster Brings a Cape Breton Christmas to the Berkshires [Berkshire on Stage]

November 28th, 2011, 11:00 am by Sara
Natalie MacMaster @ The Colonial Theatre, Pittsfield

Coming to the Colonial Theatre on Wednesday, November 30 at 7:30pm, the Berkshire Theatre Group has announced that renowned fiddler and Celtic musician, Natalie MacMaster will present Christmas in Cape Breton. This unusual holiday treat is sponsored by Nelson E. Furlano, CPA.

Natalie MacMaster’s master fiddling has resonated with world audiences through 10 albums, multiple gold sales figures and a 27 year career. She has received numerous Juno and East Coast Music Awards; two honorary degrees (from Niagara University, NY, and Trent University) and an honorary doctorate (St. Thomas University); the Order Of Canada—and a reputation as one of Canada’s most captivating performers.

Born June 13, 1972 in Troy, Inverness County, Nova Scotia, Natalie MacMaster’s impressive musical lineage includes amazing fiddlers, including her uncle, fiddle prodigy Buddy MacMaster (with whom Natalie recorded the 2005 gem Traditional Music From Cape Breton Island); her cousin Andrea Beaton and the late, great Canadian folk icon John Allan Cameron.

Click to read the rest of this story at Berkshire on Stage.

Live: Natalie MacMaster @ The Egg, 12/5/10

December 9th, 2010, 4:00 pm by Greg

Natalie MacMaster

Ah, those Christmas shows just keep rolling across the calendar, don’t they? Last Sunday evening at The Egg, it was Natalie MacMaster’s turn, and the Canadian fiddler fired up her Christmas celebration Cape Breton-style in front of a crowd of about 700 fans.

Like any good Christmas show, family was at the heart of the performance. Pregnant with her fourth child (due in January), MacMaster didn’t let that slow down her fiery, impassioned fiddle playing. Or her step-dancing, for that matter.

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