To fans of fiddle music, Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy need no introduction. While both were already stars in their own light, propelling their dazzling careers since childhood, the award-winning fiddle virtuosos have cemented their status as Canada’s reigning couple of Celtic music.
“I’m continually amazed by what the fiddle has brought to my life,” MacMaster offers. “It has carried me through my childhood, through my teens, my young adult life, my married life and now motherhood. And I still love it as much as ever. Same with Donnell. It’s unexpected and awesome.”
Though MacMaster and Leahy followed different trajectories to this point — she a Cape Breton native who could step-dance before she could walk, he the oldest brother of the acclaimed family group Leahy — both have confidently crested the traditional music peak.
Their synergy was brilliantly showcased on the pair’s first recorded collaboration, 2015’s Bob Ezrin-produced album One, a crowning achievement complementing combined album sales of over one million, a CV listing cellist Yo-Yo Ma, bluegrass star Alison Krauss, and banjo ace Béla Fleck as past collaborators (and Shania Twain and The Chieftains as fans) plus a devoted audience stretching from Sydney, Nova Scotia to Sydney, Australia.
Throughout MacMaster’s 25-year recording career, she has released 11 albums notching sales of more than 200,000 copies. She has also won two JUNO Awards and 11 East Coast Music Awards, was nominated for a Grammy.
Donnell is the former music leader of the internationally acclaimed family group Leahy, winner of three JUNO Awards. Widely recognized as one of the best fiddlers in the world, his high-energy playing style makes him a highly popular performer.
With milestones including another hotly anticipated Christmas tour, an accompanying TV special, a pending third installment of their Greenbridge Celtic Folk Fest, and a recent Road Gold Award from the Canadian Independent Music Association, Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy are consistent favorites of Center for the Arts audiences.