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Naturally in Niagara

Sparks Fly From Her Fingertips

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What lights up the dark of winter? Sparks…like the ones that fly when Natalie MacMaster and her fiddle take the stage.

This Cape Breton wonder girl draws on her own life experiences to fill songs with names like  “Alex MacMaster’s Jig,” “My Brother Kevin” and “Stoney Lake Reels”, it’s clear that Natalie cares most about faith, home, tradition, family and fun. When audiences hear her collection of jigs, reels and strathspeys it will be hard to sit still…and Natalie won’t want you to!

Her work is popular and her accomplishments are many:  MacMaster holds the Order Of Canada, the country’s highest civilian honour, and her three-decade career has resulted in multiple gold albums, two Grammy nominations and one win.  She’s the recipient of a Juno Award for Best Instrumental Album, eight Canadian Country Music Awards, 10 East Coast Music Awards, an honorary doctorate from St. Thomas University and honorary degrees from Niagara University, NY, and Trent University. She recently received the Arts & Letters Award from the Canadian Association of New York.

MacMaster’s performances have included everything from Carnegie Hall to Massey Hall and CBC radio audiences love her, as do those who’ve tuned in to catch her on Canada A.M. and Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion. She’s a big favourite on Christmas specials like Rita MacNeil’s Christmas, and has even appeared on Holiday Festival On Ice with Olympic ice skaters Jamie Sale, David Pelletier, Kurt Browning and world champion Jeffrey Buttle.

It seems the woman is everywhere! You’ll find her name in the list of important contributors to albums by such performers as Yo Yo Ma, The Chieftains, Raffi, Béla Fleck, fellow fiddling phenom Alison Krauss and many more. In turn, MacMaster has invited such outstanding talents as the Grammy-winning fiddlers Krauss and Mark O’Connor, songwriter Gordie Sampson, Jesse Cook, The Rankin Family, Edgar Meyer and Alison Brown to join her for some of her own recordings.

If that weren’t enough, MacMaster is also a wife (married for more than a decade to Donnell Leahy of Leahy) and the mother of four. She has more energy to burn than the rest of us put together and we know you’ll love the fire she brings to her Brock University Centre for the Arts performance.

The Author

Liz Fleming, Managing Editor of NaturallyinNiagara.ca, is an award-winning journalist who writes a weekly travel gear column for The Toronto Star as well as regular travel features for The Toronto Star, The Toronto Sun, Cruise and Travel Lifestyles Magazine and CAA Travel. She’s currently a featured commentator on the Astral Media radio stations in southern Ontario, providing daily travel ‘minutes’ and is the editor of WO, the White Oaks Magazine.

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