Natalie MacMaster includes City on spring tour

Canadian fiddling sensation Natalie MacMaster will be heading to Red Deer as part of a spring tour. She performs at the Memorial Centre on April 12.

The tour will feature her traditional Cape Breton fiddling style, classic foot-stomping jigs as well as new favourites from her latest CD Cape Breton Girl.

MacMaster, a true Canadian icon and ambassador for the Cape Breton way of life, was recognized for her achievements with the Order of Canada in 2006, the country’s highest civilian award.

Cape Breton Girl marks her 11th record – described as a ‘straight-ahead, traditional’ project.

Mission accomplished, as this invigorating collection of jigs, reels and strathspeys is not only a joy to behold, but with titles like Alex MacMaster’s Jig, My Brother Kevin and Stoney Lake Reels it embraces the values she holds dear: family, tradition, home and faith.

“Those are the things most important to me,” says MacMaster, who is married to fellow fiddler Donnell Leahy and is a mother of four. “I work through my music, to strike a proper balance between life and work wherever possible.”

MacMaster has also established herself as an electrifying performer all over the world, thrilling Carnegie Hall audiences and Massey Hall crowds; captivated radio audiences with multiple appearances on the CBC, Canada A.M. and Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion, and warmed TV viewers with spots on Christmas specials like Rita MacNeil’s Christmas and Holiday Festival On Ice.

But it’s her majesty with the bow and her intricate technique in making the fiddle sing and championing the Cape Breton tradition that floors her admirers for over 100 shows per year.

“I guess culture and tradition never go out of style,” MacMaster explains. “For my crowds, they’ve been there for so many years – they just keep building and hanging on. I think they’ve watched me grow from a youthful new musician into a mature and confident performer. I also think they receive whatever it is that I give, not through me trying, but only through the nature of music itself. I always get the sense from them that they deeply understand the unspoken essence of what I do. That’s probably a combination of the Cape Breton tradition and personality.”

And she’s not simply sticking to her roots.

“I love music, and I don’t just love Cape Breton fiddling, although it’s my favourite: I love pop, rock, country, classical, jazz, bluegrass, Latin, and so on. I grew up listening to Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Def Leppard, AC/DC, Anne Murray — if I hear something I really like, like Bonnie Raitt’s Good Man, Good Woman, I want to be a part of it.

“That love spawned a few tunes like Catharsis, which I recorded on No Boundaries – my first rock piece – and Flamenco Fling on In My Hands. I heard flamenco guitar playing and I thought it was awesome, and thought I could put a fiddle tune over flamenco rhythms.

“Being from Cape Breton has never made me feel restricted to playing only that tradition,” MacMaster said. “I’ve always felt I can be a part of any type of music. But certainly, no matter how it comes out, it always has the Cape Breton groove.”

Tickets for the Red Deer show are available at www.bkticketcentre.ca, by phone at 403-755-6626 or 1-800-661-8793, or by dropping by the Black Knight Inn Ticket Centre.

-Weber

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