Natalie McMaster & Donnell Leahy – Casino NB – 10/19/2016

Posted: 20th October 2016 by refrainmusic in Concerts

Tonight award winning Cape Breton fiddling sensation Natalie McMaster and her husband Donnell Leahy are here to get the toes tapping and the hands clapping at Casino NB. From the hills of Cape Breton to the outskirts of Ontario, two fiddling traditions, creating a new fiddling sound. The ferocious fiddling duo of Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy take control of the stage with a vibrant cacophony of energy and love for their craft that combines their traditional heritage with their appetite for the contemporary. Playing over 100 shows a year, travelling as a family with their six children, they bring a well rounded show of classic and modern fiddle playing to their crowds.

Donnell Leahy & Natalie MacMaster - Casino NB ~ Refrain Photography

Donnell Leahy & Natalie MacMaster – Casino NB ~ Refrain Photography

A night filled with stories about their background and their meeting, their mutual love for music and how it brought them together, not just playing it but loving it in a way they are trying to pass on to their six children. Something they are obviously succeeding at when they brought out five of their six children, each with a fiddle in hand and blew my mind with how well these youngsters already play. The first being five years old and wowing the crowd, all the way up to their ten year old daughter. All fiddled their way through a single song and as Mom & Dad continued to play, the kids set down their fiddles to finish dancing the song away in a lined up jig. It was a miraculous display that was quite entertaining from ones so young, and what Donnell later called their “retirement plan”. It’s a family affair and it’s obvious they love performing together as I noted a small loving smile between Natalie and Donnell during a rousing ballad.

Donnell Leahy - Casino NB ~ Refrain Photography

Donnell Leahy – Casino NB ~ Refrain Photography

From slow waltz’s, to soaring ballads, to blistering songs like one called “Fiddler’s Despair” performed by Donnell, they covered a well rounded gamut of music from the hollow’s of Cape Breton, the Highlands of Scotland and everywhere around the world.
Backed by three other musicians, a drummer, guitarist, and a piano player that were all featured in their own right. Complete with a fantastic bagpipe solo, that had the Scottish in my blood jumping, by multiple instrumentalist Matt MacIssac.

A wonderful evening of music, stories, and entertainment from two premier performers (and their kids) was enjoyed greatly by all including two fiddling greats, locals Ivan and Vivian Hicks. Thanks to Natalie, Donnell, Casino NB, and PPR for a wonderful night of entertainment!