MacMaster And Leahy Play The Fiddle

Susan notes: Thanks to TED for making TED Talks downloadable and embeddable, and for providing the biographical information that goes along with them.

natalie_macmaster.jpgNatalie MacMaster and her musical partner Donnell Leahy play several tunes from the Cape Breton tradition -- a sprightly, soulful style of folk fiddling. It's an inspired collaboration that will have you clapping (and maybe dancing) along.

It's not easy to make traditional Irish-Scottish music sound sexy and yet still seem wholesome. But Natalie MacMaster manages this feat, drawing listeners in with her playful showmanship, and then holding them rapt with astounding technical flourishes.

The niece of renowned Canadian fiddler Buddy MacMaster, she's taken up the mantle as standard-bearer for Cape Breton fiddling, a method of Scottish-style violin-playing that's evolved over the last century on this island neighbor to Nova Scotia.


The tradition was on the wane when, in 1972, a CBS documentary provocatively titled The Vanishing Cape Breton Fiddler jump-started preservation efforts in the fiddling community.

MacMaster's enthusiastic charm and extraordinary skill has landed her star billing on the international folk circuit and multiple Grammy nominations.

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