Hearing Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy speak reverentially about the fiddle, which has propelled their dazzling careers since childhood while cementing their status as Canada’s reigning couple of Celticmusic, is almost as electrifying as hearing them play it.
Indeed, when MacMaster and Leahy married in 2002 — both were already stars in their own right they could not have predicted their merger would recast what contemporary musical success looks like.
Or that they would produce a large family and ensure their mantelpiece was jammed with JUNO and East Coast Music Awards while creating an inventory of achievements spanning the globe. They certainly couldn’t have imagined capping off what they jokingly refer to as their combined 83 years as performers with milestones including another hotly anticipated Christmas tour, an accompanying TV special, a pending third instalment of their Greenbridge Celtic Folk Fest, a recent Road Gold Award from the Canadian Independent Music Association, and last but certainly not least, the arrival of Maria, newest sib to Mary Frances, Michael, Clare, Julia, Alec and Sadie.
“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.”