With a talent that remains both raw and wondrously refined, and backed by a band any top musician would be proud of, NATALIE MACMASTER has grown to become the musical face of Atlantic Canada, and continuously stuns crowds around the globe with her feverish fiddling and mesmerizing step dancing. Well-known to international audiences as one of Canada's major talents, MacMaster has been an ambassador of traditional East Coast music, and is credited with bringing the style to its contemporary prominence. While acclaimed for taking Celtic music to new heights, each album MacMaster releases displays a creativity and range that constantly pushes back the boundaries of the genre.
MacMaster first picked up the fiddle at age nine and hasn't looked back. The niece of famed Cape Breton fiddler Buddy MacMaster (with whom she recorded a tribute album in 2005), MacMaster quickly became a major talent in her own right. With albums like In My Hands, which fused jazz, Latin, and the guest vocals of Alison Krauss, and the Grammy-nominated My Roots Are Showing, MacMaster has proven time and time again that she is leaving her mark on music history.
Her last release, Blueprint, combined MacMaster's own musical radiance with the cream of American roots instrumentalists, including Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Sam Bush, and Edgar Meyer, and won her Best Female Artist of the Year and Best Roots/Traditional Solo Recording at the East Coast Music Awards in 2005.
MacMaster's live performances are renowned for their incandescent energy and toe-tapping, rhythmic intensity. She has shared the stage with Santana, the Chieftains, Paul Simon, Pavarotti, Faith Hill, Don Henley, Michael McDonald, and dozens of distinguished symphony orchestras, and has appeared on network television many times, including the Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien, and Good Morning America shows.
In 2002, MacMaster married fellow fiddle virtuoso Donnell Leahy of the famed Canadian band Leahy, and in 2005 the couple were proud to announce the birth of their first child, Mary Frances Rose. Motherhood has barely slowed MacMaster, however, and she has already begun the touring-with-baby experience, with the help of her mother. "Having someone you trust on tour with you to help take care of your child is a must," she says.
In 2005, MacMaster and Donnell launched an internet radio show called Cape Breton Live, which features live performances of musicians in traditional venues across the East Coast. Earlier in the year, she played a moving tribute at New York's Carnegie Hall to journalist and news anchor Peter Jennings, who had been one of her greatest fans.
In Fall 2006, MacMaster is set to release her 10th recording, an album called Yours Truly, and music aficionados and fans across North America and beyond eagerly await its debut.