Northern Journey Online

Natalie MacMaster


Young virtuoso fiddler and niece of legendary Buddy MacMaster, Natalie MacMaster is another in a long line of Cape Breton Island fiddlers who have kept the fiddle tradition alive and vibrant. Natalie brings a light, seemingly effortless, touch to the fiddle that sends the jigs, reels, strathspeys, and waltzes into overtime. Her third album, and first CD, Fit As a Fiddle (1993) is a recommended purchase for any fan of Maritime fiddling. "This album is a thoroughly joyful experience"--Dirty Linen. Additional musicians include Dave MacIsaac, guitars; Howie MacDonald, piano; Tracy Dares, piano, synth; Tom Roach, drums; MacInnis, Jamie, highland pipes; and Sandy Moore, Celtic harp. Natalie received a Winston 'Scotty' Fitzgerald Award for East Coast Fiddling Porcupine in 1993.

Three years after the release of Fit As a Fiddle, Natalie MacMaster has released a new Warner recording, No Boundaries. No Boundaries (1996) preserves Natalie's sweet, lively Cape Breton-style fiddling, extending it to new genres. The CD's opening track, "The Honeysuckle Set" sets the stage with two hornpipes and three reels, deftly accompanied by Dave MacIsaac on guitar and Tracy Dares on piano plus additional guitar, drums and bass. The fuller instrumentation gives the track a less sparse, more contemporary feel without veering away from a traditional Cape Breton sound.

Warner has given us a gift by reissuing MacMaster's early cassette recordings Four on the Floor (1989) and Road to the Isle (1991) as a new CD release called A Compilation (1996). Recorded when she was 16 and 18, the album captures her early virtuosity. Her sweet style was evident from the first. This extremely accessible album is a good purchase for both MacMaster fans and those who are timid about fiddle music but would like something in their collection. The remastering from cassette is excellent.

Fit As a Fiddle *
1993 Natalie MacMaster (NMAS-CD 1972)
John Campbell's/Miss Ann Moirs Birthday/Lady Georgina Campbell/Angus on the Turnpike/Sheehan's Reel; My Dungannon Sweetheart/Scaffies Cairet/Juniper Jig; Carnival March/Miller of Drone/MacKinnon's Brook/ Lucy Campbell/Annie Is My Darling/Gordon Cote/Bird's Nest/Maid Behind the Bar; Nancy's Waltz; Compliments to Sean Maguire/President Garfield/Miss Watt/Casa Loma Castle; O'r the Moor Among the Heather/Traditional/Lady Mary Ramsay/Jenny Dang the Weaver/The Lassies of Stewarton/Garfield Vale; Jean's Reel; I'll Always Remember You; The Girls of Martinfield/Bennett's Favorite/The Green Fields of Glentown; Counselor's/The Rakes of Kildare/The Lark in the Morning; The Lass of Carrie Mills/Lennox's Love to Blantyre/Archie Menzies/Reichwall Forest; If Ever You Were Mine; The MacNeils of Ugadale/MacLaine of Loch Buie/Colville's Rant/Pibroch O'Donal Dhu 54:12

No Boundaries
1996 WEA (CD 15697)
Lad O'Beirne's/The HoneySuckle/Tammy Sullivan's/The Holly Bush/Rannie MacLellan's; Blue Bonnets Over the Border/Danny MacEachern's Piano/Alex MacDonnell's Favorite/My Friend Buddy; Fiddle & Bow; Béatrice (Oggi Nevica)/Seán Sa Chéo; Memories of Paddy LeBlanc/Sandy Cameron/Devil in the Kitchen/The Bridge of Bamore/Arthur Muise/The Rejected Suitor; Silverwells; Primrose Lasses/Far Am Bi Fhin/Reel Father John Angus Rankin; Catharsis; Miss Stewart/Braes of Tullymet/The Gillisdale Reel/We'll Aye Gang Back to Yon Town/Break Yer Bass Drone; Gabriel's Jig/Sir Wilfred Laurier's/Bill Crawford's Fiddle; The Beaumont Rag; the Autograph/The Bee's Wing/Eugene Stratton/Memories of Dan Beaton/Natalie MacMaster's; Lament for the Death of Reverend Archie Beaton 55:18

A Compilation *
1989, 1991; Reissued 1996 Natalie MacMaster (CD 16561)
Spey in Spate/The Forth Bridge/The Fox Hunter; The Earl of Dalhousies Happy Return to Scotland/Back of the Change House/Bob Steele's/Mountain Road; Mahone Bay/Oh Dear What Can the Matter Be/Traditional/Fraser's; Amelia's Waltz/The Fir Tree/Athole Brose/The Pondville; Happy Go Lucky/Fred Wilson's/Fisher's/Carnie's Canter/Saratoga; Traditional/King of the Clans/Johnny's Made a Wedding O'T/Cameron's One Legged Hen; Traditional/Cronin's Favorite/Buttermilk Mary; The Headlands/Captain Campbell/Callum Breugach/King George/O'er the Isles to America/Sandy Cameron/Kings/The Cape Breton Fiddler's Welcome to the Shetlands; Newcastle/The Second Star/Mrs Forbes Leith/Mary Claire/Jabe Meadow; The Evesdropper/The Knights of St. Patrick/One for the Record/Shandon Bells; Road to the Isle/Scourdiness/Homeward Bound; Doug MacPhee's Visit/Traditional/Short Grass; Blackberry Blossom/The Red-Haired Lass/Paddy O'Brien's/The Dawn; Jimmy's/A Buddy MacMaster Jig/Connaughtman's Rambles; Airidh nam badam/Glen of Thickets; To Daun't on Me/Cameron Chisholm's/Haughs of Cromdale/Johnny Wilmot's Fiddles/Mrs Kennedy of Greenan/Fermoy Lasses 69:23

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Copyright © 1999, Gene Wilburn,