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NATALIE MACMASTER: BRINGING IT HOME

Premieres on WLIW21 Sunday, September 7 at 6:30 pm
Nationwide on Public Television Stations (check local listings)

Natalie MacMaster, renown for her mesmerizing Celtic fiddling and feverish step dancing, takes center stage in this concert special accompanied by her five-member band and special guests Béla Fleck, Hayley Westenra (Celtic Woman), Carlos Núñez, Donnell Leahy, Kate Quinn and the Men of the Deeps. Taped October 2006, during the prestigious Celtic Colours International Festival at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Center on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, the production celebrates Natalie’s return home after taking her acclaimed music to the world. Known as one of Canada’s major talents, Natalie has a huge following in the U.S. with 10 albums to her credit, two of which made Billboard’s World Music Top 20. In 2005, she won “Best Female Artist of the Year” at Canada’s East Coast Music Awards.

Performing before an enthusiastic audience, the Grammy-nominated musician shows why she is credited with escalating the Cape Breton style of traditional East Coast music with its driving rhythms to its contemporary prominence. Whether Natalie and her talented band are pulling out all the stops in the fastpaced opening number, “David’s Jig,” having a bit of fun mixing traditional and contemporary sounds in “Matt & Nats,” or wowing the crowd with her fancy footwork in “A Medley,” it is clear that this musician, who picked up the fiddle at age nine, loves what she does with a passion.

Always interested in showcasing the talents of other performers, Natalie welcomes American banjo legend Béla Fleck and joins him in the playful and catchy number “Béla’s Tune.” New Zealand’s Hayley Westenra is also featured singing a lovely rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now,” while famed Galician piper Carlos Núñez brings the audience to their feet as they clap along when Natalie, Béla and the band join him to perform the rousing, foot-stomping “Sharon Shanon.”

Also sharing the stage with Natalie is her husband, fellow fiddle virtuoso Donnell Leahy who performs his own composition, the aptly named “Gypsy Boy,” accompanied by his sister Erin Leahy on piano and cellist Wendy Solomon. The family connection continues with “Nova Scotia, Nature’s Song,” a moving tribute to the maritime province and its people, sung by Kate Quinn, Natalie’s cousin. Midway through the song, she is joined by the Men of the Deeps, a coal miners choir from Cape Breton, who enter clad in coveralls and hard hats with only the lamps on their helmets for light. The concert ends on a high note as the principal performers receive a standing ovation from the appreciative fans.

Song list
“David’s Jig” - Natalie & band
“Flea As A Bird” - Natalie & band
“Gypsy Boy” - Natalie, Donnell, Wendy, Erin & band
“Matt & Nats” - Natalie & band
“Both Sides Now” - Natalie, Hayley, Bob Quinn, Wendy & band
“A Medley” - Natalie & band
“Nova Scotia, Nature’s Song” - Natalie, Kate, Men of the Deeps
“Bela’s Tune” - Natalie, Béla
“Sharon Shanon” - Natalie, Carlos, Béla & band
“Finale” - Natalie, guest artists & band
Band Members: Brad Davidge (guitar), Shane Hendrickson (bass), Matt Mac Issac (pipes), Mac Morin
(piano) and Miche Pouliot (drums).

Executive Producer: Roy A Hammond. Producer: Leo Eaton. Director: Michael Watt. A WLIW New York production.

Permalink - Posted: August 20, 2008 at 1:55 pm