BRATTLEBORO -- Equally at home on the concert stage or at a folk festival, Grammy-winning Cape Breton fiddler Natalie MacMaster is one of the most versatile and exciting young musicians on both the folk and Celtic music scenes. MacMaster’s many projects have seen her collaborate and perform with Alison Krauss, Carlos Santana, the Chieftains, Paul Simon, Pavarotti, and Yo-Yo Ma.
Kingdom County Productions and Marlboro College will present Natalie MacMaster performing her holiday-themed concert, "Christmas in Cape Breton," on Friday, at 7:30 p.m., at the Latchis Theater in Brattleboro.
In Brattleboro this year and performing with her for the second year in a row, MacMaster’s "Christmas in Cape Breton" show will include performances by the Kurn Hattin Homes for Children Select Choir, directed by Grammy-nominated music teacher, Lisa Bianconi.
Natalie MacMaster’s live performances are a testament to her incandescent musicianship and boundless energy, featuring foot-tapping rave-ups, heart-rending ballads, and world-class step dancing. MacMaster is equally adept at hypnotizing a crowd while alone in the footlights. Her fiddling fireworks on traditional and contemporary Celtic melodies generate a kind of "traditional fusion" delivered with uplifting energy felt by audiences of all ages.
MacMaster’s parents encouraged her playing from the very start, transporting her to the halls and packing a blanket and a pillow in the backseat on the nights when they knew she’d be up late playing for a dance. Natalie "was like a sponge, absorbing and responding to everything," said her early champion, musician Mike Denney, "but she was also exceedingly shy. While the MacMasters in private are dry-witted and hilarious, it was a leap for Natalie to see that she could show that side of herself on stage."
After 11 recordings, two DVDs, many East Coast and Juno awards and a Grammy, MacMaster remains the person she has always been. She continues to draw upon her life and memories, and will keep the lessons of her upbringing close to her heart. As she conjures this scene, from a rich repository of many musical evenings, we once again return to her message, and to the source of her art.
"The music is like the people and the land," she says. "Strong, powerful, and rugged. It all blends. It all matches."
Tickets -- from $20 to $59 -- are available by calling 802-748-2600 or 888-757-5559. Online sales are available at KingdomCounty.org. Information is also available by contacting Kingdom County series producer Jay Craven at email@example.com.
The MacMaster concert is presented by Kingdom County Productions and Marlboro College with thanks to Kurn Hattin and generous sponsorship support from Brattleboro Savings and Loan, Brattleboro Retreat, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont and Vermont Public Radio.