Contemporary Fiddlers/Natalie MacMaster

Natalie MacMaster, CM (born June 13, 1972) is an award-winning fiddler from the rural community of Troy in Inverness County, Nova Scotia, Canada who plays Cape Breton fiddle music.

MacMaster has toured with the Chieftains, Faith Hill, Carlos Santana and Alison Krauss, and has recorded with Yo-Yo Ma. She has appeared at the Celtic Colours festival in Cape Breton, Celtic Connections in Scotland, and MerleFest in the United States.



MacMaster is the daughter of Alex and Minnie (Beaton) MacMaster, and the niece of Cape Breton fiddler Buddy MacMaster. She is the sister of Kevin and David MacMaster. She is the cousin of two other Cape Breton fiddlers, Ashley MacIsaac and Andrea Beaton. She was born on June 13, 1972. In 2002, she married fiddler Donnell Leahy of the Leahy family band, and moved to Lakefield, Ontario. In 2011 she moved to Douro, where she built a new house. In December 2005, she gave birth to a daughter, Mary Frances Rose. Her second child, a son, Michael Joseph Alexander, was born in June 2007. In 2007, MacMaster learned she was related to Jack White.[1] Her third child, a daughter, Clare Marie, was born in February 2009. Her fourth child, another daughter, Julia Elizabeth, was born in January 2011.

MacMaster performs at Edmonds Center For The Arts, North of Seattle, WA 10-23-2010

MacMaster began playing the fiddle at the age of nine, and made her performing debut the same year at a square dance in Glencoe Mills, Nova Scotia. When she was sixteen she released her first album, Four on the Floor, and a second album, Road to the Isle, followed in 1991. Both of these self-produced albums were initially released only on cassette, but Rounder Records omitted a few tracks and re-released as A Compilation in 1998.

In recent years she has expanded her musical repertoire, mixing her Cape Breton roots with music from Scotland and Ireland, as well as American bluegrass.

She has received a number of Canadian music awards, including several "Artist of the Year" awards from the East Coast Music Association, two Juno awards for best instrumental album, and "Fiddler of the Year" from the Canadian Country Music Association. MacMaster was also awarded an honorary doctorate from Niagara University in New York in 2006. In 2006, she was made a member of the Order of Canada.[2]




Year Album details Peak chart positions CRIA
CAN US Bluegrass
1989 Four on the Floor
  • Label: Astro Custom Records ACC-4979
1991 Road to the Isle
  • Label: Astro Custom Records ACC-49290
1993 Fit as a Fiddle
  • Label: Rounder Records CD7022
1996 A Compilation
  • Label: Rounder Records CD7021
1997 No Boundaries
  • Released: March 11, 1997
  • Label: Rounder Records CD7023
1999 In My Hands
  • Released: September 14, 1999
  • Label: Rounder Records CD7025
32 Gold
2000 My Roots Are Showing
  • Released: April 11, 2000
  • Label: Rounder Records 11661-7033-2
2002 Live
  • Label: Rounder Records 11661-7048-2
2003 Blueprint
  • Label: Rounder Records CD7056
2005 Traditional Music from Cape Breton Island
(with Buddy MacMaster)
2006 Yours Truly
  • Label: Rounder Records CD7065


Year Single CAN AC Album
1996 "Catharsis" No Boundaries
1997 "Fiddle and Bow" (with Bruce Guthro)
"The Drunken Piper" (with Cookie Rankin)
1999 "In My Hands" 18 In My Hands
"Get Me Through December" (with Alison Krauss) 40
2004 "Appropriate Dipstick" Blueprint

Music videos

Year Video Director
1996 "Catharsis"
1997 "Fiddle and Bow" (with Bruce Guthro) Andrew MacNaughtan
"The Drunken Piper" (with Cookie Rankin)
1999 "In My Hands" Christopher Mills
"Get Me Through December" (with Alison Krauss) Mark Hesselink
2004 "Appropriate Dipstick"

Other appearances

  • Traditional Music From Cape Breton Island, Nimbus NI5383, 1993 (two tracks)
  • Celtic Colours — The Road Home, 1997 (one track)
  • Celtic Colours — The Second Wave, 1998 (one track)
  • Celtic Colours — Forgotten Roots, 1999 (one track)
  • Roots Music: An American Journey, Rounder 0501, 2001 (one track)
  • Songs for the Savoy, 2001 (one track)
  • Celtic Colours — The Colours of Cape Breton, 2002 (one track)
  • Celtic Colours — Volume VII, 2003 (one track)
  • Yo-Yo Ma & Friends: Songs of Joy and Peace; Songs:A Christmas Jig/Mouth of the Tobique Reel; 2008 (Sony BMG)
  • Thomas Dolby: Amerikana EP, Songs:Toad Lickers and 17 Hills, 2010 (Lost Toy People, Inc)


  2. "Governor General to invest 41 recipients into the Order of Canada". The Governor General of Canada web site. May 2, 2007. Retrieved April 1, 2010.