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NATALIE MACMASTER BRINGS "CHRISTMAS IN CAPE BRETON" TO GMU'S CENTER FOR THE ARTS

December 1, 2009
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GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY’S CENTER FOR THE ARTS

PRESENTS

NATALIE MACMASTER

“CHRISTMAS IN CAPE BRETON”

Friday, Dec. 18, 2009 at 8 p.m.

  

FAIRFAX, Va., Nov. 17, 2009  “MacMaster’s a ball of fire, performing jigs and reels with unstoppable, foot-tapping energy and ballads with irresistible keening passion,” the Los Angeles Times says about this virtuoso fiddler from Canada. A Grammy nominee who first picked up a violin at age 9,

Natalie MacMaster combines Celtic, bluegrass and contemporary acoustic sounds with jazz, rock and even classical music. This holiday season, MacMaster returns to George Mason University’s Center for the Arts on Friday, Dec. 18 at 8 p.m., demonstrating her fiddling fireworks and ferocious step dancing in a program titled “Christmas in Cape Breton,” a performance that evokes the holiday traditions of her native Cape Breton, mingling Celtic melodies with classic Christmas carols. This performance is family friendly, and tickets are half price for youth through grade 12 when accompanied by an adult. A pre-performance discussion, free to ticket holders, begins 45 minutes prior to the performance on the Center’s Grand Tier III.

“To call Natalie MacMaster the most dynamic performer in Celtic music today is high praise, but it still doesn’t get at how remarkable a concert artist this Cape Breton fiddler has become.” (Boston Herald) MacMaster was first noticed for her mastery of the Cape Breton sound, which is rooted in the Scottish Highlands and Outer Hebrides, and was brought to Canada by 18th and 19th century immigrants. Celebrating this sound and culture is MacMaster’s mission, and she does so through enthusiastic performances and her Internet radio show “Cape Breton Live.” Her goal, she says, is to try and “capture the culture, as opposed to just the music … we want to share the spirit and the vibe, and what we’re about as a people.”

The niece of famed fiddler Buddy MacMaster, Natalie quickly became a talent in her own right, collaborating with Alison Krauss, Carlos Santana, Bela Fleck, Faith Hill, Paul Simon, The Chieftains and even Luciano Pavarotti. After winning numerous awards for her traditional recordings, she began taking Celtic music to new heights with albums like “In My Hands,” which infused traditional fiddling with elements of jazz and Latin music. She has recorded nine albums, and received a Grammy nomination and two Juno Awards for “My Roots Are Showing” and “In My Hands.” She also recently recorded an album called “Yours Truly” with a song called “Farewell To Peter,” in which MacMaster paid respects to her friend, fan and fellow Canadian, ABC News Anchor Peter Jennings.

Though she recently gave birth to her third child (she is married to fiddler Donnell Leahy, who performs with the Leahys – a group that includes seven of his brothers and sisters), MacMaster said her music has not changed, but that having a family and being a mother has reinvigorated her commitment to the stage and her audience.

 “I like being on stage even more,” MacMaster said. “When I appear onstage, that’s my departure from Momhood – and I transform into Natalie MacMaster: the entertainer, the fiddler, the performer. I relish that now more.”

MacMaster returns to the Center for the Arts Saturday, Feb. 27 at 8 p.m. with her husband, Donnell Leahy, for a program titled “Masters of the Fiddle.”

 

Tickets for NATALIE MACMASTER are $46, $38, $23. Family Friendly! Youth through grade 12, half price when accompanied by an adult. Charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit www.gmu.edu/cfa. The Center for the Arts complex is located on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University at the intersection of Braddock Road and Route 123. Paid parking is located in the deck adjacent to the mainstage Concert Hall and FREE parking is located in university lot K.  Visit www.gmu.edu/cfa.

About Great Performances at Mason

Great Performances at Mason is a program of George Mason University's Center for the Arts, the professional presentation and production arm of the College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA). CVPA provides an academic environment in which the arts are explored as individual disciplines and interdisciplinary forms that strengthen one another. The college prepares students for careers as creators, performers, teachers, scholars, arts leaders and arts entrepreneurs. Understanding that an education in the arts is deepened by regular contact with the work of distinguished visiting artists, the Center for the Arts, the professional presentation and production arm of the college, welcomes a variety of professional and world-renowned artists, musicians and actors to its stage. Students have the opportunity to perform, create and exhibit their work in a wide variety of public venues including a 2,000-seat Concert Hall. CVPA is home to the Schools of Music, Dance and Art, the Department of Theater, as well as the Computer Game Design, Arts Management and Film and Video Studies programs.

About George Mason University

Named the #1 national university to watch in the 2009 rankings of U.S. News & World Report, George Mason University is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with global distinction in a range of academic fields. Located in Northern Virginia near Washington, D.C., Mason provides students access to diverse cultural experiences and the most sought-after internships and employers in the country.  Mason offers strong undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering and information technology, organizational psychology, health care and visual and performing arts. With Mason professors conducting groundbreaking research in areas such as climate change, public policy and the biosciences, George Mason University is a leading example of the modern, public university.