Peterborough Musicfest lifts the curtain on its 36th season on Saturday, July 1st, helping thousands celebrate Canada Day in energetic fashion by presenting the incomparable fiddle music duo of Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy.
MacMaster, a native of Nova Scotia, and Leahy, lead fiddler for the famed musical family from Lakefield, married in 2002 and remain Canada’s reigning couple of Celtic music. Often performing with their musical children, they have been awarded numerous honours, including Juno and East Coast Music awards.
MacMaster and Leahy have recorded just three albums together but quality over quantity holds true.
In 2015, their debut album One, produced by the legendary Bob Ezrin, was released. The following year saw the release of A Celtic Family Christmas. There things sat until earlier this year and the release of Canvas, which introduced rock, pop, Latin and classical influences to their trademark Celtic sound, featuring guest support from Rhiannon Giddens, Yo-Yo Ma and Brian Finnegan.
“The fiddle was definitely common ground for us when we first got together,” reflects MacMaster, a member of the Order of Canada since 2006.
“I was so in awe of Donnell’s family, of 11 siblings who could play and had a family band. And here I am now doing almost exactly the same thing. Well, kind of. This whole thing – first playing music by myself, then playing music with Donnell, then touring with Donnell and the children and all of us playing
music together – has evolved in a very natural way. We feel incredibly lucky to be together as a family and to be letting our children develop their musical talent.”
“The only downside is that we can’t do all we’re asked to do and might like to do in other circumstances because we are parents first,” adds Leahy.
“You think about touring Australia and Ireland and The Netherlands, where we’ve been invited to play. But then you remember the kids’ math homework has to get done.”
With Canadian jazz music great Moe Koffman headlining, Peterborough Musicfest debuted July 1, 1987 under the name Peterborough Festival of Lights with concert series founder Fred Anderson at the helm. Over the years since, artists representing virtually every genre of music have headlined, bringing thousands to Del Crary Park.
Peterborough Musicfest is funded by corporate sponsorships – most of those being locally owned businesses – multiple levels of government support, fundraising initiatives and private donations and, as a result, has been, and steadfastly remains, a uniquely free admission event. Dallas Green, Our Lady Peace, Serena Ryder, Gordon Lightfoot, 54-40 and Blue Rodeo are just a few of the sensational music acts that have appeared over the years.
Overseen by general manager Tracey Randall and staff, and a board of directors, Peterborough Musicfest’s stated mission is to “provide diverse, affordable live music to enrich cultural and economic prosperity in our community. In order to fulfill this mandate and keep attracting legendary musicians to our stage, Peterborough Musicfest encourages any individual or business interested in sponsoring the festival to reach out at www.ptbomusicfest.ca or phone 705-755- 1111.
For more information, contact:
Lagni Patel, Marketing Assistant
Peterborough Musicfest – 705-755-1111 firstname.lastname@example.org