Tuesday, December 20, 2011

last night: natalie macmaster


Last night my parents took my brother and me to see Natalie MacMaster in St. Johnsbury. The photo is terrible, but the show was amazing! Natalie is a fiddler from Cape Breton, an island off Nova Scotia with a pretty incredible fiddling tradition, and a culture strongly influenced by the Highland Scots and Irish who settled there centuries ago. Not only is Natalie an unbelievably talented fiddler, but she is just bubbling over with joy and passion for her art, and the energy she has on stage is infectious. At one point, she "invited" us to a typical Christmas Party at her parents' house, and as she described the scene I truly felt like I was there--tapping my feet beside the piano in the cozy Cape living room, or step-dancing on the aged wooden floors while fiddlers of all ages played rollicking folk jigs.

This is the life that I want. I want to have and attend parties where people play music in living rooms and everyone dances and drinks and is merry, always. The concert made me appreciate more than ever my family, and the folk songs we play together, and all of the dancing and merriment that goes along with it. It made me realize how important it will be to keep that tradition alive in future generations--to play music simply for the pure joy of it, and to keep it raw, and real, and honest. It also made me wish I had never put down my fiddle. And maybe I'll try to pick it up again in the New Year :)

It made me appreciate more than ever where I grew up, in the middle of nowhere in rural Vermont, where the winters are harsh but the community is close (probably to counteract the effects of the cold), where friends are for life and family is for longer and you have to make your own music if you want to dance.

(It was quite a show.)


  1. Sounds like a great show and I love the way you describe the lifestyle and music sounds so inviting!

  2. How excellent, I love Nathalie MacMaster! My cousin is a double bass player and sometimes plays in a semi-Quebecois folk band, and the parties are always just as you describe... can't wait now until the next time they're all over. : )