Donnell Leahy

Donnell Leahy

Two become one

NANAIMO - Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy present Two Fiddles Two Pianos at the Port Theatre Monday (Nov. 23) 7:30 p.m.

When Natalie MacMaster steps on stage, she’s all business.

She views each performance as going to work.

“It’s very concentrated. I’m very focused on performing well,” she said.

Even though she ensures her intonations are correct she still taps into her inner passion and plays with “spirit and energy” to deliver songs to the crowds as best she can.

“I look out to the people in the crowd to connect to people,” she said. “Every time I play for a different person it pulls something different out of me.”

She also looks to her husband, Donnell Leahy, who is joining her on the couple’s Two Fiddles Two Pianos tour.

“We feed off the other person’s energy and are constantly trying to inspire each other,” said MacMaster. “If I let myself think of something deeply moving, I am always touched or moved by seeing him.”

Leahy is always full of energy and passion, said MacMaster.

The Two Fiddles Two Pianos tour is a stripped-down performance because there isn’t a band. MacMaster said without the band it allows audience members to hear the fiddles in a more intimate way.

“We get down to the roots of the music and people hear all the subtleties they don’t necessarily hear with a full band,” said MacMaster.

This tour has a special bonus  for MacMaster because her family gets to join her on the road.

“I feel really grateful. I don’t have to leave my family when performing shows,” she said. “I am living my life out here with my family. It’s a rare gift.”

On Nov. 8, MacMaster and Leahy won Instrumental Group of the Year for their album One at the Canadian Folk Music Awards.

“For us to play traditional music, it’s a real bonus,” said MacMaster.

The album, One, is the first official recording the two have created together, even though they both have enjoyed successful music careers. MacMaster has released 11 albums and won two Juno and 11 East Coast Music Awards. Leahy has won three Juno awards and is widely recognized as one of the best Celtic fiddlers in the world.

MacMaster and Leahy perform at the Port Theatre Monday (Nov. 23) at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $49.50 and are available by calling 250-754-8550 or www.porttheatre.com.

arts@nanaimobulletin.com