Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy

Cape Breton / Ontario

From a young age, both Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy have had music in their lives so it’s no surprise that it was their passion for the fiddle that first brought them together. The duo married in 2002, and in the years following have welcomed their seven children—Mary Frances, Michael, Clare, Julia, Alec, Sadie, and Maria—who have joined them on their tours, and some of them joining in onstage with their own exceptional talents. Both Natalie and Donnell have strong beliefs that the farm they uphold is a key component of their children’s education and “running the farm is a great counterpoint to life on the road” as Leahy puts it. As Canada’s leading duo of Celtic music, MacMaster and Leahy have surpassed many milestones together and achieved a wealth of accomplishments and awards. Their synergy was brilliantly showcased on the pair’s first recorded collaboration, 2015’s Bob Ezrin produced album One, a crowning achievement complementing combined album sales of over one million. Since then, the couple have released two more records, including their most recent album, Canvas, which was released earlier this year. MacMaster explains their journey in the creation of Canvas as “indulging in full musical freedom, throwing patterns of the past aside. With a few challenges along the way, it was a delight from beginning to end”. With Yo-Yo Ma, Alison Krauss, Béla Fleck, Shania Twain, Michael MacDonald, and The Chieftains as collaborators, to name a few, they have captivated audiences stretching from Sydney, Nova Scotia to Sydney, Australia. Don’t miss Natalie and Donnell in their only appearance at the Festival this year.

Festival Performances

Back to Top