NATALIE MACMASTER & DONNELL LEAHY – Canvas (Linus Entertainment 270787)

CanvasTwo of the world’s top Celtic fiddle players and known as Canada’s reigning stars of Celtic music– husband and wife team Donnell Leahy and Natalie MacMaster have recently released their third album together entitled Canvas. (Their cumulative album sales have topped one million and have sell out live performances across North America).  From the first track I was hooked!  Wow what an album! Thirteen glorious tracks of Celtic Folk to listen to.

‘Canvas’ – the title track kicked off the album, which took the listener into an up-tempo dramatic start leading into an explosion of fiddles! They had my attention straight away!!

‘Colour Therapy’ – had full on fiddles featuring Brian Finnegan, ‘Dance Arnold Dance’ reminded me of skiffle and after a high tempo it ends slowly, taking the listener up and then gentle down.  Brilliant! ‘Woman Of The House’ (sung in Gaelic) has Grammy award winning Americana/Appalachian banjo/fiddle player Rhiannon Giddens guesting. Powerful stuff!   ‘So You Love’ has celebrated classical cellist Yoyo Ma featuring on this beautiful, haunting piano intro with melodic violin accompanying. ‘Galicia’ features Spanish celebrated guitarist Josemi Carmona and is a beautiful cello and fiddle tune.

‘Choo Choo’ features the couple’s 17-year-old daughter Mary. The track gives a feel of Americana/Mid-West music with full belt drums and fiddles.‘The Case of the Mysterious Squabbyquash’ (whatever that is) featuring Cuban/Canadian multi-awarded musician Elmer Ferrer and is a fast tempo train like tempo with a fusion of various instruments.

‘Carameio’ featuring Josemi Carmona is a soft mellow track, almost waltz like with a touch of the Game Of Thrones theme tune. ‘East Neuk Of Fife’ is a foot tapper for sure! ‘The Laird O’Bernersyde’ is a slow waltz which is hauntingly beautiful and mellow. ‘Wish you Were Near’ features the beautiful, mellow voice of Robyn Cunningham at the beginning then drums take over and much foot tapping ensues!. Instrumental ‘Voice Memo 3049’ takes us out of the album.

So many celebrated and award-winning musicians on the album, plus their family of five children who participated too. A fusion of rock, pop, Latin, classical and traditional Irish flavours flow through this fabulous album.

Canvas is a real uplifting joy to listen too. Anyone who enjoys Celtic music with jigs, reels and much more will be delighted to have this album in their collection.  Canvas mostly resides in my car CD player, whereupon it delights my friends with eclectic tastes, when out driving with them.

Check out Natalie and Donnell on their website to buy their albums including Canvas and to see where they will be playing. I do hope they come to the UK as I would love to see them live.

Jean Camp

Artists’ website: www.natalieanddonnel.com

‘Fiddler’s Despair’ – live (is that any way to treat a grand piano?:


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