Natalie MacMaster

No Boundaries

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In the 1960s and '70s there was growing concern within Celtic music circles that the perceived lack of interest and participation could jeopardize the future of that tradition. With the arrival and subsequent success of artists like Altan, Seamus Egan, Eileen Ivers, and Ashley MacIsaac, those worries amount to nothing but a distant memory. The educational opportunities are now abundant, the development of talent is ongoing, and the fruits of these efforts are being harvested routinely. One of the 1990s' most exciting and gifted fiddlers is Natalie MacMaster from Cape Breton, the wonderfully Celtic-rich region of Nova Scotia. Although only 24 years of age at the time of its release, No Boundaries is her fourth recording, and as the title suggests, her most diverse. In addition to MacMaster's extremely fluid, precise technique and her devotion to the traditional Cape Breton fiddle tunes, there are a few surprises here, most notably the bluegrass and erstwhile Texas swing favorite "Beaumont Rag," performed in true swing fashion. The oft-interpreted "Reel Beatrice" receives a funky treatment with full band, and special guest Cookie Rankin provides Gaelic singing and "scatting" to the slow hip-hop beat of "The Drunken Piper." Acoustic guitarist Dave MacIsaac deserves mention for his accomplished work throughout and producer Chad Irschick (Rankin Family and Loreena McKennitt) ties together some seemingly disparate music forms with amazing ease and dexterity.

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