I was obsessed with fiddles, fiddlers, fiddle bands...
Seriously. I used to stalk this family fiddle band around Alberta. Not lying. I saw eleven shows in three years. I drove around the province (ok, and once around Ontario). I saw shows back to back night after night. I once drove through a snow storm in the mountains. A couple of the sisters used to remember me show after show. The manager knew me. I used to be active in the online community. I met people I knew online in person and made friends. More importantly though, I truly loved the music.
(Athabasca, AB - 1998? That was the concert I danced with the Hutterites.)
I loved Leahy. They were my most favouritist band.
And I had a huge (*huge*) crush on the youngest brother. *sigh*
(Edmonton, AB - 1999/2000? See, I met them! That's my used-to-be-future-husband in the middle. He's probably married now to someone-who-isn't-me.)
Then I moved to the UK, and distance deflated my obsession. Sure, I once tried quite hard to go see a Leahy concert in Belgium, but that never worked out. I got the manager to ship me over the newest live dvd/cd. But circumstances during the London Years sucked the spirit out of me. And upon returning to Canada, I found my musical tastes had shifted. Sure, I still on occasion check the Leahy tour dates, but they only usually play a few shows a year now, and mostly in the east. (I think that's about to change, read on.)
If ever there was a match made in heaven, it's Donnell Leahy and Natalie MacMaster.
When I heard they had gotten married, I was super excited. Canada's king of fiddles married Canada's queen of fiddles. Perfect.
And on Saturday night, I saw them in concert.
It was magical.
(So magical it couldn't be recorded on camera secretly from second row centre.)
They were in fine form. Natalie is cute and funny and bouncy and great to watch. Donnell is animated and genuine and uber talented. They had with them two pianists, Mac Morin (who I've seen at Folk Fest as part of Beolach), and Erin Leahy. That's right. Surprise surprise, another Leahy, and Erin - one of the sisters who used to remember me! Awesome.
The music was fantastic. They played some MacMaster songs, some Leahy songs, some other songs, and I loved them all.
(Watch till the end - that's my favourite Leahy moment.)
One of the highlights was the 'Olympic Moments'. Early on in the first set, Natalie was dancing and faked skiing by using her bow and fiddle as poles. Then, as Mac was dancing, he mimiced ski jumping. Natalie explained the challenge was for them all to do an Olympic sport before the end of the first set. Later on, Donnell did a bit of figure skating, including and jump and a spin. The last song of the set came up, and Erin was stuck at the piano, so I wondered what she was going to do, but suddenly she bolted up, ran around the stage and then 'shot the puck' at Donnell. It was hilarious. During the second last song of the night, Erin and Mac once again jumped up from the pianos, Donnell threw a 'curling rock' across the stage and the pianists swept it while he yelled "Hurry Hard!"
Natalie and Donnell told a lovely story about their first date. And throughout the night, you could tell they were all having so much fun. The music was so wonderful, and the energy - gosh, I just don't know how to describe it. It brought back all the memories of back in the day. They were good times.
It was a great night.
(Always genuine, sincere and down to earth. Lovely people, the whole family.)
Donnell did mention they were recording a new Leahy CD. Maybe one day we'll see a Donnell/Natalie CD? Afterwards, Donnell and Natalie came out to sign autographs and meet people. I told Natalie I'd been waiting ten years to see her, and she was very lovely. Then I told Donnell I used to stalk Leahy back in the day and had seen a dozen shows. He was quite surprised. I said they have to come back and he said they will - they are.
We'll have to wait and see what Leahy does next. I'm willing to bring the old obsession out from the back of the closet. I'm willing to drive around the province to see a bunch of shows. They'll be good times.
And maybe Angus Leahy is still single...
More links to enjoy:
MacMaster & Leahy - TED Talks
MacMaster & Leahy - Fiddling with Parenthood