Cape Breton Island is not actually a Celtic isle.
It’s part of Nova Scotia, but it’s closer to Scotland than almost anywhere else in Canada, both metaphorically and literally.
On Saturday, fiddle virtuoso Natalie MacMaster will show a Spokane Symphony SuperPops audience just how infectious Cape Breton music can be.
It’s a Scottish Highlands blizzard of reels and jigs. And in MacMaster’s hands it also has some bluegrass and New Age inflections as well.
She’s a brilliant fiddler, often compared with Allison Krauss and Mark O’Connor. She’s also known as a great performer who can execute intricate clog-dancing steps without missing a note on her fiddle.
Saturday’s concert will feature even more Cape Breton showmanship. MacMaster will be accompanied by Mac Morin, a pianist and dancer whose parents were noted Cape Breton stepdancers, and Vince Dittrich on drums.
The evening will include one segment with just this trio. For most of the show, she’ll also be backed by the symphony, under the direction of Resident Conductor Morihiko Nakahara.
They will kick things off with “Four Scottish Dances” by Malcolm Arnold. Then MacMaster will play “Tunes O’Plenty,” “If Ever You Were Mine,” “O’Carolan’s Concerto” and “Strathspey and Reels.”
Two violin masters – MacMaster and symphony concertmaster Mateusz Wolski – will also square off on a Bach/“Devil’s Dream” piece.
Other titles on the program include “Jesse’s Polka,” “3 Jigs,” “Anniversary Waltz” and “Carnival Medley.”
MacMaster is a particular favorite in the Inland Northwest. She played Spokane in 2004 and created a sensation. Then she appeared at the Festival at Sandpoint in 2005 and was such a crowd favorite that the festival brought her back in 2010 for another well-received show.
This is your chance to find out what all the excitement is about.