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PODCAST: Award winning Celtic Musicians, Cassie and Maggie MacDonald

TODAY IN B.C.: East Coast duo have a West Coast connection

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Host Peter McCully chats with Cassie and Maggie MacDonald, traditional Celtic musicians from Nova Scotia. They are known for their exceptional musicianship and dynamic performances that blend traditional Celtic music with contemporary influences.

The duo was playing a number of stops in B.C., the province where their parents got together.

‘Their love story is quite romantic. They dated when they were younger and then fell out of touch. And our father moved all the way to Vancouver - they weren’t in contact for a long time. Our Mother decided to fly out to visit him on a whim. And then they were married, I think later that year. So, the British Columbia air was rife with romance at that time,’ says Cassie.

Born and raised in Antigonish, Nova Scotia the sisters grew up in the rich musical traditions of their Celtic heritage, the duo was influenced by their grandfather, celebrated fiddler Hugh MacDonald. They began performing as a duo in 2010, and quickly gained a reputation for their intricate fiddle and piano arrangements, tight vocal harmonies, and captivating stage presence.

Cassie is a master fiddler who has won numerous awards for her virtuosic playing, including the 2016 Canadian Folk Music Award for Instrumental Solo Artist of the Year. Her playing is steeped in the traditions of Cape Breton fiddle music, but she also incorporates influences from other Celtic and folk styles.

Maggie is a talented pianist who has developed a unique style of accompaniment that draws on her classical training as well as her love for Celtic music. She is also a gifted vocalist, and her soulful singing adds depth and emotion to the duo’s performances.

Cassie and Maggie have released several albums, including “Sterling Road” and “The Willow Collection,” both of which have received critical acclaim.

McCully asked Cassie MacDonald how she saw the music industry evolving in the future.

‘Music is the soundtrack to your life. So, every bit of it, the tough bits and the fun bits and the ridiculous bits. They all have a place in the music. I think if you can come up with music that reflects who you are, you’ll never be lost in a way. People get really upset about things changing and streaming and revenue streams. And it’s the same in every industry. We can’t really fight against the wave. You have to carve out,’ as Maggie said, ‘Your own perspective and stay true to that.’

The podcast also features the Gaelic contemporary tune, ‘Seileach’.

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Peter McCully

About the Author: Peter McCully

Peter has been a broadcaster and publisher on both of Canada’s coasts and has owned a small newspaper and run an advertising agency along the way.
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