Natalie McMaster & Donnell Leahy – A Celtic Family Christmas

Peggy @99-1 welcomes Natalie McMaster & Donnell Leahy – A Celtic Family Christmas. Thursday, December 6th at the Centennial Concert Hall.

All Ages. Reserved Seating.

Doors 7pm. Show 8pm.


Get in on the Peggy pre-sale Wednesday July 26th from 10am until Thursday, July 27th at 10pm use code: SETLIST.

Tickets on sale Friday, July 27th at 10am.


This holiday season join Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy, the award-winning fiddle virtuosos, in an intimate and unique Christmas concert series you will never forget. With the duo accompanied by an incredible array of talented session musicians – and their entire family – A Celtic Family Christmas will guide you into the wonderful world of a true Cape Breton Christmas celebration. “This tour is going to have an energy that goes beyond the duration of the show,” says Natalie Macmaster. “I want it to stay with our fans throughout the holidays, and beyond.”

To fans of fiddle music, Natalie MacMaster needs no introduction. Over a recording career now spanning 25 years, this Order of Canada recipient has released 11 albums that have notched sales of over 200,000 copies. She has won two JUNO and eleven East Coast Music Awards and been nominated for a Grammy, and has collaborated with artists as diverse as Yo-Yo Ma (on the Grammy-winning album Songs of Joy & Peace), Alison Krauss, Jesse Cook, and Bela Fleck. Though acknowledging that she can be “a musical chameleon,” Natalie stresses that, above all else, “I play Cape Breton fiddle.”

Donnell Leahy is no stranger to the awards podium himself. He is the oldest brother of the internationally acclaimed family musical group Leahy, winners of three JUNO Awards. Widely recognized as one of the best Celtic fiddlers in the world, his high-energy playing style also makes him a highly popular performer.

The fiddling duo have toured extensively over the years both together and separately, selling out venues across the continent. Each show is an unforgettable experience for all those in attendance, and word of their musical feats has travelled. The last Christmas concert series sold out in a matter of days, leading to additional shows added due to high demand.

“If you really love fiddle music, there are performances here that are nothing short of jaw dropping … performances that will raise you up and performances that will leave you misty–eyed,” The Guardian

This year, A Celtic Family Christmas exceeds all expectations with riveting performances by Natalie, Donnell, and their children, bringing the Cape Breton Christmas to you. Through a mix of both song and dance, they will take you on a journey of virtuoso performances, telling the story of the night before Christmas in the Leahy/Macmaster household. “Christmas is where this whole concept started and we are excited to be travelling as a family,” says Donnell. “It’s a perfect time to travel across Canada and bring light and happiness to families and fans across the country.” With a lineup of familiar Christmas songs intermingled with classic Celtic songs sure to warm your heart, A Celtic Family Christmas brings you in the door, and welcomes you in as part of the family.

The Band:

Mac Morin (piano), a founding member of the band, Beolach, has continued to perform his innovative Cape Breton piano style, touring and recording full time with Natalie MacMaster for nearly the last two decades. He has also appeared live and recorded with the likes of The Rankin Family, Yo-Yo Ma, Buddy MacMaster and the Chieftains and has recorded on many of the traditional projects produced in Cape Breton in the last 20 years. He also continues to travel as a guest with the Scottish group, Dannsa. As a well-known and respected dancer at home and abroad, Mac has travelled internationally to teach the traditional Cape Breton style. Such workshops and private events have taken him to private and group lessons at festivals, Féisan and universities across Canada and the U.S. and throughout the UK, Europe and New Zealand.

Ben Wittman (Drums: November 30 -December 6), drummer, composer, and producer, was raised in the creative and adventuresome atmosphere of Bennington College, Vermont in the ’60s and ’70s. Ben initially studied piano, but by age 11 was drawn to the energy and rhythm of the drumset. He pursued this passion into high school, where he studied with Milfred Graves and Freddie Waits. He moved to Boston in 1982, attending the New England Conservatory of Music and graduating in 1986 with a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Performance. Ben moved to New York in 1993, where he continues to combine his love of world rhythms, songwriting, and production. having reconnected with a musician with whom he’d played in Boston during the mid ’80s, clarinetist Don Byron, Ben’s playing with Don remains one of his most vital performance outlets. His tenure in New York has also included recording and performing with a diverse range of artists from Sting, Paul Simon, Paula Cole, Laurie Anderson, Jonatha Brooke and Rosanne Cash, to Don Byron, Theo Bleckmann and contemporary Celtic artists Eileen Ivers, Solas and Cathie Ryan.

Mark Kelso (drummer December 7 – December 22), originally hails from Belfast, Northern Ireland, has made Toronto, Canada his home.  Not only is he a skilled musician who plays drums and percussion, but is also a singer, producer, composer and band leader.  Mark has been the head of the percussion dept. and Humber College in Toronto since 2005.  Mark’s ability to play a wide variety of music styles has led him to become one of Canada’s most sought-after drummers and he has worked with a wide array of artists such as Pat Metheny, Michael Bublé, David Foster, Herbie Handcock, Olivia New John, Bonnie Raitt, James Taylor and many others. Mark’s own Junonominated band, the Jazz Exiles, has just released its second record.

Elmer Ferrer (guitar), Cuban-Canadian guitarist, is widely recognized as one of the world’s premier guitarists. Born to a musical family in 1973, in Santi Spiritus – a small city that holds one of the strongest histories in Cuban traditional music – Elmer started to play and study classical guitar at age 12 while devoting every free minute to self -study of the electric instrument. An extremely versatile and prolific session musician, Elmer has recorded and toured the globe with many of Cuba’s top producers and artist.  As a producer, arranger, session acoustic or electric guitarist, Ferrer has contributed to more than 100 music recordings, including two Latin Grammy nominee albums. He has a prominent career as a composer and solo performer and is the leader of the remarkable Elmer Ferrer Band, known for captivating audiences and critics alike with their signature “advanced mix of Cuban Jazz and electric blues”.   Ferrer’s touring includes performances at international music festivals world-wide.  Six-time Grammy winner, pianist Chucho Valdes, on the occasion of having Elmer as a special guest of the Chucho Valdes quarter, introduced Elmer as “one of the greatest guitarists I have listened to in the last 30 years”.

Rémi Arsenault (bass/guitar) has been a prominent side and session musician in the PEI music scene for over 20 years. He picked up bass, drums and guitar before he was 10 years old, growing up in a very musical family that is well known for its cultural contributions to the French-Acadian music scene on the Island and beyond. He has toured North America and Europe numerous times with artists such as, Vishten, Catherine Maclellan, Coig, Fayo, Dominique Dupuis, Gadelle, An Acoustic Sin and many more.

-Natalie MacMaster Online-