Celtic sisters performing with one of their influences

Amanda Jess
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NEW GLASGOW – There was never a time in Cassie and Maggie MacDonald’s life when they weren’t around the fiddle.

Cassie and Maggie MacDonald will be performing with Fleur Mainville as part of the Music Shapes New Glasgow series on March 29. SUBMITTED

Celtic music was well established in their family before they were born.

As young children, they travelled the province, highland dancing and listening to bagpipes.

The rich-in-history genre is one that is widely appealing no matter where they go, Cassie says.

“It’s still relevant to us today. It always causes someone to get up and start step-dancing,” Cassie says about why Celtic appeals to her.

The pair, who are both in their 20s and live in Halifax, released their first album, “Fresh Heirs,” in 2011.

Cassie describes their first release as similar to what they do live, while their latest will be introduce a few more “musical friends.” 

They had recorded it over three days, starting the day after St. Patrick’s Day and doing three holiday gigs in a row.

They didn’t want to do their next album the same way, and spread it out over several months.

They started working with a bluegrass producer in Toronto in December.

She says they’ve evolved since 2011, and added a few more flavours into the mix, including the cello, mandolin and even some didgeridoo.

They’re hoping to release it in May.

Their sound builds on traditional Celtic roots, arranged in a contemporary way, Cassie explains.

They play on different rhythms, incorporating a lot of fiddle, and always keeping their audience on their toes.

Their first performance together was in Halifax at a fundraiser on Robbie Burns Day before they were even teenagers.

“We did it five years in a row and tried to do something different each year,” Cassie says, adding they’d be planning the show all year.

Since then, they’ve travelled the world, performing in festivals such as the International Polizi Show in Germany and the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo.

They’ve been nominated for a number of awards as well as won for the Galaxie Radio Rising Star in 2011.

One of their next endeavours will be with local favourite Fleur Mainville in New Glasgow next week.

“We’re so excited for this show. We’ve really been looking forward to it,” Cassie says, adding that Mainville has been a big influence for them.

She was one of Cassie’s first teachers, immediately coming across as beautiful and poised to Cassie.

“She inspired me to want to be a girl in the music industry and to inspire other young artists.”

New Glasgow itself is also special to them. Although they haven’t had an official gig here yet, they’ve had to make emergency trips to music stores here on the way to Cape Breton.

“We have fond memories of New Glasgow. It’s saved us quite a few times.” 

Cassie and Maggie MacDonald will be joining Fleur Mainville at The Celtic Circle on March 29 for Celtic Night as part of Music Shapes New Glasgow. The show begins at 8 p.m.

Regular tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door.

 

Amanda.jess@ngnews.ca

On Twitter: @NGNewsAmanda 

Geographic location: Halifax, New Glasgow, Toronto Germany Cape Breton

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