A common dynamic binds Cajun fiddle playing and the melodic rhythms of Cape Breton sound.
Neither is highly structured or technically intricate in its expressions, but both sure make you feel good upon hearing them.
Cajun and Cape Breton fiddling might very well be related since it was the Acadian exiles who, beginning mid-18th century, were banished to south Louisiana from Canada, establishing an identity through their music, cooking and language.
The former Acadia region of French Canada consisted largely of what is present-day Nova Scotia, the home of Natalie MacMaster, who along with her husband, Donnell Leahy, represent virtuosos of the Cape Breton sound.
The husband and wife tandem will appear at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Manship Theatre.
“When I first heard those Cajun fiddlers playing while on tour 17 years ago, I was struck by the honesty and purity of the sound. It’s very similar in effect to the Cape Breton sound, which is deep-feeling and emotional,” MacMaster said.
Both styles undoubtedly run parallel and in striking contrast to American bluegrass, which is harmonically more structured and technically exacting than its Cape Breton and Cajun counterparts.
MacMaster cut her first album at age 16. Now 39 and the mother of four, MacMaster ushers in the release of her 11th CD later this month.
Yet she concedes her environment and priorities have evolved, especially when it comes to touring.
All four of her children —ages 5, 4, 2 and 9 months — accompany MacMaster on tour.
“There are times when I want routines in our lives,” MacMaster said, “then there are times when I can’t wait to get on tour.
“I don’t feel the pressure I used to feel when I was younger. Having a family and children consume my life now. I am much more detached away from the stage now,” she said.
Still, MacMaster’s professional presence as an entertainer and musician elevates the genre of her music and its instrument.
While her life evolves, her musicianship on the fiddle has made many thousands of people feel good.
And MacMaster, while appreciating the uniqueness of her occupation, blends it ever more so to the realities of what makes life worth living.
Through her music and her family.