Catriona MacDonald, Bold

Chris Nickson

By Chris Nickson

on 04.22.11 in Reviews


Catriona MacDonald
Glittering and effortlessly flawless, a Shetland-born fiddler struts her stuff.

Shetland-born fiddler Catriona MacDonald struts her stuff beautifully on this disc, whether it's the slow, measured tempo of "Michael's Mazurka" or the frantic headlong dash of "Eilidh's Trip in Germany." Although very firmly based in the folk music of her homeland (just listen to the way she swings through the "Shetland Reels" set), there's plenty of adventure in her playing, with jazzy little slides and improvisations, as well as some unusual arrangements, like the church organ that arrives unexpectedly to fill out "Da Silver Bow." But she's most at home on the slower material, where her gorgeous tone can shimmer and shine through, illuminating the heart of the melodies. She plays with a warmth and openness that's so typical of Shetland and Scottish fiddling, and with deliciously concise phrasing — not just technically, but also artistically, glittering and effortlessly flawless. MacDonald is a young virtuoso queen of the fiddle.