The staff, board and volunteers of the Celtic Colours International Festival would like to express our deep sadness over the loss of Buddy MacMaster, and our sincerest condolences to his family, his many friends and his musical colleagues.
Buddy MacMaster was an icon, a giant of Cape Breton’s fiddle tradition. For more than three generations he has represented the gold standard in Cape Breton fiddle playing. His characteristic “lift” and clean style, along with his knowledge of the repertoire, set the bar to which young fiddlers aspired. Although not known as a composer, his playing has popularized the tunes of many other local composers. He has drawn international admiration for both our culture and our Island through his travels, his recordings and his many awards. In recent years, both local and visiting musicians would make the pilgrimage to Judique to visit the Master at his home. He always welcomed them, sharing a story or a tune. His humble personality and gentle sense of humour never failed to lift the spirits of others.
Buddy has had a major impact on Celtic Colours since the first festival in 1997, having performed 37 times on Celtic Colours stages over the years. Our audiences loved his performances whether in a large concert or one of our smaller community venues. We took him to Scotland to the Celtic Connections Festival along with several of his favourite piano accompanists. In 2004 we celebrated his 80th birthday at one of our concerts in Mabou. His support for the festival and his belief in what we do will remain a source of encouragement for us to continue. We were blessed with the opportunity to know and to work with this wonderful man. He leaves a space that can never be filled, but his legacy will live on for as long as the music is heard or played.