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P.E.I. fiddler Ward MacDonald displays his new CD, “Ask Her to Dance.”  He launched the debut album this past Wednesday at a P.E.I. Mutual Festival of Small Halls concert at the Olde Lorne Valley School.
P.E.I. fiddler Ward MacDonald displays his new CD, “Ask Her to Dance.” He launched the debut album this past Wednesday at a P.E.I. Mutual Festival of Small Halls concert at the Olde Lorne Valley School. - Sally Cole

Ward MacDonald is a master fiddler.

He has glided his bow across the strings of his Celtic fiddle for approximately 30 years.

He has taught fiddle camps for 10.

So, I was surprised to learn that he just released his first-ever CD.

When I asked him why he had waited so long to step into a recording studio, he told me he had reasons.

“My career is multi-faceted, and I’ve been busy,” says MacDonald who is also an event creator and instrumental in starting the Festival of Small Halls (with Ray Brow), the Rollo Bay Fiddle Camp and the Adult Square Dances – Here We Go at the Barnone Brewery in Rose Valley.

“Now that the groundwork has been laid and these things are flowing and growing on their own I can sit back and play the fiddle for a while. It’s energizing,” says MacDonald, who also looked for ways to expand his solo career.

He quickly realized one of the best ways was with his own CD.

“I wanted to have a product to sell and tour. So, the time is right. I’m ready right now,” says MacDonald, who launched his debut album, “Ask Her to Dance”, at the Olde Lorne Valley School this past Wednesday.

Mainly recorded at Dunk River Sound with Chris Gauthier, the album received additional support from engineers Colin Grant, Remi Arsenault and Jon Matthews. 

“Ask Her to Dance” contains 10 tracks. Midnight Visit, a lively set of three tunes, includes “Thelma MacPherson’s” by Gerry Holland, “Midnight Visit” and “Demons of Silence” by MacDonald.

Album fast facts

  • Copies of the “Ask Her to Dance” are available by contacting Ward MacDonald on Facebook or sending an email to celticsomething@gmail.com.
  • The album cover is an original painting by Vincent Crotty. It shows Remi Arsenault, Pascal Miousse and Ward MacDonald playing at a square dance in Saint John, N.B. The dancer caller is Elizabeth MacDonald, Halifax.

“I’m joined on the latter by my good friend, Ben Miller, on the border pipes.”

MacDonald’s own “Piano in the Garden” is also included.

 “I wrote it a few years ago for a friend. And I’m really happy with how it turned out, with Eric Wright on the cello and Emmanuelle LeBlanc on the bodhran. It’s one of my favourites,” he adds.

Judging from the favourable reaction he received at the CD launch, MacDonald made the right decision.

“The hall was packed. It was phenomenal, magical – a really fantastic night. And I had some of my best friends with me,” says MacDonald who was accompanied by Remi, Anastasia DesRoches and Richard Wood, along with step dancers Mylène and Geneviève Ouellette.

Now that the rosin dust has settled and the chairs have been put away, he’s thinking about his next performances.

MacDonald tells me you can catch him at Tunes on Tap at Copper Bottom Brewing in Montague on Sundays, 3-5 p.m., the Rollo Bay Fiddle Festival, July 13-15, and the Lorne Valley Square Dances starting Wednesday, June 20 at 8 p.m.

And he’s excited.

“People have been asking me for a CD for the past 20 years. Now I have something to hand them.”

Sally Cole is an entertainment writer with The Guardian. She welcomes comments about her column as well as suggestions for future columns from readers. She may be reached at sally.cole@theguardian. w88Việt nam www.thedressaddict.com  or by phone at 902-629-6000, ext. 6054.

Call in and win

  • The question is: How many years has Ward MacDonald played the fiddle?
  • The prize: A copy of his debut CD, “Ask Her to Dance”.
  • Last week’s winner:  Angela Killeen won a copy of “The Legend of Bubby Stevens”. 
  • To enter: Call The Guardian’s Phone and Win contest line at 902-629-1707

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