Cassie and Maggie MacDonald happily return to the “beautiful venue full of beautiful people” they visited for the first time in the spring of 2015.
Their inaugural performance in Victoria was a sold out show at the Upstairs Lounge at Oak Bay Recreation Centre.
“It’s always nice to arrive in a new place you’ve never played before and have an enthusiastic audience waiting for you,” said Cassie in a phone interview from California.
“We really evolved musically since two years ago,” Cassie said.
The sisters have found that balance between musical integrity, and sheer entertainment. While staying true to their Nova Scotia Celtic roots, they have explored and tested the boundaries of traditional music. Their newest album is nominated for four Canadian Folk Music Awards
Maggie is nominated for Traditional Singer of the Year, the duo is up for Ensemble of the Year, Vocal Group of the Year and Traditional Album of the Year for the latest The Willow Collection.
“We’re surprised and honoured and humbled. Our new album had a really dedicated focus on singing. It’s more of a vocal album that our past albums,” Cassie said.
The Willow Collection takes singing from a “palate cleanser” for their strong instrumental performance to the main course.
“It’s kind of a gradual journey,” Cassie said.
They come from a family of fiddle and piano players always focused on the instrument, which still provides that solid critical foundation for their music. But Maggie always had an affinity for singing, and when the duo was in the US, they found the audience responded better to singing than strictly instrumental tunes.
“There’s such an incredible tradition of folk singing there … they were really missing the vocal component of our performances,” Cassie said.
That’s when they added the vocal to “cleanse the palate” then slowly shifted to a show with primarily singing. The natural progression leaves them with the strong melody and rhythm to work from.
“That will always provide the backbone for the singing we’ve brought in,” Cassie said.
Cassie and Maggie perform Oct. 6 at 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 6 for those seeking dinner and a show at Upstairs Lounge, Oak Bay Recreation Centre, 1975 Bee St. Tickets are $20 at Ivy’s Books and Oak Bay Recreation Centre reception or online at beaconridgeproductions.com.
Get a taste of their music at cassieandmaggie.com.