Hugh Alan "Buddy" MacMaster (born October 18, 1924) is one of the most reknowned artists in the tradition of Cape Breton fiddle music . He was born into a Gaelic-speaking home in Timmins, Ontario to John Duncan MacMaster and Sarah Agnes MacDonald MacMaster. The family was originally from the island of Cape Breton in Nova Scotia, and in 1928 they returned to Cape Breton to settle in the town of Judique. At an early age, he began to play the fiddle. At the age of 12, he had his first public performance at an amateur hour in the town of Port Hood, and at the age of 14 he played his first professional gig at a square dance in the nearby town of Troy . He began a career as a station agent and telegrapher for the Canadian National Railroad in 1943, though he continued to play nights at square dances across Nova Scotia.
Buddy made his first radio broadcast from the town of Antigonish, Nova Scotia in 1948, and in the 1970s he played regularly on Canadian television on the CBC's Celidh show. After his retirement from the railroad in 1988, he continued to work as a professional musician, gaining an international reputation. He was one of the first Cape Breton fiddlers to be asked to teach in Scotland. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish in 1995, and in 2000 he was awarded the Order of Canada for his contributions to Canadian culture.
Buddy has released four albums. His first, Judique on the Floor, was released in 1989, followed by Glencoe Hall in 1991, The Judique Flyer in 2000, and Cape Breton Tradition in 2003. He has also released a video, Buddy MacMaster, Master of the Cape Breton Fiddle.
Buddy married Marie Beaton in 1968. He has two children, Mary Elizabeth MacMaster MacInnis (also a musician) and Allan Gerard MacMaster. He is also the uncle of Natalie MacMaster, another Cape Breton fiddler who has toured extensively and gained a worldwide following.
You can listen to short samples from some of the tracks from this artist using the player below.
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