Cape Breton Fiddler
Dougie MacDonald

Dougie Photo


The last week of 2009, between Christmas and the New Year, Cape Breton fiddler Dougie MacDonald died in a car accident. He was only 41 years old. Over the years, Dougie released four albums and published a book of original fiddletunes. His music travelled the globe and his compositions have been played by such notables as Jerry Holland, Sharon Shannon, Howie MacDonald, The Barra MacNeils, Solas, Rodney Miller, Otis Tomas, Liz Doherty and Maire O'Keeffe. Though not a full time professional musician Dougie did have the opportunity to perform in Ireland, Scotland, Canada and the US. A frequent participant of the annual Celtic Colours International Festival, plans were already underway for him to be featured there next year. At the time of his death he was working on a new recording.

As a child in the Queensville, Inverness County area of Cape Breton, the famous fiddler-composer Dan Hughie MacEachern was Dougie's neighbour, mentor and close family friend. Dan R. MacDonald was another fiddler-composer who encouraged Dougie in those early years. Later, as a teenager, Dougie started visiting Jerry Holland to learn and share music. They remained close friends for remaining years of Jerry's life. Both as a composer and as a fiddler Dougie was highly original. Jerry and Dan Hughie were undoubtedly proud of his accomplishments.

A devoted family man, rather than make a tentative income from music, Dougie made his living from mining. In recent years he worked in the diamond mines of The Northwest Territories. Isolation didn't stop his camaraderie with Cape Breton musicians. Ever passionate about his new tunes, friends would get long distance phone calls when Dougie wanted to debut his latest creation.

During his precious time home, Dougie still managed to be generous to his local community, both with his time and with his music. In his home parish he helped organize the annual Broad Cove Concert. Around the island he played for benefit concerts and at nursing homes and as well he made frequent impromptu visits to friends - simply playing solo in the kitchen for appreciative householders. The intensity of his music was phenomenal. His bowing and fingering were unmatched. He was truly a fiddler's fiddler.

published in Fiddler Magazine (spring 2010)

Dougie's Collection of Fiddle Tunes
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