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Another little Esolen masterpiece

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Feb 15, 2012

If you love Celtic fiddling, as I do (while I write, the sounds of my daughter Bridget’s fiddling drift in from the living room), you’re always ready to hear about a concert by the great Natalie McMaster. And if that account is written by Anthony Esolen—well, it’s a “must.”

But even if you don’t happen to enjoy fiddle music, you’ll enjoy this piece. It isn’t really about the music. It’s about the culture: the family that fiddles, the hometown community that welcomes back an international star, the star who still cherishes her deep roots in that community, the shared love for a form of music that has been passed down from family to family for generations. Culture, Esolen reminds us, isn’t just something that you find in museums. It’s something that you find in a little village in Cape Breton, with Natalie McMaster and her husband yielding the stage to little children because—well, because that’s what adults do: we yield the stage to our children.

Having painted such an attractive picture of this local concert, Esolen then lowers the boom, comparing the scene—oriented toward children, toward tradition, toward family and faith—with the raucous, crude self-indulgence of the Super Bowl halftime show. Which is more truly representative of our culture? I ponder that question, and wonder how long it will take to drive to Nova Scotia…

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Feb. 16, 2012 12:52 PM ET USA

    However long it takes for you to get there, don't miss it. Went there this spring, and am trying desperately to get back.