Barbara MacDonald Magone is from solid Cape Breton roots and was brought up in Detroit. Her father came to Detroit from Cape Breton in the 1920s and was himself a fiddler, and she spent most of her summers on CB. She played onstage with Buddy MacMaster when she was 11 years old. She mentions Joan MacDonald Boes and Marguerite MacNeil Parker as early influences.
She now live in California and frequently works with Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser.
She is also one of the few Cape Breton pianists to have put out a solo album. It's on Culburnie Records and is called 'The Fiddler's Friend'. One cut from that CD also appears on Celtic Colours International Festival 1998 : The Second Wave
Barbara wrote an article on Cape Breton piano accompaniment in the Summer 1996 issue of Fiddler Magazine , which featured Cape Breton fiddling.
Barbara's approach to the piano strikes some listeners as "old fashioned" compared to what many of today's players are doing. In the Fiddler Magazine article, she said "it actually seems to be on the brink of rock and roll, and this is very distressing to me".
She is on the staff of the Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling School in California.