Cape Breton Fiddle music

Cape Breton Fiddle music

Hi there,

Just dicovered Cape Breton fiddle music on the Internet, can anyone fill me in on the best tunes from there? Is there differences in style? What are the major influences apart from Irish?

Regards

Shylock

Re: Cape Breton Fiddle music

The main influence is Scottish,brought by refugees from the Highland Clearances.You couldn’t do better than start of with Jerry Holland’s collection. Here are some Cape Breton tunes.
http://www.cranfordpub.com/tunes/1_to_100.htm

Re: Cape Breton Fiddle music

The main influence on Cape Breton style is probably Scottish music. There is a belief amongst many that that is closer to how Scottish music sounded before the emigrations than Scottish music sounds today.

There are certainly some Irish influences though.

Someopne more knowledgeable than me will be able to explain it better. One of the common features of Cape Breton music though is fiddle music with piano accompaniment (rather than guitar). Bodhrans are also a rarity out there. Step dancing is common. Fiddle, piano and step dance together is a bit of a signature.

Re: Cape Breton Fiddle music

The delights of cross-posting.

Re: Cape Breton Fiddle music

There are some irish influences but the very name,Nova Scotia says it all.There is body of opinion which states that the Cape Breton fiddle style is much closer to the old Scottish style before it became Scott Skinnerised.

Re: Cape Breton Fiddle music

http://www.capebretonlive.com
Be sure to watch the video clips featuring dancers.

As far as I know, C.B. musicians are much more prolific composers than Irish counterparts.

Re: Cape Breton Fiddle music

Congratulations on this wonderful discovery. I love the strong, full bowing and lively rhythms of Cape Breton fiddling.

You need to know about (you can start by Googling and Youtubing):

Buddy McMaster
Natalie McMaster
Troy McGillavary
J.P. Cormier
The Bridges of Cape Breton County (CD)
Wendy McIsaac
Brenda Stubbert
Jerry Holland

You have a lot to look forward to!

Re: Cape Breton Fiddle music

There is a website dedicated to the best in Cape Breton music. It is www.capebretonlive.com. Add Andrea Beaton and Glenn Graham to the list above. Also the Rankin sisters have reopened the Red Shoe Pub three years ago and host great Sunday concerts. I’ve run two music and dance tours to Cape Breton and caught great ceilidhs both there and at Dave MacDonald’s Barn at the Normaway Inn in Margaree. The combination of fiddle, piano and stepdancing is prevalent all over Cape Breton and many performers will do all three in the course of an evening. On both of my tours we did some crossover of Irish and Cape Breton and added banjo, guitar and setdancing to the mix. The Capers loved it and we learned their Square sets. If you’d like a list of CD’s with Cape Breton music, email me and I’ll send you a full list.

Re: Cape Breton Fiddle music

If you buy this CD, you can sample most of the important C.B. fiddlers: http://www.amazon.com/Heart-Cape-Breton-Various-Artists/dp/B00005Y1U0
This is a seriously good compilation of live recordings, and it comes with very detailed sleeve notes including a very informative and readable essay on C.B. fiddle music and the musicians’ bio.

Re: Cape Breton Fiddle music

The band "Leahy" puts on a good show if you get a chance to see them. The main fiddler, Donnel, is Natalie McMaster’s husband. The band is comprised of all brothers and sister and are extremely talented.

I’d add them to Cathryn’s list above.

Re: Cape Breton Fiddle music

THanks guys,

ordered the cd’s mentioned…….waiting patiently

Great music!

Shylock

Re: Cape Breton Fiddle music

The Cottars are also an amazing young group from the Cape Breton area. They toured with the Chieftains last year.

Re: Cape Breton Fiddle music

One thing you used to see in the older generation of Cape Breton fiddlers was a different way of holding the fiddle. The fiddle was held vertically rather than horizonally, with the \fiddle’s face pointing forward rather than upward, the side of the fiddle resting on the shoulder. The player’s wrist is bent (sort of like old Appalachian fiddlers). The bow, being vertical, must be pressed into the strings giving a distinct powerful or scratchy (depending on your point of view) tone. Cape Breton fiddlers use a number of "classical" techniques including vibrato and shifting to higher positions (in spite of the bent wrist). The bulk of the older repertoire is Highland Scottish. Many of the oldest tunes are played in AEAE tuning.

Re: Cape Breton Fiddle music

Was that four, or five, references to Cape Breton Live.com? Never mind, the point is made.
crazy_fingerz: ("Foot Tapping")
please note the lower body activity in the examples which No Cause For Alarm has linked above.

Re: Cape Breton Fiddle music

And also the way left-handed Kinnon Beaton is holding his fiddle. Is this the style you are talking about Richard?

Re: Cape Breton Fiddle music

Yes that is it exactly. You used to see that all the time. In fact, the famous Reyburn painting of Gow (the great 18th century Scottish fiddler) shows him using that position, so the Cape Breton thing was a survival of what once was a Highland thing.
Listening to the current crop of Cape Breton fiddlers will give a somewhat distorted impression of the tradition, because of the current fad of playing Irish tunes. The older repertoire was almost entirely Highland.
Note the foot-stomping that a lot of Cape Breton fiddlers, and pipers, do (the pipers often play seated so as to stomp).

Re: Cape Breton Fiddle music

I have a friend from Cape Breton, Tiber, who does the piping sitting down to stomp his feet. Not seen him in a while but he was over here for a thesis he is doing on the subject, tracking the tradition back to Lewis.

This is all I could find of Cape Breton piping:

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=qyXuslYYvlo

Re: Cape Breton Fiddle music

Sorry, I mean Uist

Re: Cape Breton Fiddle music

A few years ago, the Smithsonian Folkways put out an excellent, well annotated CD of Cape Breton music. I think it was called The Heart of Cape Breton: Along the Ceildhe Trail. An excellent introduction to some of the current masters of the style—dance music from the word go. They don’t just tap their feet to the music, they stomp! Great stuff, and if you like piano with your fiddles, they have that mastered!

Re: Cape Breton Fiddle music

If you don’t mind yet another recommendation, I’ll pass along this one:
http://bostonkiltics.com

The Web site includes links to video clips and their Myspace page.

I’ve been curious about one facet of Cape Breton music: More than a few fiddlers seem to opt for both piano and guitar accompaniment. Is this a fairly recent trend, or does it go back pretty far in the tradition (well, relatively far anyway, considering the guitar is more or less a 20th-century addition to trad music)?

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Re: Cape Breton Fiddle music

While Donnel Leahy is married to Natalie MacMaster, he and the brood are from around Lakefield Ontario, I believe. They play more Ottawa Valley style.