French Canadian Reels

French Canadian Reels

Can anyone recommend some popular French Canadian reels to fill out my repertoire? So far I have the Reel de Montreal, Reel du Gaspe, Pays de Haut and La Bastringue.

Cheers!

Al

Re: French Canadian Reels

“La Grand Chaine” - G major - it’s in Aly Bain’s 50 Fiddle Tunes book.

Re: French Canadian Reels

Wonamee buddies been playin Reel de Cap Breton—which may fit the bill? I have not been able to find notation thus far, perhaps bcs my french is too proper-like for da tunes listing?

Du, de la, de, o la la, là bas …

Re: French Canadian Reels

I am especially fond of Hommage à Edmond Parizeau and Reel de Beatrice.

Re: French Canadian Reels

Yeah, Reel Beatrice is nice. In both keys. 🙂

Re: French Canadian Reels

My favorite…the Mouth of the Tobique! Also, although I can’t say with certainty it’s French Canadian, Big John McNeil. It’s a great fiddle tune, plays well on mandolin, harder on banjo, and murder on flute. It’s also fun to play with multiple key changes.

Re: French Canadian Reels

Ben…I’m sure you’re absolutely right. Still, it often shows up paired with French Canadian reel and is all over Quebec and Mati playing. It’s a wonderful tune . Bless the Scots for it!

Re: French Canadian Reels

I suspect, though I have no proof, that “Big John McNeil” is a Canadian expansion of the Peter Milne’s “John MacNeill’s Reel” and is “Big” because each part is 8 bars instead of 4. Great tune.
For French Canadian tunes try stuff played by Pierre Schryer.

Re: French Canadian Reels

That’s pretty much what the Fiddler’s Companion page that I linked to says, Donald. I think it must be. I mean, basically, it’s the same tune, isn’t it?

Re: French Canadian Reels

It is indeed. I’m much more familiar with the big version. The first time I heard the original I thought “Eh? He’s missed oot half the tune.”

Re: French Canadian Reels

Like Tracie says, Saint Anne’s Reel is a tune you hear in Canadian context. I was taught it in a set with The Bastringue. Although I would estimate that the Canadian setting of Saint Anne’s Reel has about 10-20 percent less notes than what you would hear from an Irish session player.
A friend of mine learned fiddle from an old Quebecois gentleman, and one tune he taught him was Golden Slippers, the old spiritual. When my friend suggested that Golden Slippers was not a Canadian tune, the old man replied, “Of course it is, I learned it from my mother!”
And while I am not sure it is Canadian, around here folks often follow Whiskey Before Breakfast with Over the Waterfall.

Re: French Canadian Reels

Pointe Au Pic is a dandy. It’s here in the sessions, but not like it was taught at a fiddle came at the Tobique. I have a copy but cannot post it as it’s in sheet music form and I don’t know how to do that.

Posted by .

Re: French Canadian Reels

The Quebecois session I go to here in the Seattle area is very fond of “André a Toto” and “L’escapade”.

We play “Reel du Pendu” and “Hommage à Edmond Parizeau”, too! And I second “Pointe-au-Pic”. I could also toss in “Reel des Menteries”.

If you want to tackle “André a Toto”, André Brunet of De Temps Antan did this one in a fiddle camp a while back and there’s a video of him going over it, here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsai9DJ6gFQ


André also did a thing called “Reel de la Guimauve” at Camp Violon Trad a couple years ago–one of our session’s fiddle players was there and she came back and shared that tune with us. There’s a vid of André doing this tune here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wige2tdGfQ


(Really, I endorse learning anything recorded by André Brunet. :D He’s an awesome teacher and I had the pleasure of attending a workshop he did last month!)

Re: French Canadian Reels

Here in Vermont, USA there are many French Canadians, and the oldtime repertoire I grew up with includes some classic tunes, including those mentioned above.

I particularly like The Woodchopper’s Reel (in D).

Louis Beaudoin in northern Vermont was a great influence. His family continues his tradition:
2 songs, La Bastrange, plus another song during the credits. (Try to count along with these.)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STb6couTsNE


Louis Boudreault. This fiddle is tuned AEAE:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Erd30rUdEHE


April Verch. Several tunes in youtube videos. Canadian fiddle styles:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qghmlPvct4


Don Messer. Don Messer’s Breakdown and others.

Jean Carignan of course. There are numerous youtube videos of him playing and talking.
Any tune with a French title. This one in Bb:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2Tzfl7Gg6g


He was a child prodigy who remembered every tune even if he heard it only once through.
About 30 years ago, I saw him play a concert with his longtime piano accompanist. They came onstage, bowed, then Jean turned around and leaned onto the grand piano and, altho we could not hear them, it was obvious they were having a very heated argument! He finally returned to the mic and said, “When you know the entire Irish and Scottish repertoire it is difficult to decide what to play!” and they were off at 100 mph! He also knew the entire French Canadian repertoire.

vlnplyr

Re: French Canadian Reels

‘Sheepskins and Beeswax’ in A modal - I think its Scots or Irish in origin but popular n Quebec. La Bottine
Souriante recorded it and Lisa Ornstein [fiddle] and Denis Pepin [accordion] had a great version of it

Re: French Canadian Reels

Thanks for all the extremely helpful and informative contributions!

Re: French Canadian Reels

I prefer the first tune, Lauren.

cdbaby call it: “Experimental and original arrangements of Celtic fiddle music.”
I’d say, admittedly based on this track alone, it’s got a modern Scottish feel, like Blazin Fiddles with drums and a bit of Duncan Chisholm grooviness.

Re: French Canadian Reels

What DonaldK said. Blazin Fiddles, or for that matter Colin Grant/Sprag Session/Cùig.

Re: French Canadian Reels

Yes, Jeff, Sprag Session came to my mind as well, but The Fitzgeralds maybe not quite as funky.

Re: French Canadian Reels

Thanks guys! I wasn’t quite sure what to term their fiddle style. I know they grew up playing old time stuff. They’re just very diverse. Puts me in mind of Leahy, a bit. (Leahy’s style is hard to classify sometimes. It’s not really a cut-and-dry thing).

Re: French Canadian Reels

Listening to Blazin fiddles for the first time. Definitely can see the similarity! They sound more traditional than the Fitzgeralds. The Fitzgeralds have a more modern sounding thing going, plus they write pretty much all their own music.
So Blazin fiddles is Scottish; so this is the difference between Scottish and cape breton fiddle?

Re: French Canadian Reels

Bruce himself stated that he and the original “Blazers” formed the band as an antidote to the more staid (Some might say stale) approach of the Fiddle Society/Box and Fiddle to Scottish music at the time. Of course, that was a bit of a generalisation too.. and there were lively players on these scenes also.

Anyway, aside from that, Blazin’ Fiddles as a band are still very traditional in their own way especially compared to many of the more modern outfits and basically still true to the music. That’s just my opinion, of course, for what it’s worth. However, while the bulk of their repertoire is Scottish, they also play music from elsewhere and a few own compositions too.

Re: French Canadian Reels

The tune I’m referring to in that list is called Greenwood Girls.
Sorry!

Re: French Canadian Reels

Patti Kusturok plays a tonne of them on her tune-a-day series. Here’s a few of my favourites:

Dédicado à Joe (often set with Hommage à Edmond Parizeau):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZf7xhjOaVI


Reel Eugene
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxrWg6B_Iuk


Reel de Montreal (also known as The Sherbrooke Reel, mentioned by the OP)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPvWfEK29Bk


Le 24 Juin
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtDsMlINess


Joys Of Quebec
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzfCUd49E5w


And some less common Quebec tunes:

Hommage à Pigeon
https://thesession.org/tunes/18831

The Pigeon Brothers
https://thesession.org/tunes/17564

The Telephone Tune
https://thesession.org/tunes/17565

Reel St. Michel
https://thesession.org/tunes/17603

Reel De Bergerville
https://thesession.org/tunes/17569

Re: French Canadian Reels

And then there’s Gigue Canadien(ne) from Joseph Allard - woooh!