Traditional Music From Newfoundland

By Graham Wells

  1. The Cribbies
    Sam Sinnick’s Tune
    Ryan’s Fancy Arriving
  2. Set Tune #1
    Leonard Payne’s
    Rufus’ Cordeen Tune
  3. Morrisey And The Russian Sailor (song)
  4. The St. John’s
    The Brule Boys In Paris
  5. The Seagull
    The Hundred Pipers
  6. The Jolly Tinker
    The Old Pigeon On The Gate
    The Musical Priest
  7. The Wreck Of The S.S. Ethie (song)
  8. The Moneymusk
    Julia Clifford’s
    The White Blanket
  9. Battery Single #1
    Boys In The Bunker
    Battery Single #3
  10. As Soon As The War Is O’er (song)
  11. Doubles (Rufus Guinchard Tunes)
  12. Ten Minutes Too Late (song)

Four comments

About this recording…

This is a collection of traditional music from the island of Newfoundland, on Canada’s east-coast. Graham Wells is one of the finest accordion players to ever have been born on this island and this album marks his solo debut and was very tastefully produced by musician Bill Sutton, who also contributes a good deal to the instrumental tapestry of the album.
In addition to Graham and Billy, the album also feature some of the island’s best traditional players, including Duane Andrews (guitar), Paddy Mackey (bodhran), Jason Whelan (bouzouki), Colin Carrigan (fiddle) and Aubrey Gosse (bones).
This album provides a wonderful taste of Newfoundland traditional music, as well as a glimpse into the influences of settlers from England, Ireland and Scotland.

wonderful recording, especially the box playing but the singing is also a treat. If you want to hear how close Newfoundland can be to Ireland, this is a great source, although it also might make you think all of Newfoundland is this Irish. You might get a more balanced perspective from Aindriu’s own playing with the Dardanelles.

I think you are seriously misinformed nfldbox. There is a lot more Irish music on the Dardanelles record than on Graham’s record. There is an Irish song on the Dardanelles record, while there are two traditional Newfoundland songs on Graham’s. They both have sets from Emile Benoit, Rufus Guinchard and sets of singles from where they’re from.

I guess a Romanian horo and Cape Breton style fiddling are your unfortunately warped idea of "more balanced" Newfoundland music

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One of the best recordings of traditional music on the island. However, I own both the Graham Wells and Dardanelles albums and on reading through the liner notes, I found that there are actually more Irish tunes on the Graham Wells album.

The Irish set and the 4-stop set both consist entirely of Irish tunes, Ten minutes too late was composed by Harry Clifton, and the first tune in the hundred pipers set is scottish if I remember correctly. Graham also wrote that he had first heard Morrissey and the Russian sailor in Ireland, and the lyrics of the song are clearly Irish ("Come all ye true born Irish men" etc). The mazurkas were imported tunes as well, if I’m not mistaken.

Also, the Cape Breton fiddle stylings of the Dardanelles album aren’t really much of an issue once you consider that there are many fiddlers on the West coast of the province (Codroy Valley fiddlers spring to mind) who play with Scottish influenced ornamentation that is similar to Cape Breton music. So even if the fiddler actually does play in a Cape Breton style, the music would probably be hard to distinguish from that of an existing regional fiddling style in Newfoundland.

The use of the C#/D boxes in both albums provide more of a contrast with traditional Newfoundland music than the fiddling does. These Irish tuned boxes are recent arrivals to Newfoundland and provide some stylistic options which are unique and would never have been found at a Newfoundland set dance, where accordions would typically have been played straight row. However, the chromatic boxes are necessary to play all of the tunes in Newfoundland’s fiddle repertoire and their growing popularity on the island simply indicates musical evolution and the fact that we have access to more versatile instruments.

What I’m trying to say is that neither record is really typical of Newfoundland music as it would have traditionally been played, but they both seem to be taking the province’s music in a different direction.