H:Composed by Otis Tomas
N:Recording by Touchstone, The New Land (Green Linnet SIF1040)
N:Transcribed by Bruce Thomson
As well as creating such beautiful melodies, Otis Tomas also crafts very fine musical instruments in Cape Breton.
Otis Thomas ~ further on ~
"Imagining the Real: Theorizing Cultural Production and Social Difference in the Cape Breton Back-to-the-Land Community"
by Amish C. Morrell, 1999
A thesis submitted - University of Toronto,
National Library of Canada, Ottowa
These interviews were published by "Cape Breton’s Magazine", Ron Caplan editor, Wreck Cove…
Otis Thomas ~ continues to live in Cape Breton and builds musical instruments using locally grown wood. ~
"Of the 1960’s ~ a lot of us were sort of rejecting that type of society that just sort of provides you with everything. That was part of my challenge to that, to see tha I could be myself and have nothing, and still have strength that I could survive…"
Thomas traveled around North America, working, playing music, and briefly being part of different communal living arrangements. Thomas eventually came to Cape Breton where he and his family lived in a tipi, surviving on minimal financial resources. In talking about a song that he wrote when they were just starting out in Cape Breton, a waltz called "The New Land", he describes what it was like then.
"I wrote it…September…We were in the teepee again, we sere just kind og getting settled there. I an remember the afttertnoon, a nice kind of sunny, Fall sort of day, just playing the fiddle. Just the whole idea of the new land…in a new country, a new land. And we had our own land, our little piece of property we were starting at. It was just kind of a sense of leaving behind all the things…and all the things that were opening up at the same time. Just that whole, that kind of sense, I think, is sort of what’s in that tune."
“Bill Nicholson’s 67th” ~ a jig by Otis Tomas
Key signature: G Major
Submitted on February 2nd 2007 by Dow.
“Emily’s Reel” ~ Otis Tomas
Key signature: D Major
Submitted on June 15th 2002 by gian marco.
"Fiddle Tree: Stringed Instruments by Otis A. Tomas"
This is more close to the recording by Touchstone I have (from a collection CD called "Celtic Women in Music and Song"). This sounds good on mandolin, but when playing on fiddle or whistle, I’d tie the first note to second one, in each bar if they are the same. (like in bar 3).
T: New Land, The
C: Otis Tomas
|: F3 E FG | A c2c cd | c2 cA G2 | F2 FG AF | B2 BA GA | Bd2 d df | d2 dB G2 | G2 GA (3BAG |
A3 F AF | Ac2 c fg | (3aaa ag f2 | d2 de fg | (3aaa ag f2 | ge3 c2 | Ad d2 c2 |[1 d2 dc AG :|[2 d2 de fg ||
|: (3aaa ag ab | a2 g2 f2 | B2 BA Bc | B2 c2 d2 | g2 gf ga | g2 f2 e2 | A2 AG AB | A2B2c2|
f2 fe fg | f2e2d2 | G2 GF GA | G2 F2 D2 | cA3F2 | GE3C2 | A,D D2 C2 | D6 :|
“The New Land” ~ rescued duplication
Key signature: b minor
(previous transcriptions here, above, are d minor, not the relative key of F Major)
Submitted on October 25th 2008 by the wounded hussar.
T: New Land, The
|: FE |\
D2- DC DE | FA- A2 B2 | A2- AF E2 | D2- DG FE |
G2- GF EF | GB- B2 d2 | B2- BG F2 | E2- EG FE |
F2- FD FD | FA- A2 de | f2- fe d2 | B4 de |
f2- fe df | ec- c2 c2 | B2- BA Bc | B4 :|
|: de |\
f2- fe fg | f2 e2 d2 | G2- GF GA | G2 A2 B2 |
e2- ed ef | e2 d2 c2 | F2- FE FG | F2 G2 A2 |
d2- dc de | d2 c2 B2 | E2- ED EF | E2 D2 B,2 |
AF- F2 D2 | EC- C2 C2 | B,2- B,A, B,C | B,4 :|
Jackie Daly played this tune at the Box concert during this years Willie Week. My daughter says ‘Dad, I love that - you learn it from the tape and then show it to me but after that you forget it ‘cos I don’t want you playing it’ (she’s 14).
So I learns it and it’s a lovely tune but she hasn’t lived up to her side of the bargain yet - we live in hope!! With the result that I haven’t forgotten it yet and here it is: Nope, the tape was missing the intro., so I don’t have a name but sure maybe someone here can fill me in. I suppose I could ask Kilfarboy - he might have access to a tape? I’m guessing it’s more Bminor than D major.
# Posted on October 25th 2008 by the wounded hussar
Well, you beat me to it ceol - probably more useful in Jackie’s key to most people.
I might add that it’s easy enough to play in Bmin as above on D whistle or flute. Just play D instead of C in first bar and lift the other notes below D up the octave and it’s grand - on second part, use same ending as first.
You can also play BA |G2-GF GA etc. and then it goes up to high B but I prefer the lower key.
The New Land on YouTube
You can see this tune played by myself on cittern with my friend Farid on Concertina :
The Touchstone version is much better than the accordion ones, in my opinion, at least. This is the title song to their album, which is all wonderful. Find it if you can! I have heard the Westphalia Waltz a million times at old time shows, but never heard this. Play it, someone! Mr. Tomas should be famous!