A Trip to New England

Jun 11, 2018

Hi, I’m Mitch Reed and my vlog this week is on the connection with the Acadian and the New England fiddle styles with Cajun and Creole music down here. I just recently took a trip up to Maine and hung out with some great fiddlers up there and also went to this amazing organization called Fiddle-icious that was a lot of fun and got invited to play at the main fiddle camp. So I’m really excited and just wanted to talk a little bit about some of the tunes that I learned up there. I learned a few New England tunes and had some fun with taking a New England tune and playing it as a medley with an old Dennis McGee tune and how well the two of those tunes go together. So I’ll play that. So it’s a tune that I learned called “Blue Bird” and it’s a New England fiddle tune. And just for those of y’all who don’t know, the New England fiddle style is a combination of Old English, Irish, Scottish tunes and a little bit of Quebecois influence there, Acadian influence, maybe even some New Brunswick influence. And but just old fiddle music that was there at the time when the colonies were being formed and what early Americans were playing and dancing to. So this one is called “Blue Bird” and then I’m going to go into a McGee tune. So it goes like this. [01:35]

Alright. So that’s a lot of fun. So that was a “Blue Bird” and then I went into “One-Step de McGee”. Just, it’s interesting how that old Dennis stuff, always trying to find more about where maybe that stuff came from. If it was from Appalachia or if it was from Ireland because he was a McGee or if it was from New England. So I kind of found a connection with some of the tunes in New England to some of the tunes that are actually played down here. There was another tune that Cheese Read played that he just called “The Empty Bottle Stomp”. But I also found that there was a tune up in New England that’s very, very close. So just some things like that. Of course, it’s called, you know, a different title. But this was a tune that always felt like it was connected to Acadia.

And it was these two brothers who were actually turtle… They would catch turtles. They were turtle fishermen, I guess is what you would call that. And I wouldn’t say turtle farmers, but they were turtle fishermen in Cameron Parish and they played the fiddle. And Mike Doucet learned this tune from them. And they just called it “The Acadian Waltz”. And so, you know, I definitely feel like this style comes from maybe, you know, the area of New Brunswick or Nova Scotia or New England. So it goes like this, a beautiful tune. [05:32]

Yeah! So thanks to Michael Doucet for recording this tune and passing it on. I learned it from him. Just an old style that was around down, we’re talking to the Gulf coast of Louisiana. So two turtle fishermen played that tune. Allemond was their last name. They said it was an Acadian style tune or Acadian fiddle tune that they had learned that had been passed down in their family. So a definite connection with Louisiana and New England, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, and all that area. So I went up there for a trip and learned a lot. I got really inspired, hung out with great fiddlers, one fiddler, Pam Weeks, a fantastic Cajun Fiddler, and a New England Fiddler. And she brought me to Fiddle-icious, had a great time, loved the area and I think I want to move there so I might be moving there. So look out. And would love to definitely study more about Acadian fiddling and New England fiddling. Cause there is a definite connection with the old fiddle tunes down here. So a lot of fun.

So I’ll leave it with a fiddle tune from Cheese Read, one of my cousins from Mamou and this was another one that may possibly be from that area. And he just called it the “Empty Bottle Stomp”. It goes like this. [09:28]

Alright. Thank you so much for joining me today! I’m saying hello to Pam Weeks, all my good friends up there who inspired me so much to find an interest in New England fiddle style and a connection with Acadia and Louisiana and the Cajun music and the Creole music of Southwest Louisiana. So stay inspired. Keep on fiddling and hope to see you out there soon. Thanks so much.

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