Rare Cajun and Creole Cross-Tunes

Apr 17, 2018

Hi, I’m Mitch Reed and I’m doing a vlog. My vlog today is on rare tunes, and cross-tuning because I really feel like cross-tuning is something that we’ve lost and I want to try to keep it alive. It makes tunes sound great and, of course, it’s a fiddle thing. The accordion is kind of the dominant thing in Cajun music but all you fiddle players out there, let’s keep this instrument alive in Cajun music. Don’t let those old tunes die.

So I’m going to play an old reel called La Reel de L’anse Bleu. If you’ve never been to L’anse Bleu, it’s not too far from Mamou. Okay, so it goes like this. [00:43]

Alright! La Reel de L’anse Bleu! My fiddle’s cross-tuned but I’m Cajun cross-tuned some D, starting from the high strings, D, G, D, G and I like this tuning. I used to go visit a Creole fiddler Calvin Carriere and Calvin learned fiddle from his uncle Bébé Carriere, and they used to tune this way. Not often, but Bébé knew a lot of old polkas and mazurkas and reels and blues and they would play it this way. I also learned tunes from them so why don’t we play one now? This is definitely something different from the reel and this is just the blues. It’s just called Blues à Bébé. It goes like this. [03:50]

So it’s a lot of fun to play that. What’s cool about it is you can hear the other strings resonating that you’re not even bowing just ’cause they’re all tuned the same so they just start resonating. That’s really cool. If you have a good fiddle it will definitely do that. So yeah, I just wanted to talk about that. I like putting my fiddle in this tuning or if you a second or third fiddle you can put in this tuning. It’s great to play a lot of old-time tunes this way.

A lot of people ask me if Wayne Perry was tuned this way. Dennis was tuned this way a lot. I’m not really sure with the Wayne Perry stuff if he was tuned like this but you definitely could play his tunes. I know Micheal Doucet played Acadian Waltz with the cross-tuning and it sounded really nice so, anyway, I just wanted to talk about that.

I’m going to leave with you with this tune I learned from one of Dennis’ field recordings. It was in a cross-tuning and it’s called the Marcantel Reel and it goes like this. [06:44]

Whoo! Alright! So, a lot of fun! I don’t get to play these tunes that often. I never played these with an accordion tuned this way but it would probably l work. I think Dennis did that with some of Amede’s stuff. I was talking to Michael Doucet about that. One of the tunes I felt like did this style of cross tuning was Quoi Faire? It definitely works well with Quoi Faire? because you can do some nice rocking and get some good chords. Maybe I’ll just end with that one. [08:49]

Thanks so much for joining me today. Stay inspired, keep on fiddling, and if you like this stuff, and you want me to break some of it down for you, I have a website and I do break stuff down at somewhat of a beginner level, beginner to intermediate level, and also from intermediate to more advanced level. Just a huge library of tunes- traditional tunes, some obscure, some standards if you want to check it out. Thanks so much for checking out this vlog. Hope it helped, hope it inspired you. I know I get very inspired from watching YouTube fiddlers out there that are just breaking down tunes or just playing tunes and just talking about the origins or how they learned them, or whatever. That’s very inspiring to me. I hope I can pass that along as well. I hope to see you out there soon. Stay inspired, keep on fiddling! Thank you!

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