Let’s begin our trek of Canadian Fiddle Music in the distant East. Eastern Canada, to be exact! Back in the 90’s, Ashley MacIsaac effortlessly put fiddle music “on the front lines” to the people who would not usually listen to this style of music. Before we could say, “Lord Tunderin’,” music schools were booking in fiddle pupils by the hundreds and when Natalie MacMaster came onto the scene soon after, the chicks had to play fiddle too!
Fiddle music was suddenly happening!
The catchy tunes, the intricate “whistlys”, that we now know as ornaments, made us crave more and more. After hearing the catchy sounds of Sleepy Maggie on Ashley’s “Hi How Are You Today” record over and over, we all began digging a little further into fiddling. We found Natalie, her uncle Buddy MacMaster, Jerry Holland, Brenda Stubbert, to name a few. Turns out, this type of fiddling, that we came to know as “Celtic Fiddling,” had been around for a long time, and has its roots anchored across the water in Scotland. THAT’S why a lot of the melodies are played on the Scottish pipes!
Cape Breton became a household word regarding Canadian fiddling and we all thought that it was the latest craze! “Sleepy Maggie,” not to be mixed up with “Drowsy Maggie,” was a huge hit on the Canadian music charts. Suddenly fiddle music was being heard on TV and in videos! And the song, paired with the thumping bass and drums, and finished off with the angelic Gaelic voicings of Mary Jane Lamond, was pretty much an addiction. Canadians wanted to hear “more fiddle,” and this song, all by itself, put fiddle music into many homes. Imagine….a hairy looking dude in a kilt, Doc Martens, and yellow shades, plodding about and looking like he was in another world, playing fiddle music. The pioneers were shocked. The rest of the Nation amazed. At long last, fiddle music wasn’t only for old senior citizens and junior high band members suddenly stopped pleading for their moms and dads to drive them to school on orchestra days. After all, they were fiddlers, and yep, Canadian Fiddle Music is cool.
Thanks for reading my first article on Canadian Fiddle Music!
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