Canadian fiddling has many branches, but three main roots: Scotland, Ireland and France. Across Canada these traditions have been mixed in different ways, and spiced up with contributions from native and Métis peoples, English, Ukrainians and Americans, to give an incredibly rich and varied tapestry of fiddling.
During the fur trade, European fur traders played a variety of instruments, such as the guitar and the accordion, but most importantly the fiddle. The fiddle became the basis of a distinctive style used during the Western fur trade years.
Fiddle playing, or fiddling, refers to various styles of music. Fiddle is also a common term among musicians who play folk music on the violin. The fiddle is part of many traditional styles of music which are taught “by ear” rather than via written music.
The fiddle is known to so many Canadians because the impressive regional styles that include: Cape Breton fiddling which falls within the Celtic strongly influenced by the Scots-Gaelic language; Down East fiddling originating in the Maritimes, after the arrival of the first British settlers in the eighteenth century; Mi’kmaq fiddling began as Mi’kmaq peoples took to the fiddle when the first settlers arrived, picking up repertoire from the Scottish, French and Irish traditions; the Quebec fiddle which is a part of the Old time fiddle; Western Canada is home to Métis fiddling. It is marked by percussive use of the bow and percussive accompaniment such as spoon percussion. Fiddles were introduced in this area by Scottish and French-Canadian fur traders in the early 1800s.
On Friday, June 16, from 6–9 pm, come on down to Fort Whoop-Up for musical entertainment while enjoying a smokie in the Fort compound. The evening offers tasting from over 20 varieties of whisky and rum. The fire pit will be burning and tours of the Fort will be available. Tickets are $25/person (+GST) and are on sale now at the Galt Museum Store, Fort Whoop-Up store and online. Must be over the age of 18.