Today’s post is an excellent example of how a simple, “hey, did you see the movie about fiddles on Land and Sea?” can lead to hours of interesting web browsing and new treasures for the Free Music Sources page.

Cape Breton fiddling is a regional style of fiddling that falls within the Celtic music idiom. Natalie MacMaster, Dougie MacDonald, and Jerry Holland are just a few notable Cape Breton style fiddlers. This post is not about the Cape Breton genre, though, so let’s get back to the original subject, shall we?*

Cape Breton Fiddles is a short movie on CBC’s Land and Sea, a Canadian TV channel –

For more than thirty years Land and Sea has brought you stories from people who live off the land and the sea. We cover issues that affect people in rural communities which ultimately affect those in cities as well.
We bring you stories from those who celebrate life living close to nature, who promote and protect their culture and traditional ways of doing things. There are stories of success and sometime failures that portray the unique way Atlantic Canadians deal with the challenges and pleasures of living on the east coast.

The episode linked above features Otis Thomas, a luthier and long-time resident of Cape Breton. 17 years ago Otis cut down a sugar maple tree on the hill across the road from his house. That tree became known as the Fiddletree and is the subject of his book of the same name. Of that great tree Otis says:

I debated within myself well over a year before bringing myself to claim this majestic giant. I knew that with its richly figured grain, fiddles and ‘cellos could sing with the unique character of these woods I knew so well. I only hoped that I could do justice to the immensity of the act of cutting it down; that somehow the voice that it would gain in our company would balance the loss to the community on the hillside across the road.

A CD with 70 minutes of original music composed by Otis accompanies the book. If you’re not interested in waiting on the post, there’s an  instant download option.

Also featured in the film is Paul Cranford, fiddle player and collector of fiddle tunes. His website, Cranford Publications, is a wealth of information about the fiddlers and tunes of Cape Breton.

As if that weren’t enough, David Papazian, fiddler and luthier, is also featured.

Cape Breton Fiddles is well worth watching – music, fiddles, interesting people and lovely scenery. Grab a cuppa and prepare to be entertained!

* Once one begins to explore the specific genres, artists and music associated with them, it becomes almost impossible to stop – the internet has made so much information available and I want it all! Or is that just me?

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