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Re: PEI Sinclair musicians?

Rory Sinclair wrote:
> What a great bloomin email!   Jennifer Roland was the featured performer at
> the Ceilidh in Guysborough last summer.  Why do Cape Breton fiddlers dance
> and play at the same time???  It blows me away because they seem equally
> outstanding at both.
> Your aye Rory
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Rob Cohn <rob@eteast.com>
> To: sinclair@mids.org <sinclair@mids.org>
> Date: Saturday, July 31, 1999 4:02 PM
> Subject: Re: PEI Sinclair musicians?
> >Kay Wilson wrote:
> >>
> >> I'm interested to learn that there were Sinclairs on Prince Edward
> Island --
> >> by any chance were any of them fiddlers or other musicians? (How about
> >> Sinclairs in general -- does this family have a musical tradition?)
> >>
> >> I didn't know until recently that PEI is a treasure trove of celtic music
> >> (along with Cape Breton). Here are excerpts from Ken Perlman's tune book
> >> "The Fiddle Music of Prince Edward Island: Celtic and Acadian Tunes in
> >> Living Tradition" (Mel Bay, 1996):
> >>
> >> -- PEI is home to about 130,000 people -- almost all of whom are of
> >> Scottish, Irish or Acadian French origin...Kings County is most Scottish
> in
> >> terms of ethnicity and culture...
> >> -- PEI is also home to one of the oldest, strongest, and most vibrant
> >> traditional fiddling cultures in North America...this small island
> (roughly
> >> 150 miles long by 40 miles at its widest) still hosts at least two to
> three
> >> hundred fiddle players of a quality sufficient to warrant being
> commercially
> >> recorded. Moreover, there are easily another two or three thousand
> Islanders
> >> who can play the instrument well enough to accompany a dance. This is
> fully
> >> two percent of the population! Despite this wealth of talent, the
> fiddling
> >> scene on PEI is virtually unknown to outsiders.
> >> -- Island fiddling is a lively blend of Scottish, Irish and
> Acadian-French
> >> elements. Local tradition has it that the first boat-loads of Scottish
> >> immigrants landing at Tracadie Bay on the northeast shore of Queens Co.
> in
> >> the late eighteenth century had fiddlers among them, and some families
> can
> >> trace their musical pedigrees back to that time.
> >> -- The Island fiddle repertoire these days is a hodge-podge of tunes from
> a
> >> variety of national and regional traditions. Its core is Scottish and--to
> a
> >> lesser extent -- Irish...
> >> -- The playing of a "good fiddler" is said to convey a rhythm so
> infectious
> >> that anyone within listening range will want to get up and dance. Island
> >> fiddlers tend to have a full, strong yet sweet tone.
> >>
> >> Well, there's more, but I think you get the idea that this music is very
> >> special. I had the opportunity this summer to participate in a band lab
> >> working on PEI tunes. We learned 3 jigs and 3 reels, and they are truly
> >> wonderful tunes.
> >>
> >> If you read music, Perlman's tune book is a must-have. If you'd like to
> hear
> >> this music, Perlman recorded a number of the PEI fiddlers for Rounder
> >> Records. There are two CDs in "The Prince Edward Island Style of
> Fiddling"
> >> set:
> >> -- Fiddlers of Eastern Prince Edward Island (Rounder CD 7015, 1997)
> >> -- Fiddlers of Western Prince Edward Island (Rounder CD # unknown)
> >> Rounder has a website: www.rounder.com I think.
> >>
> >> BTW, my only interest in this music is in sharing it -- I have no
> commercial
> >> interest in it. I'd love to find out that our Sinclair family was part of
> >> this musical tradition.
> >>
> >> ----- Original Message -----
> >> From: T Sinclair <TSinclair@webtv.net>
> >> To: <sinclair@mids.org>
> >> Sent: Monday, July 26, 1999 7:18 PM
> >> Subject: Re: Sinclairs of Michigan
> >>
> >> > Hi
> >> >
> >> > Where is Prince Edward Island located?
> >> >
> >> > [ This is the Sinclair family discussion list, sinclair@mids.org
> >> > [ To get off or on the list, see http://www.mids.org/sinclair/list.html
> >> >
> >>
> >> [ This is the Sinclair family discussion list, sinclair@mids.org
> >> [ To get off or on the list, see http://www.mids.org/sinclair/list.html
> >
> >
> >well, to the best of my knowlege there are no outstanding Sinclairs
> >among PEI musicians but in the coming week I will check my records
> >thoroughly...the current best known PEI fiddler would have to be 20-year
> >old Richard Wood who, along side his 5-year successful solo career,
> >toured the U.S. with Shania Twain and her navel last year...the Island's
> >best known musical product would be Canada's legendary Stompin' Tom
> >Connors, although songwriter Gene MacLellan made his home there for many
> >years - he wrote Snowbird for Anne Murray and (Put Your) Hand in The
> >Hand that went #1 for a band called Ocean in 1970...currently Lennie
> >Gallant carries the torch and many, many artists make their homes
> >there...but 300 recordable fiddlers - I doubt that...what a noise...you
> >should hear their bagpipers (no offense, Rory)...they have a College of
> >Bagpiping in Summerside, PEI...
> >
> > Unfortunately - PEI is best known for being the home of Anne of Green
> >Gables...
> >
> > But the question is interesting - does anyone know of Sinclairs who
> >have excelled at the arts over the centuries...?...Were we not
> >discussing footballers earlier...?
> >
> > If you care further about Scotch, Irish or Cape Breton style fiddle
> >music I recommend: Ashley MacIsaac, Natalie MacMaster, The Rankin
> >Family, Howie MacDonald, Gerry Holland, Buddy MacMaster, or the
> >harder-to-find work of Dan R. MacDonald - the acknowleged
> >master...apparently his recordings are more readily available in
> >Scotland than in his native Cape Breton...or there's Mabou Fiddler
> >Rodney MacDonald who was just this week elected to our Provincial
> >Legislature after a great dance set at the Antigonish Highland
> >Games...he's actually being touted as our next Minister of Tourism...
> >
> > Things have come a long way since Father Kenneth MacDonald ordered all
> >of the fiddles of Mabou (Cape Breton) Parish burned in 1850-ish as "the
> >instrument of the devil"...
> >
> > There is a wise man in Mull, near Mabou, by the name of Jim St. Clair
> >who runs the Gaelic Village at Iona, Cape Breton (not to be confused
> >with the Gaelic College at St. Ann)...he is one of the nation's great
> >historians - although he does remain an official Henry-in-Nova-Scotia
> >sceptic - and this despite a close line of descent...he is best
> >appreciated as a storyteller - one who spins his webs in both Gaelic and
> >English...his voice is deep, sonorous, and spell-binding...he is
> >definitely a St. Clair...
> >
> > I first met Jim at the wedding of Raylene Rankin who turned out to be a
> >close relative of his (and no - not everyone in Cape Breton is
> >related)...you should hear this girl sing...I had arranged for her and
> >her 5-sibling band (The Rankin Family) to travel to Glasgow in 1991 to
> >record for John Smith at BBC Gaelic TV (don't ask me to say it in
> >Gaelic)...while there we also played a showcase at Glasgow University
> >Hall...the next day the quote-of-the-day on the front page of one of the
> >Glasgow dailies (the Herald?) was "sadly, they don't make families like
> >this in Scotland anymore"...the gist of the story was that for two
> >centuries the Scots Gaelic culture has been better preserved in isolated
> >New Scotland than it was in Scotland...The style of fiddle playing, the
> >gaelic songs, the step dancing was found to be more authentic...this has
> >started a flood of Cape Bretoners going to Scotland to teach...
> >
> > just a curiosity if anyone cares...
> >
> > The music mix in PEI has much more Acadian than anywhere else... so
> >there is less Scottish content...if that's your interest...there is a
> >festival in Cape Breton each October - Celtic Colours which features the
> >best Celtic Music from around the World - although you can find fiddle
> >music practically any night of the week somewhere in Cape Breton...and
> >you can't move in summer without stepping on a bagpiper...
> >
> > if you wish...
> >
> > with apologies for the lengthy digression - I had to get away from our
> >15th day of 90 F heat this summer - Nova Scotia has turned
> >tropical...some of you guys get long-winded yourselves - but usually on
> >more relevant topics...
> >
> > Mark Finnan's book The Sinclair Saga was launched last Sunday at the
> >Ward Room of Stadacona in Halifax...There's not ton of new information
> >but it's the best overview book yet if you haven't read the fifty
> >others...There is also up-to-date (but not a lot of) information on the
> >archeological exploration of the alleged Henry site at New Ross, Nova
> >Scotia...The book is the basis for the two hour-long documentaries that
> >Bob Hutt will have to finish in August that air on Vision and
> >Discovery...
> >
> > There was a reading from a new Henry Play by Kent Stetson at Festival
> >Antigonish this past Wednesday...and two weekends ago Delayne Coleman
> >put together a small gathering at the site of the Prince Henry Society
> >Monument on the road between Guysborough and Canso...N.S. Clan
> >celebrations were put off till next year after president Barbara
> >Sinclair went down with a heart attack...she was up and mostly well at
> >the Finnan launch...also, Scott Sinclair - known to you as the designer
> >of the Henry Memorial in Guysborough, N.S., recently went in for eye
> >surgery and hasn't been able to see properly since...he also attended
> >the launch - but barely...
> >
> > I have been giving out the books like crazy - I was racing old wooden
> >schooners around Mahone Bay (yes in sight of Oak Island) last week and
> >all of these nautical types from around the world were more than
> >curious...but I missed the launch beacuse I have to spend at least each
> >Sunday this summer in Cape Breton...it's been relatively easy to find
> >excuses to stay longer...
> >
> > I have a concert tomorrow evening in Port Hawkesbury, Cape Breton with
> >19-year old Cape Breton fiddler Jennifer Roland and Gaelic singer Rita
> >Rankin - about 5000 will show up for the free outdoor concert...we had
> >6500 for Natalie MacMaster in the rain last weekend...
> >
> > I'll be looking for Sinclairs...
> >
> > rob@eteast.com
> >[ This is the Sinclair family discussion list, sinclair@mids.org
> >[ To get off or on the list, see http://www.mids.org/sinclair/list.html
> >
> [ This is the Sinclair family discussion list, sinclair@mids.org
> [ To get off or on the list, see http://www.mids.org/sinclair/list.html

ok I spent about and hour and 2000 words trying to answer your
note...was about halfway through and then I killed it...

I give up ...

why do cape breton fiddlers dance and play at the same time...

will send a copy of Finnan's Sinclair Saga for best punchline...


jeez - I hope this ok, John...?
[ This is the Sinclair family discussion list, sinclair@mids.org
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