Midland Folk Festival 2011 Newfoundland Tunes Workshops

Update: I’ve replaced my original whistle recordings of the first three tunes with recordings of Daniel Payne and Rufus Guinchard himself! I’ve also fixed a couple of typos in the PDF for the waltzes.

Newfoundland Tunes Workshop:
Sheet music (PDF)

Kevin Broderick’s: From Bay de Verde, Kevin Broderick (b. 1923) seems to have mostly played Irish tunes, but when Kelly Russell asked him to play some “local” tunes, this single is one he said “used to be played for dances years ago.” I got my version of it from the playing of Daniel Payne on his terrific album Chain (Celtic Connections 2008 Album of the Year), and with Daniel’s kind permission, here is his version of Kevin Broderick’s.

Father’s Jig: From Daniel’s Harbour, Rufus Guinchard (1899-1990) is one of the giants of Newfoundland fiddle. This was the second tune he learned on fiddle, and is a typical double in style. I learned it from Christina Smith, who recorded it
on the album August Gale (with guitar maestro Jean Hewson). This great documentary on Rufus starts with a slow version of this tune on piano, and then at 2:30 you can hear Rufus play the tune at tempo.

Pamela’s Lonely Nights: From the French-speaking community of Black Duck Brook, Emile Benoit (1913-1992) is the other giant of Newfoundland fiddle. He also composed many wonderful tunes, of which this is one. This reel was dedicated to Pamela Morgan of the band Figgy Duff. There is a bit of confusion over the name (variously “Pamela’s Lonely Nights”, “Pamela’s Lonely Night”, and “Pamela’s Desire”), the order of the parts, and how many times to repeat the parts (if my version is AAABB, then I’ve also seen BBBBAAAA and even BBBBA (surely a mistake!)). I learned it from Gerry Strong; here’s The Cow Head Cowboys (Daniel Payne and friends) take on it from the album The Hare.

Bride’s Jig: I got this one from Christina Smith, and it comes originally from the playing of Frank Maher, an accordion player from St. John’s. It’s the second tune in this set (which also includes one of the tunes we taught last year!) from Frank’s album Mahervelous!. Despite the name, it’s a single, not a jig. Here’s a youtube version with Christina leading a bunch of young fiddlers… though they play it up a fifth from my notation!

Newfoundland Waltzes Workshop:
Sheet music (PDF)

Waltz in the House: Another Emile Benoit composition, this haunting waltz has been recorded a number of times, including by Emile himself (on Vive La Rose
) and Christina Smith & Jean Hewson (on Like Ducks! or the track itself is available as an MP3). Here’s a nice recording of Waltz in the House on Youtube; my notated version is sort of halfway between his and Christina Smith’s.

Velvet in the Wind: Another Emile Benoit waltz, also known as “Le Velour Dans Le Vent”. I learned it from Gerry Strong, and here’s his recording (accordion played by Daniel Payne) from his album Velvet in the Wind.

The Self: I learned this nice waltz from the playing of Gerry Strong. Well, sort of — the tune is a waltz version of an old jig I learned when I first started playing Irish music, Trip to the Cottage. Both the waltz and the jig appear in the final set on Gerry’s album Velvet in the Wind.

Newfoundland Musical Resources:
Kelly Russell’s Collections (sheet music; volume one is Rufus Guinchard and Emile Benoit, volume two is “everyone else”)
Christina Smith’s “The Easiest Dance Tunes from Newfoundland and Labrador” is another great tunebook.
Daniel Payne’s Learning the Newfoundland Button Accordion (instructional DVDs, two volumes now)
25 minute Rufus Guinchard documentary
Fred’s Records: Their on-line ordering system is definitely awkward, but they have a very full selection of CDs of traditional Newfoundland music, and they’re quite willing to mail them to the US.
O’Brien’s Music Store: A fantastic music store right in downtown St. John’s. The place to go if your accordion needs repairs! Their web page doesn’t list any tune books at the moment, but we’ve certainly bought some from them in the past, so I’m guessing it’s just an oversight, and they’d be happy to sell you one of those mentioned above if you ask nicely.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s