Well the fiddle came from two countries for us. Anyhow, it came from the Scottish and the French, so it came from France and it came from Scotland and back in the 16-1700’s when the Europeans started coming over here. It was the instrument that they could carry with them because they made cases for them and they were small and easy to carry along so if they were paddling a canoe there was always room for a fiddle on there.
So it was a way of keeping that part of the culture going and like I was saying about that earlier, one of our top Metis fiddle players is receiving an achievement award this year (2003) through the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation and he’s a fourth generation fiddle player and this guy here makes up his own tunes.
A lot of the tunes that he thinks up of actually have to do more with the Native culture than it does with the European. So he writes his own music. He’s made about somewhere about 15 different recordings or 15 tapes, which have at least 10 or 12 of his own original tunes on each one. So he’s a guy that is very talented.
One thing about the fiddle, what we found, was that a lot of the people that come from Scotland or from Ireland or from France would hear our Metis fiddle players. They’d say, “Hey, you know that used to be our music.”
You see, what happened over the years is these people, our people, kept the traditional tunes in its natural form because that’s the way it was taught.
As Europeans developed now, they’ve developed in the arts. They have ballet they have everything else and they have different techniques that come up.
What we learnt and we were taught about, right now is what the Europeans first brought with them so when the Europeans hear our fiddle players they say, “That’s our music,” but their musicians don’t play it that way anymore. They play it to classical and that kind of stuff now. So they lost the music and we are the ones that are carrying it on now.
The following stories are by Lyle Donald.
This digital collection was produced with financial assistance from Canada's Digital Collections Initiative, Industry Canada.