Erskine Morris (1913 – 1997)

Erskine Morris (1913 – 1997)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Ottawa Valley Jig

Here's a cute little G tune that Erskine played on the 1985 Cambridge Sessions. We're not sure if this is the original title, but its the one Erskine used. This tune is a lot of fun and isn't too hard so it would be great for beginners.

Its not a jig in the Irish sense of the word (6/8 time). In Canada, we often use the term jig in tune titles to indicate the dance that went along with it. "Jigging" or "Gigue" is an umbrella term for all manners of step-dancing in Canada whether or not the dance is set to a reel or a jig. So there's a good chance at sometime there was a dance called the "Ottawa Valley Jig" that went along with this tune. Any Ottawa Valley folks out there who would know about this?

Hear Erskine Play the Ottawa Valley Jig

We don't know where Erskine picked this tune up, maybe from someone from the Ottawa Valley. Erskine worked in lumber camps for many years and there you would find people from all over Canada and the North Eastern U.S. Fiddlers there were known to trade tunes after a hard days work, so maybe this is where he picked it up. Or maybe he just picked it up at a festival in the Ottawa Valley like the big Pembroke Fiddle and Step Dance festival..

Anyhow, its a simple tune but its got a really cute rhythm to it. Notice the neat way the first part of the tune is syncopated especially on the C chord in Erskine's classic Gaspé fashion. The second part of the tune is very similar to our last post, The Golden Wedding Reel.

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