Erskine Morris (1913 – 1997)

Erskine Morris (1913 – 1997)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Another Tune Title

I recently discovered another tune title while listening to and playing with a great Quebecois and Cape Breton style fiddle player this weekend in the Eastern Townships. I was in the other room and he launched into this really great tune that I heard faintly. Getting closer to the living room I had a bit of a Eureka moment where I said to myself, "Erskine played that tune!"

So, the untitled G tune from June 20, 2010 is in fact a fairly widely known tune called, the Reel des Eskimos or Reel des Esquimaux whichever spelling you prefer. Isidore Soucy recorded a nice version which I've actually heard many times and knew I recognized it from somewhere else. However, surprise surprise, Soucy's version is very crooked with respect to the timing (extra/missing beats in the phrases of the tune). This may explain why I hadn't made the connection earlier. Nonetheless, Soucy's playing is captivating as always.

Here's the link to the Soucy Recording

Here's a youtube video with an American fiddler playing this tune in the same setting as I heard this weekend.

Compare with Erskine's setting

While the Soucy and the other setting are excellent and demonstrate a very fine reel, I prefer the extra rhythmic vocabulary Erskine achieved by doubling up on notes, using drones, and adding little pauses between the phrases in the low strain.

Although its always great to have a proper title for these tune, I must confess I'm still a little partial to the Erskine's Ramble title because it is more politically sensitive and I feel captures the mood of the tune with its rambling feeling in the low strain.

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