Erskine Morris (1913 – 1997)

Erskine Morris (1913 – 1997)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Second Visit With Cyril Devouge

We've been pretty overloaded with material to post at the Gaspe fiddle project here and this post's material is something I'd been meaning to finish up several months ago. Well, better late than never. We visited Cyril again this past Thanksgiving weekend and learned a bunch of great new stories and jokes and I still hadn't posted anything from the previous visit so it was high time to get this post finished.

Brian, Brigid, and I visited Cyril at his rest home a second time last June for the Jean-Baptiste holiday and we were treated to another wonderful afternoon with the entertaining and intelligent Mr. Devouge.

When we first arrived he surprised us wit two tongue twisters he'd learned back home.

Here is the 3 Skunks

After he got us all twisted up with the 3 Skunks, he pulled out an even more complicated one that he learned from his Granny.

Here is Betty's Bitter Butter

Since the first visit back in May, I'd learned a few tunes from his lilting (that's a term for singing fiddle tunes) and wanted to check if I'd gotten them right. He really helped me out showing me where to add "the little jiggles in it" as he calls them.

The first tune we played for Cyril was one he had lilted for us on our previous visit and he says he learned from his Dad, Leslie Devouge. I've left in the talking where Cyril teaches me the extra jiggle that really does sharpen the tune up.

Here is Leslie Devouge's Tune

We then played a tune all together with Cyril on the harmonica. Cyril is a really excellent harmonica player and can really make joyful music when he gets into a tune. This is a tune he learned from his best fiddling friend growing up, Roland White of Bois-Brûlé just down the road from where Cyril lived.

Hear Roland White's Tune

At the end, Cyril teaches me a little extra note to round the tune out.

Here is Roland White's tune with some pointers

Cyril told us about listening to and learning from his father and other fiddlers from L'Anse à Brillant and Bois-Brûlé. He also talked about Willie White who Cyril says was the best fiddler on the Gaspé coast. He talked about the old-timers "rolling" the tunes, taking out all the sharp corners and says that this is one of the aspects that made these tunes so beautiful.

Hear Cyril talk about the old-time players

Cyril also gave us his secret hunting tip on how to snare a rabbit.

Cyril talked a bit about Hermas Rehel, and excellent fiddler from around Perce, who Cyril knows and really respects.

Here, Cyril tells us this funny story about a neighbour who apparently heard him practicing fiddle one night when he'd left the window open.

Cyril also showed us this really beautiful waltz in in the key of D by lilting the melody to us. He says he learned this tune from his father.

Cyril lilts this nice waltz

Finally, you can listen to a couple of the tunes Brian, Brigid, and I played for Cyril.

Untitled D Tune from Douglastown. Cyril used to play this tune and lilts us his version at the end.

Untitled D Tune from the North Coast of Gaspé

The Shannon Reel


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