Erskine Morris (1913 – 1997)

Erskine Morris (1913 – 1997)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

From Laura Risk

First, let me say how honored I am to be asked to contribute to this blog. I have been reading Glenn and Brian’s posts since spring 2010 and I have great respect for all the time and energy they’ve put into this wonderful project. Not to mention their deep knowledge of - and passion for - Gaspesian music!

Luc Chaput generously invited me to perform at both the 2010 and 2011 Douglastown Irish Weeks, and on both occasions I was really struck by the community’s love for fiddle music. I’ve played at lots of festivals but it’s not often that I have the feeling I had in Douglastown: that people are following every note and bowstroke. It’s the way fiddlers and dancers listen. And in fact, it wasn’t long before I realized that I was in a place where, until recently, that’s what entertainment meant: fiddling and dancing. No wonder I felt right at home!

I thought I’d start my contributions to this blog by posting a few video clips from a fantastic evening at the home of Phyllis Morris. This is the party that Glenn described in his Sept 2 post, so I won’t repeat all the details. I should say, though, that I hadn’t met Phyllis before this evening and I was really touched that she would welcome me so warmly into her home for this family party. We only had three fiddles between Glenn, myself, Joseph and Anthony Drody, and later Cecil Leggo, but that didn’t stop us from having a great party! We passed the fiddles around and with Brigid and Brian’s driving guitars and, at some moments, a whole row of foot tappers, the tunes seemed about ready to lift us out of our seats.

A huge thanks to Laura Holland, Phyllis’ daughter-in-law, who kindly offered to film the evening on my videocamera.

In this first clip of us playing “Joe Drody’s Jig”, you see Glenn passing his fiddle to Joseph Drody and then a nice close-up of Joseph and Anthony playing together. If you’re a fiddle player, you’ll probably notice that Joseph and Anthony are using slightly different bowing patterns, but both have a really driving rhythm to their playing.

Here’s a nice clip of Joseph playing “Peekaboo Waltz” – on my violin!

I thought I’d also include this clip of Glenn, Brigid and Brian playing “Tommy Rooney’s Jig”. Glenn has learned so many of the old tunes and really studied the old style – it’s fun to see him going full steam here!

One of the evening’s great surprises was getting to hear a few tunes from Cecil Leggo. I love the lift and swing that he puts into this version of “The Road to the Isles”:

That’s all for now. In the works: a post about Ernest Drody’s version of Eva’s tune. For the moment I’ll just say that if you’ve already learned the version that I played at Phyllis’ party (posted by Glenn on Sept 2), you will have a few bits to relearn...

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