Erskine Morris (1913 – 1997)

Erskine Morris (1913 – 1997)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Arty Savidant

Arty at his homestead
(Courtesy of Debbie Sams)
Hello Readers,
I've been away for work the past two weeks and am glad to be back. With the help of Debbie Sams, I have been inspired to put together a little post on a fiddler from York, Arty Savidant.  York is a lovely little village just behind the town of Gaspe on the banks of the York river.  Debbie recently sent me some great pictures of Arty who was her great uncle.  You can click on any of these pictures to get a bigger view.

Arty and calf
(Courtesy of Debbie Sams)
Brigid tells me that the Savidants were originally from Jersey and that many of them settled in the English-speaking villages clustered around the town of Gaspé.

When Brian and I began visiting Cyril Devouge in 2010, one of the fiddlers Cyril mentioned learning tunes from growing was a man that used to play for the dances at Haldimand Hall, Arty Savidant.  Cyril considered Arty to be one of the better fiddlers from Gaspe and remembers sitting in the grass outside Haldimand Hall, listening to Arty play for the dances there..  I've previously posted Cyril playing this tune and a video of Brigid and I playing the tune at Pembroke.
Today: Anglican Church at York
(photo: Glenn Patterson)

Here is Brigid, Brian Neil MacKay, and myself playing this tune for Cyril around Thanksgiving, 2010.

Arty is said to have had an excellent fiddle that was passed to Mary-Ellen Drody who married Calvin Savidant, and then to Debbie Sams who is the current owner. Cyril and Denzil Devouge reckoned that this was the best fiddle they ever tried.

I don't know very much about Arty or other the fiddlers from the villages around Gaspe like York, Wakeham, Haldimand, Sandy Beach, and Point Navarre and am interested in learning more.  If any of the readers remember Arty or other fiddlers from around the town of Gaspe please leave us a comment or send me an email.  I would love to feature any pictures, stories, or recordings of them on the blog.
Arty with a view of the York river
(Courtesy of Debbie Sams)