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> Issue 57 > Page 86 - Michael Coleman: A Cape Breton Irish Connection

Page 86 - Michael Coleman: A Cape Breton Irish Connection

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1991/6/1 (186 reads)

like this. There's no way of saying that they're specifically Irish, though. They are now, because that's what we think of as current style--Michael Coleman and that generation of players. Current as far as the 20th century. Cape Breton style, even though there are other styles of Cape Breton music and there are other styles of Irish--those would be the two predominant ones: Inver? ness County for Cape Breton music, Sligo style for Irish music. But when you start looking back into older manuscripts from the 19th century and the 18th century, and looking at the way they wrote the ornaments on the pages, both in Ireland and Scotland, you can't help but think that there were different styles of Scottish music then, that might have been closer to the current Irish--and vice ver? sa. (Styles within the Scottish music of the 18th century?) That's right. Or the 19th century. And Irish that could have been closer to Scottish. There's been so much repertoire crossing, over the generations. It's often hard to know where the first melodic fragments were composed, whether they were Irish or Scottish. But most people will listen to certain types of ornamentation and melodic embellishment, and immediately call that Irish and something else Scottish. They would call Michael Coleman's style "Sligo style" of Irish music. County Sli? go, a part of Ireland. Just like we'd have what people call the Inverness County style of Cape Breton fiddling. Although both those styles--the Sligo style and the Inverness County style--over the last 50 years have become sort of universalized and become sort of the Irish style and the "YOUR GLASS SPECIALISTS" SERVING ALL OF THE ISLAND COMMERCIAL - RESIDENTIAL • storefronts • Automatic Entrances • Commercial Windows EMERGENCY SERVICE AVAILABLE • Thermo Insulated Units • Aluminum Entrances • Glass Replacement • Caulking Repairs • Custom Glass • Replacement Stained Glass • Door Hardware • Weatherstripping BLACKIE MacPHERSON • LAWRENCE MULLER EDGAR MacKINNON 1 suppose there's going to be Irish people who get mad at me in Galway or Kerry or different places, but there's no doubt that Coleman's music influenced the reper? toire in every county of Ireland. Similarly, you'll get a Cape Bretoner playing a Coleman tune. You get Jerry Hol? land playing a Coleman tune. He doesn't sound like Coleman, he sounds like Jerry Holland. But melodically, you know that that's where it came from. That it came from Coleman. (Can we talk about Coleman's style?) There would be more improvising than what would currently be the norm in Cape Breton. Coleman would play a tune, and be playing it a little bit differently each time through. He'd have different ways of play? ing a tune, and he'd spontaneously rear? range those ideas mixed with improvisa? tions of the moment. (Is that freedom--I'11 call it freedom-- seen more in our Irish players than in our Scottish fiddlers?) Well, I know I never was encouraged to play that way from Scot? tish players. There is more of a sort of conservative attitude among the local Scottish players, to play it correctly, so to speak--whatever "correct" means. Where? as, some of the Irish players that I learned from here in Cape Breton would en? courage you to learn to be able to play a tune more than one way, to trick the lis? tener- -to keep them guessing and more at? tentive. That's part of the Cape Breton Irish tradition. One of the important COMMERCIAL RESIDENTIAL G. Landry's Vacuum Service Ltd. SEPTIC SYSTEMS CLEANED INSTALLED & REPAIRED BACKHOE BULLDOZER RENTAL PORTABLE TOILET RENTAL & SERVICE Front Lake Rd. Sydney 564-8413 ?? /SERVING ALL OF CAPE BRETON'-- • '/.v c''' Lk' MacDonald IMISSAN ii=yiiM Our 31st Year 124 KINGS ROAD SYDNEY RIVER Toll Free 1-800-565-9427 20 CAR SHOWROOM 1991 Pathfinder 4x4 NOW IN STOCK • Also Available in 4-Door •
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