Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 73 > Page 32 - With Alex Currie, Frenchvale

Page 32 - With Alex Currie, Frenchvale

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1998/6/1 (434 reads)

day. And Joe Peter MacLean, the fiddler, played a tune, and (Morrison) played on the pipes just the same as if it was on the fiddle. You never heard the like of that in all your life. I couldn't believe it, you know, how a fellow'd have such fingering. But they learned that going to school over there--notes, yeah. I was over there in Uist two years ago. And the people in Uist there--that's where the good pipers come from, the isle of Uist. They told me that the best pipers in Scot? land, that's where they come from.... Well, what a party, you never seen the like of going over there and have a time. There's nothing in Cape Breton could turn it, you know. Every damn soul in South Uist was Gaelic-speaking. They're all Gaelic. Two women there from South Uist, they were here, in the front room. They'd get to? gether and they'd talk the Gaelic. There was no English talk. So one of them asked me, "Did you ever hear the song that old Currie made in Uist 300 years ago?" I said, "No." They sang that song that he made, being's I was a Currie. Well, I couldn't understand much of it. They had a different slang on the Gaelic, eh? You got to catch them pretty close to know what they're saying. So, it turned out all right, anyway. Everything went good. Oh, they were here all night, and some of DON'S FLOWERS Serving Port Hood, Judique, Inverness and Surrounding Areas p. O. Box 179, Port Hawkesbury, N. S. BOE 2V0 Telephone 625-2215 or 625-2717 Ceilidh at the Creameiy Port Hawkesbury Waterfront June 23''' ' October 6'', 1993 Tuesdays 8:00 p.m. them here the next day. I didn't care; the house was empty. Lots of fun; lots of mu? sic. They never stopped playing the pipes. Seumas Moore's two young fellows, they were 16 and 18--two of them playing to? gether, you know, the pipes--the small pipes. But you never heard the like of them. They were just beautiful. So, we had all kinds of music. (Is that only recent for you? Or have the pipers been visiting you all your life?) Well, since I came here from--most of my life I spent in Ontario, after the war. I'm down here since '71. I built this house, and hall. In '71 the wife was liv? ing, and she died in '93. So, they were coming here from all over-- Boston, New York--all over the country, come here. They'd phone me up: "Would it be all right for us to go and--I have a young fellow's learning the pipes. Would it be all right to take him over?" They'd come down to Louisbourg, you know, in the summertime. And they'd hear about me, and they'd take him over here. "Oh," I said, "he's a good--he'11 be a good piper. The young fellow's doing good, you know. But you haven't got the style that we had." I learned, from when I was ten years old, the time and everything for the stepdance, you know. Now today, they haven't got that. That's lost--lost--since years. They had it in Scotland at one time. But over here, you never see a piper playing for a stepdancing today, or a single four, or anything like that. We had to learn that, as young fellows growing up. 'Cause the pipes were more convenient than the fiddle at that time. There were not too many fiddlers around. But the pipe was pretty good, when I was 18, 17 and 18. (Sixty and sev? enty years ago.) Yeah. The Ceilidhs feature master fiddlers, stepdancers, storytellers, highland dancers, singers, and instrumental groups. It's a low-cost, solid, one-and-a-half hours of Cape Breton fun for all ages. The Strait Area Waterfront Development Corporation If you are interested in History, Culture, Music, Entertainment, Boat Tours, Nature, Craft Fairs & Farmers' Markets, Art Galleries, Food, Playgrounds, Gift Shops, Internet Access and Outdoor Concerts.....then come to the Port Hawkesbury Waterfront to find all this and more Ceilidh with us on Cape Breton's front porch! "Ship Harbour: Window to the Past, Present and Future " 3 MacSween Street Port Hawkesbury, NS BOE 2V0 Tel: (902) 625-1918 • Fax: 625-0040 E-mail: [email protected] Pipes were more common than the violin. You go to a party, the old people want? ed the old music, you know. It was dancing, and step'- dancing. My sister and my brothers, my mother and fa? ther, were good dancers, too. They were competition dancers. So you had to do the thing right. If you were playing a strathspey, and you were playing it too high, or too low. You'd start it first. He'd stop you right there: "You've got to go a little bit faster than that." So at the last of it, he's get? ting right onto it, what he
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