Page 43 - The Cape Breton Fiddler: A Talk with Allister MacGillivray
ISSUE : Issue 29
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1981/8/1
There's a woman over in lona from Gillis Point, she would have died probably in the early 1900s. Her name was Big Ann Morrison. She was a famous dance player. If there was a wedding in the area, they'd always send for Big Ann. I'm sure they had male alternatives, but she was a strong dance player, willing to go all night or 2 or 3 days, whatever was required of her. She was very popular, there was no doubt about it. If you want to talk about popular wom? en violin players, Mary MacDonald, who plays the Mabou Coal Mines style of play- ing--now I don't know exactly how to de? fine that--they say, of living violin play? ers, she's one of the greatest in the old tradition. And they never say, "But she's a woman." They just say, "She's one of the greatest players"--and that's bottom line. I don't thinic being a woman has affected her career at all. She's swapped tunes and friendships with all of the male players, and gotten along great with them. She's had women accompanists and the whole thing; and she's just played the same as any oth? er player, very highly respected. Great vi? olin player. Tina Campbell was a great dance player in the Sydney-Glace Bay area. She played East Bay quite a bit. She died around 1950 in metropolitan Cape Breton, and she played on a radio show for a long time. She had a huge following. Very vigorous violin play? er. A small person in stature. One of the stories about the strength in her hands is, she played so ferociously that she left the imprint of her fingers in the neck of her violin--sheer strength of playing. I've heard a tape of her playing "The In? verness Gathering"--she was a powerful player, all right. Extremely popular. You had whole families--the women and the men--that just lived the violin all the time. They would say, if you approached a certain house, if you were walking up the long road to the house, you would hear the music resounding through the walls. And when you walked in the door, you were lia? ble to see one fiddler in the corner and everybody else who could possibly stand up out on the floor stepdancing. So these were things that happened within the fami? ly, and everyone was encouraged to play, and out of that atmosphere naturally would come outstanding violin players. A lot of them said, "I never believed there would be a career for me, I just played for the love of it. I never thought, 'If I'm real? ly really good I can get out and make all kinds of money and travel and see the world.' That was never part of it." It was playing for the sheer love of the music. Today what you have are young people grow? ing up with input coming from all differ? ent directions. You have the TV feeding them one type of entertainment; you have the radio and the pop charts feeding them another. A young violin player very inter? ested in traditional music--a lot of his peers would maybe not completely under? stand why he's taking to the fiddle. There's not enough of his mates involved in it. He has to go long distances to find another his age also interested in playing the violin. A lot of our young kids are go? ing through that. They have mixed musical interests and they're getting some flack from the rest of their buddies at school. There was a time when the natural thing was to go into the violin; you never LOCATED BADDECK, OPEN DAILY 9 to 9 Shetland & Fair Isle Sweaters Czechoslovakian Crystal C.B.Hooked Rugs • Kilts to Order EAST OF THE BELL MUSEUM Phone 295-2786 AREYOUR SHOCK ABSORBERS THIS OLO? ...Then they could be causing excessive tire wear, rough riding, and endangering your safety. New shock absorbers will prevent the veering, bottoming, swaying, and rock? ing that makes your ride rough, steering difficult, and braking unsure. Replace your worn shock absorbers today. LET US INSPECT YOUR SHOCK ABSORBERS TODAY! THE MASTER MUFFLffi 349 George St., Sydney 539-6691 muffler centre (43)
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