Page 33 - With Pianist Doug MacPhee
ISSUE : Issue 43
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1986/8/1
dances in New Waterford at the old parish hall. There (would be) a big gathering. In the early '40s, I guess the last of the coal mines in Inverness closed, and so many followed the mining and came over to New Waterford. See, New Waterford's made up of probably 75% of former Invemessers. That's why it's so Scottish* Of course, they were used to the square dancing over in Inverness. So, they had the sets. The parish hall would be just rocking on Satur? day nights and Monday nights. And then on the First of July, and Labour Day, they'd have the outdoor Scottish picnics, which you don't see any more. Not only New Water? ford. They had them in all the country places. (You loved the fiddle, but you were not drawn to play it.) My mother was the piano player. She'd be playing right along with them all. I was always tuned in to the pi? ano. My mother--I've never heard a piano player in my life with this split-second timing that she has. I never heard anybody that could go along with any fiddler, old- time fiddler, even to this day. And she brings out the best in the players--she makes them play, you know. That's a gift. I don't want to be speaking for her. (But) some fiddlers, they need a little lift • they're kind of draggy. You need to kind of push them along, give them that little-- you're not racing, but you're just puttings that little extra energy into your chord- ing. And you're maybe playing a little heavier, and you're giving them a little more solid beat. You're sort of waking them up. And then you have players that are sometimes inclined to gain speed,* with? out your help. Then there's a way of sort Duncan MacQuarrie at the MacPhees', Dec. 1959 of helping to control them. You sort of-- not lag--but you give them that split-sec- ond--let them go ahead a little split sec- ond--you kind of just come a split second behind them. And you purposely do that sometimes. You're trying to hold a beat, trying to give it a good solid beat. Most fiddlers today, probably 907o of the fiddlers, don't like the melody played out on the piano. But that wasn't the case when I was growing up, definitely wasn't. With the older players, they liked good chording, but they also enjoyed the melody played out, if you were complementing them, and you weren't getting ahead. And my moth? er could--it was just a split-second tim? ing- -it was just like one instrument, her ENTERTAINMENT CENTRE OF CAPE BRETON Joe's Vferehouse The Food Emporium Cape Breton's Newest and Largest Restaurant SPECIALIZING IN AGED PRIME CUTS OF ROAST BEEF & STEAKS 6c ONE OF THE MOST UNIQUE SALAD BARS IN THE MARITIMES! ICABARETJI OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK 'TIL 3 A.M. Live Entertainment Nightly 424 Charlotte Street 539-6686 539-0408 RESTAURANT LOUNGE BANQUET FACILITIES ARE AVAILABLE Drul
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