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REF NO.: 42

SUBJECT: Historic recordings of Canadian fiddle music topic of new book and CD launched at Memorial University

DATE: Nov. 2

Memorial University’s Research Centre for Music, Media and Place (MMaP) is thrilled to announce the launch of Bellows & Bows: Historic Recordings of Traditional Fiddle and Accordion Music From Across Canada, the latest installment in the centre’s Back on Track archival book/CD series.

The book/CD launch will take place on Thursday, Nov. 8, at 6 p.m. in the MMaP Gallery, second floor, St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre. The event is free and open to all.

                Bellows and Bows: Historic Recordings of Traditional Fiddle and Accordion Music Across Canada is a double CD compilation of distinguished fiddlers and accordion players from a wide variety of ethnocultural communities across Canada. Producer Sherry Johnson and a team of regional experts have featured historically significant tracks from archival and personal collections, as well as early commercial recordings that are no longer available for circulation. The accompanying 156-page book includes overviews of the social and historical contexts for the music in different regions, detailed maps, tune notes, musician biographies and archival photographs. 

                 The fiddle and accordion have long thrived in Canada -- among early settlers who introduced them to the continent, in Inuit, Métis and First Nations societies that made them their own and in more recent immigrant communities. Fiddle and accordion music has served, at times, as common “languages” binding the nation’s diverse populations; more often, however, subtleties of style and approach have been used to mark distinct identities. Differences may be ethnocultural (as in the tempo differences of Scottish-derived and Acadian fiddle music in Maritime Canada) or class-related (as in the debates about the merits of competitions).

Fiddle and accordion traditions in Canada have often been represented by the media, show promoters and even by the musicians themselves either as a kind of nostalgic “barn dance” tradition (stereotyped as rural, uneducated and slightly rough) or else as a virtuosic “show” tradition (in recordings produced by award winners of the dozens of fiddle competitions that take place annually across the nation). The 64 tracks on this CD set demonstrate the artistry and social complexity of a number of accordion and fiddle communities and add nuance to the historical representations of these evolving traditions.

Please note that the Bellows & Bows book/CD launch event is one of two events taking place at the MMaP gallery on Thursday, Nov. 8. The book/CD launch and a public lecture will take place consecutively, beginning with the book launch at 6 p.m. and the lecture at 7:30 p.m.

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For more information, please contact Kristin Harris Walsh, project co-ordinator, MMaP, Memorial University, at 709-864-2051 or


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