Some examples of third position in Cajun & Creole fiddle tunes.
Hi, I’m Mitch Reed and I’m doing a vlog. My vlog today is on rare tunes, and cross-tuning because I really feel like cross-tuning is something that we’ve lost and I want to try to keep it alive. It makes tunes sound great and, of course, it’s a fiddle thing. The accordion is kind of the dominant thing in Cajun music but all you fiddle players out there, let’s keep this instrument alive in Cajun music. Don’t let those old tunes die.
So I’m going to play an old reel called La Reel de l’anse bleu. If you’ve never been to L’anse Bleu, it’s not too far from Mamou. Okay, so it goes like this. [00:43]
Alright! La Reel de l’anse bleu! My fiddle’s cross-tuned but I’m Cajun cross-tuned some D, starting from the high strings, D, G, D, G and I like this tuning. I used to go visit a Creole fiddler Calvin Carriere and Calvin learned fiddle from his uncle Bébé Carriere, and they used to tune this way. Not often, but Bébé knew a lot of old polkas and mazurkas and reels and blues and they would play it this way. I also learned tunes from them so why don’t we play one now? This is definitely something different from the reel and this is just the blues. It’s just called Blues à Bébé. It goes like this. [03:50]
So it’s a lot of fun to play that. What’s cool about it is you can hear the other strings resonating that you’re not even bowing just ’cause they’re all tuned the same so they just start resonating. That’s really cool. If you have a good fiddle it will definitely do that. So yeah, I just wanted to talk about that. I like putting my fiddle in this tuning or if you a second or third fiddle you can put in this tuning. It’s great to play a lot of old-time tunes this way.
A lot of people ask me if Wayne Perry was tuned this way. Dennis was tuned this way a lot. I’m not really sure with the Wayne Perry stuff if he was tuned like this but you definitely could play his tunes. I know Micheal Doucet played Acadian Waltz with the cross-tuning and it sounded really nice so, anyway, I just wanted to talk about that.
I‘m going to leave with you with this tune I learned from one of Dennis’ field recordings. It was in a cross-tuning and it’s called the Marcantel Reel and it goes like this. [06:44]
Whoo! Alright! So, a lot of fun! I don’t get to play these tunes that often. I never played these with an accordion tuned this way but it would probably l work. I think Dennis did that with some of Amede’s stuff. I was talking to Michael Doucet about that. One of the tunes I felt like did this style of cross tuning was Quoi Faire? It definitely works well with Quoi Faire? because you can do some nice rocking and get some good chords. Maybe I’ll just end with that one. [08:49]
Thanks so much for joining me today. Stay inspired, keep on fiddling, and if you like this stuff, and you want me to break some of it down for you, I have a website and I do break stuff down at somewhat of a beginner level, beginner to intermediate level, and also from intermediate to more advanced level. Just a huge library of tunes- traditional tunes, some obscure, some standards if you want to check it out. Thanks so much for checking out this vlog. Hope it helped, hope it inspired you. I know I get very inspired from watching YouTube fiddlers out there that are just breaking down tunes or just playing tunes and just talking about the origins or how they learned them, or whatever. That’s very inspiring to me. I hope I can pass that along as well. I hope to see you out there soon. Stay inspired, keep on fiddling! Thank you!
Fontenot’s Jig and Saute Crapaud, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day and the Scotch-Irish connection.
Hi, I’m Mitch Reed. Welcome to my vlog and today I’m going to talk a little bit about the Celtic influence or maybe even the Scotch-Irish influence in Cajun music. I do that quite often and I do love Irish music but it is St. Patrick’s Day weekend and I just thought it would be kind of cool to talk about a few tunes in Cajun music that we play that are actual jigs, that are in 6/8 time.
So what makes a jig is the 6/8 timing so the 1-2-3, 4-5-6, 1-2-3, 4-5-6. The most popular one that we have is the old, old French tune called Saute Crapaud, that just means jump frog, or leap frog. It’s got a bunch of verses, a bunch of words to it, a story to it. But it is a jig and when I started playing fiddle, I also played Irish fiddle as well. I met a guy from Mamou who actually played a jig on the Cajun accordion. He learned it from an old man who played with The Balfa Brothers and he was a Fontenot.
His name was Hadley Fontenot. He called this tune Fontenot’s Jig. I’m going to play that for you. I thought that would be fun just to share that with you. So this is called Fontenot’s Jig, a Cajun tune. [1:32]
Alright, Fontenot’s Jig. Hadley Fontenot was from Mamou. He played with The Balfa Brothers. In fact he played on the Yellow Album, the classic Yellow Album everybody refers to, and he was a great accordion player. What I hear in that tune which is really cool is it sounds to me like the Arkansas Traveller, which is played in 6/8 time.
So a lot of those standard fiddle tunes, what we call standard fiddle tunes today, that you find all over the country kind of made their way around the country in the old days. I think there is a big connection with Appalachia and Evangeline parish. Some of the research that people have done found that during the Spanish land grants a lot of people from Virginia especially came to settle in Evangeline parish. They settled in areas around L’anse Maigre, Mamou, Ville Platte, Chatagnier, those areas, so that’s why you have the names like McGee, McCullen, McDaniels, Reed, Tate, it goes on and on, Scotch-Irish names. So definitely I think there was an influence too with the music. Even the Balfa’s that we call them, Dewey Balfa, they were Balfours, which is a Scottish name and they also came from Virgina, so they must have brought music with them. And it must have made and impression on Cajun music.
Because I’ll have to say, some of the best fiddlers come from Evangeline parish. I know that that’s where my bloodline comes from, but I still say that I think that some of the best Cajun musicians are from Evangeline Parish, but anyway.
There was a really interesting character- you can find him on YouTube- his name was Isom Fontenot and he was from Mamou and played harmonica. He was an amazing harmonica player. That tradition in Cajun music has kind of died out it seems, but he was a very inspirational person to the Mamou people back in the 50’s and 60’s and he played a great version of Saute Crapaud which is another Cajun jig so I’m going to play that and it goes like this [05:18]
Alright, well happy St. Patrick’s Day. I hope everyone has an awesome Saturday, drink a pint, play a tune, stay inspired, keep on fiddling, and I hope to see you out there soon. Thanks so much for joining me. Have an awesome day.
Hi! Welcome to my vlog. Today I want to talk a little bit about a musician that influenced me a lot. I’m not really sure where he is. It’s kind of an interesting story. When I first started playing the fiddle, when I was about 14 so probably the late 80’s, there was a character living in Lafayette. His name was Lynn Harrington. He was a member of a couple of Cajun bands but he also did a solo record. He wrote some really cool tunes and he also messed around with Lomax recordings like Michael Doucet did. He put some of these Lomax ballads to fiddle tunes. And he wrote a really beautiful tune that was I always thought was really interesting called Fleur de Lis.
Anyway, I just wanted to play it and just talk a little bit about Lynn Harrington. There are a couple of people that may know where he is. He was living in LA, then he moved to Atlanta. I don’t know, I might be wrong so… anybody knows, send me a comment and let me know.
But this is a beautiful song. I’ll play it once normal speed then I’ll play it a little slower. Give you a chance to maybe figure the notes out. It’s called Fleur de Lis by Lynn Harrington.
Oh! The story also goes that when I was a kid before I learned to play the fiddle or took fiddle lessons, maybe I was 9 or 10, I got a TV for my birthday, a black and white TV. I had my own tv in my room. That was a really special privilege back in the early 80s. I had my own tv in my room. I didn’t have my Atari yet but you can’t play Atari on a black and white tv. But I had my own black and white tv. On Friday nights and Saturday nights, I could stay up late. I had really cool parents that would let me stay up until midnight and let me watch the old tv shows. So when Channel 3 would go off the air, they would play this song and they would show scenes of the Atchafalaya Basin and this song would be playing, so kind of a special tune for me growing up here in Lafayette, Louisiana. So it goes like this. [02:33]
Alright, so kind of an interesting tune I’ve always liked it. I’ll play through it again a little slower. I don’t know if many of you know this but I just found this out. If you’re using YouTube you can go to the options menu and you can go to “playback speed” and you can slow this down. And you can, I’m gonna play it slow, but you can slow it down even a little bit a more to hear and find all the notes if you like this tune and you want to learn it. Okay, it goes like this. [04:50]
Alright! Lynn Harrington- great fiddler, still alive as far as I know. Maybe he would be in his mid-60s.
If you’re out there Lynn, if you’re watching this, please send me a line. I’d love to hear from you! Love that tune, love your record that you did.
You might be able to find it in the archives, those of you that are interested in hearing Lynn Harrington. There might be some YouTube stuff; I never really searched for it yet. But it’s a great record Lynn Harrington did and he’s a great musician. He inspired me a lot to be a Cajun fiddler. He was interested in Creole music and played Creole music and played the clarinet. He was a music major at USL in Lafayette.
Thanks so much for joining me today. Stay inspired, keep on fiddlin’, keep on digging for tunes. Send me a comment, let me know what you think. If you like this kind of stuff, check out my website mitchreedmusiclessons.com. You can become a member and on the site, and I break down Cajun and Creole fiddle tunes for beginners and intermediate players. Thank you so much. Have a happy Mardi Gras! See you soon!
Alright! That’s an old tune called the Lake Charles Waltz. Today on my blog I just wanted to talk about what I’m going to be doing in the future and starting now.
A lot of people don’t know but I used to be in a band called BeauSoleil and toured with them for 11 years and I just recently retired. So now I’m just staying home in Scott and working in my studio teaching lessons, making vlogs, doing videos for my website, and I’m also doing these things called Band Labs. If you’re interested in doing private lessons, or even doing some group lessons with a couple of friends. Send me a line. You can email me at mitchreedmusiclessons.com. You can send me a message there. You can even leave a message here on YouTube or Facebook, or whatever.
That’s what I’ll be doing. I live here in Scott. I have a studio. That’s this room here where I film from. I’m also doing other styles of fiddle like Irish fiddle and old-timey fiddle so if you’re interested in any of that stuff, let me know. I am here playing my fiddle every day in my front room studio in Scott.
Just send me a line if you’re interested in learning any tunes. Even if you want me to break down some tunes for you. I ‘ve been doing that recently where if, for instance, you really, really like a tune but you can’t figure it out, let me know and I can tab the music out for you. I can also record it in sections and send it to you.
So all that stuff, that’s basically what I’m doing every day. But I just wanted to put it out there that I’m home now and I’m not touring anymore. I love teaching music and that’s what I want to do. So come check it out.
I’m gonna finish off with a little tune that Dennis McGee liked to play and he just called this Reel d’ Perdu, The Lost Reel. Some people asked about this one so I’ll play this one [3:12]
Alright! Thank you for joining me today, stay inspired keep on fiddling. Have a great day and I’ll see you soon. Thank you!