RXCORD REVIEWS r I

Jean Carignan, Carignan
unpublished
I n t h e l a s t f i f t e e n years, Jean Carignan has a t t a i n e d a considerable reputation a s a t r a d i t i o n a l o r "folk1! f i d d l e r mainly through h i s virtuoso performances a t l a r g e f e s t i v a l s l i k e Newport. During t h i s period t h e r e have a l s o been two corn-m r c i a l recordings of h i s music issued i n the United S t a t e s. The f i r s t was a r a t h e r poorly recorded production on Folkways which s t i f l e d Carignanl s g i f t s i n a
more » ... g i f t s i n a context of mediocre duets, poorly chosen r e p e r t o i r e and haphazard accompa-nimerrt by the ubiquitous Pete Seeger. Later t h e E l e k t r a Company improved t h i n g s s l i g h t l y. Their record contained a few of Carignan's b e s t solos but f o r t h e most p a r t l i m i t e d him t o the comparatively minor function of playing i n a loud dance band which kept him l a r g e l y inaudible. On t h i s l a t e s t record, i s s u e d on the new Philo l a b e l , we a r e given a t last t h e f i r s t opportunity t o appraise i n depth and begin t o understand t h e nature of t h e achievement of t h i s unique musician. We have a t hand a c a r e f u l l y recorded and well produced record consisting exclusively of f i d d l e solos by Carignan with h i s regular accompanist, G i l l e s Losier, on piano. The material i s drawn from the t h r e e main sources we have come t o associate with Jean Carignan: t r a d i t i o n a l f i d d l e t u n l s of French Canada, medleys drawn primarily from recordings by f i d-d l e r s of S c o t t i s h e x t r a c t i o n , and s e l e c t i o n s from t h e recorded repertory of Michael Coleman, foremost of American I r i s h f i d d l e r s who h a i l e d from Knockgrania, Co. Sligo. I n addition, a fourth source i s presented on t h i s record: adapta-t i o n s f o r the f i d d l e by Carignan from recordings made b i the acc0rdio.n virtuoso, John J. Kimmel i n the first decade of t h i s century, The extreme d i v e r s i t y o f Carignan's musical i n t e r e s t s and t h e v i r t u o s i t y of h i s performance suggest a much less t r a d i t i o n a l background than the f a c t s reveal.. Carignan i s the son of a t r a d i t i o n a l French Canadian f i d d l e r and was able t o master h i s f a t h e r ' s r e p e r t o r y by the age of 10, He has l i v e d most of h i s l i f e around cosmopolitan Montreal where French, Scottish, and I r i s h c u l t u r e s have long been contiguous i f not intermixed. Much of Carignanfs e a r l y t r a i n i n g , a f t e r his f a t h e r ' s example, was a t t h e hands of the b e s t French Canadian f i d d l e r s i n h i s area, Joseph Allard and Willy Ringuette, both of whom had commercial recording careers. From l i s t e n i n g t o t h e recorded examples of Allard and Ringuette one can f i n d much t h a t contributes t o an understanding of Carignants musical development. It seems t o be t h e case t h a t French musicians i n Canada have been f a s c i n a t e d and.deeply a f f e c t e d by t h e music o f t h e I r i s h immigrants i n Canada since a t l e a s t t h e middle of the nineteenth century. S c o t t i s h players have had a s i m i l a r but probably l e s s e r influence. The long standing process of a s s i m i l a t i n g e l e-ments of I r i s h t r a d i t i o n a l music i n t o French Canadian f i d d l i n g i s exemplified
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