09 March 2015

'The most thorough and comprehensive exploration of any fiddling tradition anywhere'

Musicologist and 'melodic clawhammer' banjo maestro Ken Perlman (USA) announces with pride that his brand new twenty-years-in-the-making book Couldn't have a wedding without the fiddler: the story of traditional fiddling on Prince Edward Island has just been published by the University of Tennessee Press in its Charles K. Wolfe Series.

A social, cultural, and musical exploration of traditional fiddling on Canada's Prince Edward Island, based primarily on oral accounts collected from about 150 fiddlers and other 'Islanders', it shows the vital and central role that fiddlers and their music played in community life. The book also explores attitudes about fiddling, learning patterns and strategies, playing styles and repertoire, dancing and accompaniment, fiddle contests and mass media, the decline of fiddling after the second world war, and the ups and downs of its revival. To widen the scope of the narrative, material is often presented in the context of parallel cultural developments in Britain, Ireland, and elsewhere in North America.

Alan Jabbour, one of the best qualified people in the world to make such a judgment, calls the book 'the most thorough and comprehensive exploration of any fiddling tradition anywhere'. At 462 pages, it includes forty photographs and numerous musical examples. Copies are available from Ken's website or any of the usual outlets.

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