Mélodie de la semaine pour les Mai 14, 2012

Tune of the Week for May 14, 2012

How ’bout a Cajun waltz?

Varise Conner (1906-1994) should be better known than he is. He quit playing for dances in the 1930s in favor of more intimate sessions with friends, like Lionel Leleux. The first album dedicated to his music was not issued until ten years after his death. And what a dandy it is! The CD is made from field recordings by folklorist Barry Ancelet in the 1970s.

Varise Conner

This lovely waltz was recorded in 1938 by J.B. Fusilier & his Merrymakers, a band that at one time included Varise Conner. This is one of two tunes that Fusilier named for his wives. The other is the better known Chère Bassette.

Chère-Bouclette by Varise Conner of Lake Arthur, Louisiana, circa 1975

T:Chère Bouclette
S:Varise Connor of Lake Arthur, Louisiana
g2g2 |: e4 ec | Gce2 e2 | A3B AF | DFAd fa |
f3g fe | dcBF AF |1 G4 G2 | DGBd gB :|2 G3 GBd |:
ggdg ba | (3gag dg ba | bafd Ad | ffdf ag |
(3fgf df ag | fedc BA |1 BAG GBd :|2 G4 G2 | DGBd gB ||

Fiddle Club is proud to have brought some great Cajun fiddling to your ears. In our inaugural season of 2008, our lineup of featured guests included Will & Holly Whedbee of the Chicago Cajun Aces. (Click their name to hear some of the tunes.) Will was a first teacher of our featured guest for the next Fiddle Club of the World meeting.

Dorian Gehring, Cajun
Sunday, May 20 – 6:30p

Room E324 – Old Town School East (4545 Lincoln)

Single meeting dues is $15: register here.

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

-Paul Tyler, convener
(Did you find the second tune linked on this post? Besides the Whedbee tunes?)

Big Fiddle Times a-Coming

Lots of good stuff coming up. Get your calendars out. Make your summer plans.

1. Fiddle Club of the World meetings

Dorian Gehring, Cajun
Sunday, May 20 – 6:30p
Room E324 – Old Town School East (4545 Lincoln)

Single meeting dues is $15: register here.

Sample these tunes recorded live from the grounds at the Chicago Folk & Roots Festival in 2010, when Dorian Gehring & the Cajun Vagabonds took first place in the 8th Midwest Fiddle Championship Band Division.

Cajun waltz

Lacassine Special

Dorian Gehring & the Cajun Vagabonds
Dorian Gehring & the Cajun Vagabonds
Anders & Maria Larson
Anders & Maria Larson of Svanevit

Anders & Maria Larsson, from Sweden
A special meeting, just scheduled
Monday, June 4 – 7p
Room E124 — Old Town School East (4545 Lincoln)

Single meeting dues is $15: register here.

Or come to both meetings, plus all Fiddle Club events for the next 12 months with a yearly subscription of $60.
2. Old Time Square Dances
(part of Global Dance Party)

The White Mules (Genevieve & Smith Koester)
with caller Bridget Edwards from Bloomington, Indiana
Friday, May 18 – 8:30p
Szold Hall – Old Town School East (4545 Lincoln)

All tickets are $10 and can be purchased in advance by clicking here.

More square dances have been added to the schedule
Patt & Possum
with caller Bill Sudkamp
Friday, August 17

Geoff Seitz & Friends (from St. Louis)
with caller Paul Tyler
Friday, October 26 (tentative)

3. As part of the Square Roots Festival

10th Midwest Fiddle Championship
Finals will be held on Saturday, July 21 – 1:45-2:45p
Maurer Hall – Old Town School West (4544 Lincoln)


Fiddle Club of the World Battle of the Bands
an invitational, same day – 7-8p
Szold Hall – Old Town School East (4545 Lincoln)

Opening round and registration information to be announced soon.

-Paul Tyler, convener

Tunes from Dorian Gehring

Dorian Gehring, Cajun Fiddle
Sunday, May 20, 6:30 – Room E324
Old Town School East (4545 Lincoln)

Dorian Gehring
Dorian Gehring

Fresh out of college, Dorian is always ready with his fiddle. He won top prize in the 2010 Midwest Fiddle Championship with his band, the Cajun Vagabonds.

Dorian plans to discuss different Cajun styles and talk about the modern Cajun scene. He would also like to help Fiddle Clubbers learn how to play second or chording fiddle.

Here are some tunes

Eunice Two-Step

Eunice Two-Step slow

Cherokee Waltz

Cherokee Waltz slow

$15 dues for this workshop, click here, or choose the year-long subscription option ($60 for 12 months of Fiddle Club).

Notes for David Greely tunes

Last minute help for those who want to come prepared for tonight’s jam.
We’ll be upstairs in E324 in the Old Town School East building (4545 Lincoln), one floor above the Global Dance Party in Szold Hall. The acoustics in our new building are phenomenal.

Some answers to questions I’ve been asked. If you have a yearly subscription, you do not need to register. We welcome everyone who wants to hear and/or learn some Cajun fiddling. It would be great if you register online, but you can also pay at the front desk tonight.

In ABC Notation. Free software to read, print and play the ABCs is available here. And a short tutorial on ABC notation for fiddlers can be downloaded from the Old Town School’s Tune Archive using this link.

T:Lacassine Special
O:Iry Lejeune
S:David Greely
zc2 | {Bc}B2A2 d2e2 | “slide”f3 f2ede | {e}f2=gf ecBA | A3 A3c2 |
{Bc}B2A2 c2d2 | e3 e2Ace | f2=gf ecBA | A3 A2 ::
Bcc | BAFE CEFA | Bcc2 Bc2c | BAFE CEFA | Bcc2 Bc2c |
BAFE CEFA | Bcc2 Bc2d | B3B2 cBA | A3 A2 :|

(The notation for “Lacassine Special has been revised to be more like the way David taught it at the Fiddle Club workshop. C’est la vie.)

T:Barres de la Prison
O:Canray Fontenot
S:David Greely
“NB swing those 8th notes”
FAd | f2{fg}fe fg | “slide” (3f=fed ^FAd | f2{fg}fe fg | “slide” (3f=fed ^FAd |
f2{fg}fe fg | “slide” (3f=fe d2{ed} BA | “slide”(3=cBA =F2 “slide”(3FED | D6 | D3 ::
z2D | =F-EDF {EF}ED | =F-ED2 B,D | =F-EDF {EF}ED | =F-ED2 B,D |
=F-EDF {EF}ED | =F-ED2 B,D | E2=F2 “slide”(3FED | D6 | D3 :|

(Notation for “Prison Bars was also revised to indicate 2nd finger slides marked by slurs and the triplet slides at the end of each strain.)

To use these notes, it is essential to listen to the tunes as David recorded them for us. To do that, go here.

David Greely, Cajun Fiddler

Friday, February 24, 7:30pm
Room E324, Old Town School East (4545 Lincoln)

David Greely

For an interesting story on what can draw a person into a lifelong love affair with traditional music, you should read the bio on David Greely’s website. If you want to dance a two-step or waltz, you should pick up a Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys CD (their latest, Grand Isle, was a Grammy nominee). David and Steve, co-founded the band 23 years ago; David left for a solo and acoustic career after their storied Mardi Gras gig in Mamou, Louisiana last year. (I first met David during Mardi Gras in Mamou 17 years ago.) To be inspired to reach for new levels melodic magic and heavenly harmonies, listen to the two cuts below (from his solo CD, Sud du Sud.

Bayou Teche Waltz

Cotillion / Chatagnier

For further interest and inspiration, come to David’s demo workshop for fiddlers and other musicians at the Fiddle Club of the World this Friday. Admission for this meeting is $15, click here to register. To save some money of the next 12 months, join Fiddle Club of the World with $60 yearly dues. Plus you get your own very cool Fiddle Club card.

To learn a couple of tunes to play with David on Friday, click here.

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Two Fabulous Guests

David Greely – Cajun Fiddler
Friday, February 24, 7:30
Old Town School East (4545 Lincoln), Rm E324

David Greely

Founding fiddler of the Mamou Playboys, David Greely has assembled a repertoire of uncommon Cajun music and new companion pieces to entertain and inspire you.



To learn a couple of tunes to play with David, click here.

$15 dues for either of these meetings, click here.

Arto Järvelä with Kaivama – Finnish Trad
Saturday, March 3, 7:30p
Old Town School East (4545 Lincoln), Rm E324

Arto Järvelä & Kaivama

Born to a family of fiddlers from Kaustinen, the epicenter of Finnish fiddling, our good friend Arto Järvelä makes a return to fiddle club, bringing with him Kaivama, the Minnesota-based duo of Sara Pajunen and Jonathan Rundman, for their second visit to the Old Town School.


To learn a couple of tunes to play with Arto, click here.

Join Fiddle Club of the World for $60 yearly dues, support our guest artists and save 20% off the spring schedule alone. You will then have free admission for the rest of your year-long membership. Plus you get your own very cool Fiddle Club card.

Tunes from David Greely

Here are a couple of Cajun classics we can all play together with David Greely, when he makes his appearance at the Fiddle Club of the World, on Friday, February 24.

The first tune is a fiddle version of a tune made famous by the great accordionist, Iry Lejeune (1928-55) from Pointe Noire, Louisiana.

Lacassine Special, a two-step

Lacassine Special, a two-step

And here’s a bluesy waltz from the playing of one of my favorites, Creole fiddler Canray Fontenot (1922-95) of L’Anse aux Vaches. The song was penned by Douglas Bellard.

Barres de la Prison, a waltz in 3/4

Barres de la Prison slow

For notes for these tunes, click here.

Dues for the February 24 meeting are $15 – you can register here (02/24/12).
Save money with a yearly subscription of $60. It gives you admission to all Fiddle Club events.

Cajun tunes from Will & Holly Whedbee

Note on the recordings: Following customary practice, the tunes are played on two fiddles tuned a full step lower (F-C-G-D). One fiddle plays the melody, and the second fiddle plays chords with some harmony and counterpoint. The slow versions are played on a single fiddle in standard tuning (G-D-A-E), to make it easier to learn the tunes without having to retune. For the jam session with the Whedbees, we’ll all tune down a step.

Choupique Two-step
A tune recorded by Nathan Abshire, played in the style of the Balfa Brothers.

slow version of Choupique Two-step

Kathleens Waltz
From Dennis McGee (1893-1989), who recorded in the 1920s and ’30s with Sady Courville and Ernest Fruge on second fiddle, and with Creole accordionist, Amédé Ardoin. He recorded again in the 1970s with Sady Courville.

slow version of Kathleens Waltz

Lake Charles Two-step
A tune by this name was recorded by Creole musicians Bois Sec Ardoin, an accordionist, and fiddler Canray Fontenot. Will & Holly’s version, learned from the Balfa Brothers, is also known as “Texas Two-Step.”

slow version of the Lake Charles Two-step

All tunes recorded by P. Tyler at Whedbee home in Chicago on April 21, 2008

Will & Holly Whedbee are the featured guests for the Fiddle Club of the World’s meeting on Saturday, May 10 at the Leadway Bar & Gallery.

Announcing the Fiddle Club of the World

Meetings of the Fiddle Club of the World are scheduled for the party room of

Leadway Bar and Gallery
5233 N. Damen Ave.
Chicago, IL 60625

Space is limited, so register early.

March 14 (Fri) 7:30 – Paddy Jones
Paddy Jones
Paddy Jones is one of the last pure players of the traditional music of Sliabh Luchra (pronounced Shleeve Lew-cra), a mountainous region on the borderland between Counties Kerry and Cork in the southwest corner of Ireland. The distinctive style of this region makes heavy use of polkas and slides, and relies less on the reels and jigs that are more standard in the “trad” Irish repertoire. The undisputed master of the Sliabh Luchra style was the legendary Padraig O’Keefe, who was Paddy Jones’ teacher.

Go here to hear some Paddy Jones tunes.

April 20 (Sun) 6:30 – Lynn “Chirps” Smith

Chirps Smith
Traditional tunes from downstate Illinois and beyond are the forte of this fiddler long known for his work with the Volo Bogtrotters. Chirps now plays with the New Bad Habits.

Go here to hear some Chirps Smith tunes.


May 10 (Sat) 3:30 – Will & Holly Whedbee
Will & Holly Whedbee

Cajun two-steps, waltzes and more will be offered up by this fiddling duo from the Chicago Cajun Aces.or

Go here to hear some Whedbee tunes.



Sign up quick. Find workshops here.