Emily M.

St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador

Avalon Regional Heritage Fair

Newfoundland Fiddlers

My project centers on three well known fiddlers of Newfoundland; Emile Benoit, Rufus Guinchard, and Kelly Russell. My video tells the stories of these fiddlers and shows the importance of music in Newfoundland's unique culture.



What was the most interesting thing you learned about your topic?

The most interesting thing that I have learned about my topic is that neither Kelly, Emile, or Rufus had any formal music lessons. They learned how to play the fiddle by ear. Researching each of their life stories was also a very interesting learning experience.

What important lessons have you learned that you want to share with other Canadians?

I've learned that traditional Newfoundland music is fading away and becoming less popular. Music is part of Newfoundland's diverse culture, it is what brings us together.Losing the tradition of music would be devastating. I think everybody should realize that music plays an important part in our cultural heritage and that we should do everything in our power to make sure that it lives on for future generations.

How would you compare your life today to the lives of those studied in your project?

When Kelly Russell picked up the fiddle at the age of 18, there were very few fiddlers his age in Newfoundland. On World Fiddle Day this year, over 160 people ranging from preschoolers to seniors, picked up their fiddles and played three traditional Newfoundland songs. This was in St. John's alone.