Miramichi Fire, The | Bowing Down Home
About this tune
The Mirimichi Fire is a rousing, lively tune that is particularly popular among fiddlers west of Charlottetown. It is one of the most variable tunes in the repertoire, and versions differ in great detail – not only among regional styles – but from player to player. There seem to be roughly three major “approaches” to the tune, which I’ll refer to respectively as the Eastern, East Prince, and West Prince variants.
Eastern variant (Hughes, Smith): relatively sedate feel, some of the more notey segments are somewhat telescoped relative to the western versions.
East-Prince variant (Biggar, Jones, Poirier, Robinson, Silliker, Sonier): somewhat more up-tempo, notey phrases fully articulated
West-Prince variant (Eddy Arsenault, Edward P Arsenauolt, Baglole, Joseph Doucette, Pat Doucette, Pitre): most up-tempo version; some notey phrases altered to allow for insistent bowing accents
The Great Miramichi Fire of October 1825 originated in the the Miramichi River Valley and raged through much of northern New Brunswick; it ultimately consumed roughly 16,000 square kilometers of forest land, destroyed several communities wholesale, and leveled a substantial proportion of Fredericton. According to oral tradition, the fire was so bright that it was visible from the west-facing shore of Prince County, some 100 km distant.
Notation for this tune as played by Andrew Jones is in Fiddle Music of Prince Edward Island.