Ottawa Valley Reel | Bowing Down Home
About this tune
The Ottawa Valley Reel is played by fiddlers throughout PEI, but is most popular west of Charlottetown.
George Chappelle, the last Island fiddler to feature prominently on local radio before the Don Messer era, notes that he played The Ottawa Valley for broadcasts in the late 1930s. Aside from that recollection, the tune has an uncertain provenance. It has been attributed to New Brunswick fiddler Earl Mitton (composer of Carlton County Breakdown), but in a 1995 phone interview Mitton’s widow denied that he wrote it. Ned Landry – a member of Don Messer & the Islanders and composer of an entirely different tune with the same title – noted in a 1997 phone interview that the Island’s Ottawa Valley Reel was an “old tune” (the implication being that it was in circulation long before the 1940s when he began working as a professional player).
Notation for this tune as played by Edward P Arsenault is in Fiddle Music of Prince Edward Island.