Ste. Anne's Reel | Bowing Down Home

About this tune

St. Anne’s Reel is probably the most widely played tune on Prince Edward Island. Although it forms part of nearly every fiddlers’ repertoire, it is probably most prized in the western-most part of the Island, where a distinctive set of related variants has developed (see, for example, the versions of West Prince County fiddlers Joe Albert, Andrew Jones, Dennis Pitre, and Elmer Robinson).

The version of St. Anne's Reel now known throughout much of North America, Britain, and Ireland comes from a 1920s recording by Québecois fiddler Joseph Allard (1873-1947). Either that recording or live versions of the tune first reached PEI in the 1930s via broadcasts emanating from radio station CHNC of New Carlisle, Quebec on the Gaspé Peninsula. By the late 1930s, radio entertainer George Chappelle was playing the tune on CFCY radio in Charlottetown. Don Messer & the Islanders recorded the tune in the 1940s, and presumably also played it regularly during that period on CFCY radio and in live performance.

In the western part of PEI, fiddlers began tinkering with the tune in order to make it better suited to accompanying step dancers. This process is described and illustrated by Andrew Jones. Over the years, these changes in St. Anne’s Reel have gradually spread eastward. By the early 1990s, many Queens County versions showed considerable influence from the West Prince approach, but most Kings County versions were still relatively close to the “mainstream” North American version.

Notation for St. Anne’s Reel as played by Elmer Robinson is in Fiddle Music of Prince Edward Island.

Tune Selections

Albert, Joe - Ste. Anne's Reel Accompanied by: Ivan Albert, gtr
West Prince
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Arsenault, Delphine - St. Anne's Reel Accompanied by: unaccompanied
Evangeline Coast / East Prince
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Arsenault, Edward P - St. Anne's Reel Accompanied by: Marie Gallant Arsenault, pno
Evangeline Coast / East Prince
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Arsenault, Louise - Ste. Anne's Reel Accompanied by: Philippe Leblanc, pno
Evangeline Coast / East Prince
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Desroches, Anastasia - Acadian Reel / Mrs. McLeod of Rasay / Ste. Anne's Reel Accompanied by: Megan Bergeron, pno
New Wave
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Doucette, Pat - Ste. Anne's Reel Accompanied by: Ernie Gallant, gtr
West Prince
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Doucette, Victor - Ste. Anne's Reel Accompanied by: Vincent Doucette, gtr; Cathy Doucette, bass
West Prince
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Gallant, Jaddus - Ste. Ann's Reel Accompanied by: Béatrice Gallant pump organ
Evangeline Coast / East Prince
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Gaudet, David - Ste. Anne's Reel / Mississippi Sawyer Accompanied by: Robert Gallant, pno; Cecil Arsenault, gtr
West Prince
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Gotell, Wilfred - Ste. Anne's Reel Accompanied by: Kevin Gotell, pno
Central Kings
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Jones, Andrew - Ste. Anne's Reel Accompanied by: Ken Perlman, bjo
West Prince
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MacPhee, George - Ste. Anne's Reel / Maid Behind the Bar Accompanied by: Frank MacPhee, gtr; Ken Perlman, bjo
Northeast Kings
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McDonald, Leonard - Ottawa Valley Reel / Ste. Anne's Reel / Chicken Reel Accompanied by: Margaret Ross MacKinnon, pno; Paul Mark McDonald, gtr
Western Queens
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Myers, Fenner - Ste. Anne's Reel Accompanied by: Jim Dobson, gtr
Western Queens
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O'Connor, Jimmy - Ste. Anne's Reel Accompanied by: Dot MacCauley, gtr
South Kings
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Pitre, Dennis - Ste. Anne's Reel Accompanied by: Vincent Doucette, gtr
West Prince
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Poirier, Zelie-Anne Arsenault - Ste. Anne's Reel Accompanied by: Jacques Arsenault, gtr
Evangeline Coast / East Prince
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Queens & Kings County Fiddlers' Societies - Space Available / Mrs. McLeod of Rasay / Ste. Anne's Reel Accompanied by: Kevin Chaisson, pno
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Quinn, Merlin - Ste. Anne's Reel Accompanied by: John Webster, gtr
Central Kings
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Richard, Fred - Ste. Anne's Reel Accompanied by: unacc
West Prince
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Robinson, Elmer - Ste. Anne's Reel Accompanied by: John Cousins, gtr; Ken Perlman, bjo
West Prince
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Silliker, Alton - Ste. Anne's Reel / Ragtime Annie / Southern Melody Accompanied by: Florence Silliker Young, pno; Eugene Gallant, gtr
West Prince
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Smith, Tony - Ste. Anne's Reel Accompanied by: Alfred Gallant, gtr
Western Queens
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Thomson, Dave - Ste. Anne's Reel Accompanied by: Ken Perlman, bjo
Western Queens
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Toole, Stephen - Homeward Bound / Ste. Anne's Reel Accompanied by: Margaret Ross MacKinnon, pno
Western Queens
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Wight, Elliott - Ste. Anne's Reel Accompanied by: Judy Lowe, pno; Ed Drover, gtr
Eastern Queens
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