John Cousins | Bowing Down Home

Biography

John Cousins is a teacher and independent folklorist from western Prince County. He studied folklore at Memorial Unversity in St. Johns Newfoundland; his MA Dissertation is entitled “Horses in the Folklore of Western Prince Edward Island.” John has collected stories and songs from many of his neighbors. He plays guitar to accompany his own singing, and has developed the ability to effectively accompany fiddlers.

Cousins’ father was a fisherman, and he grew up well before electricity, automobile travel, or other aspects of modern technology had reached his part of the Island. He watched with great interest as the Island progressed within his lifetime from horsedrawn era to the computer age. He regrets that some aspects of life that were once taken for granted are now gone forever.

Cousins grew up hearing his neighbors talk about fiddling. He tells us that in general Islanders regarded fiddling as an inborn gift. This gift was seen as a mixed blessing; it was also strongly believed that fiddling was an addiction, and that practitioners would never make a material success in life.

Oral Histories

Cousins, John - Effects of modernization Great changes in Island life due to modernization; fiddling is a way to cope with stresses of change info and transcript
Disappearing aspects of Island life Non-musical island sounds that have disappeared info and transcript
Fiddlers as n’er do wells Widespread notion that fiddling is an addiction, and that fiddlers will never make a material success in life info and transcript
Fiddling as gift The "gift" info and transcript