David Gaudet | Bowing Down Home

David Gaudet, 2006

Biography

David Gaudet is one of the last fiddlers to develop during PEI's traditional period (some others include Louise Gallant Arsenault, Jackie Biggar and Victor Doucette). He has a vigorous, authentic West Prince sound, and a prodigious repertoire which includes quite a number of tunes that seem to have otherwise fallen out of local circulation.

David grew up in a fiddling family and learned quite a bit in terms of both style and repertoire from his uncle Emil Gaudet. Upon occasion, an older brother helped matters along by sending David upstairs with the fiddle and not letting him come back down until he had learned the tune he was working on.

When Gaudet started out, his arms were too short to reach the instrument when held under the chin. Consequently, for the first few years he played holding the fiddle like a guitar with its edge on his right thigh. “When my arm got longer, the fiddle come up to the chin. Nowadays they buy the fiddle to suit you, for the kids. Them days you had to play what you had.”

David went to many local house parties with his parents and learned new tunes by listening to other fiddlers. “All the tunes that was played, they went in the ear, and when I got home I scratched on the fiddle till I come up with something. Right now I can still pick up a tune and learn it pretty quick if I want to put my mind to it.”

He had just come into his own musically when PEI began to modernize, local tastes changed and the local fiddle and dance scenes started to decline. His own generation showed little interest in fiddle music and Gaudet virtually stopped playing in public. Then the Fiddling Revival came, bringing a rekindling of interest. He now plays out frequently with Cecil Arsenault on guitar and Robert Gallant on piano. The three of them particularly enjoy attending some of the bluegrass festivals that have cropped up recently on their end of the Island, and have started learning tunes from fellow musicians at these events. Gaudet often then takes these tunes and translates them quite handily to the West Prince playing style.

Tune Selections

Gaudet, David - Big John MacNeil / Mason's Apron Accompanied by: Robert Gallant, pno; Cecil Arsenault, gtr
West Prince
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Gaudet, David - Carlton County Breakdown Accompanied by: Robert Gallant, pno; Cecil Arsenault, gtr
West Prince
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Gaudet, David - Clamshack Reel Accompanied by: Robert Gallant, pno; Cecil Arsenault, gtr
West Prince
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Gaudet, David - DGaudet Reel 2 Accompanied by: Robert Gallant, pno; Cecil Arsenault, gtr
West Prince
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Gaudet, David - Dgaudet Jig 3 Accompanied by: Robert Gallant, pno; Cecil Arsenault, gtr
West Prince
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Gaudet, David - Dgaudet Jig 5 Accompanied by: Robert Gallant, pno; Cecil Arsenault, gtr
West Prince
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Gaudet, David - Dgaudet Reel 4 Accompanied by: Robert Gallant, pno; Cecil Arsenault, gtr
West Prince
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Gaudet, David - Emil Gaudet's Reel Accompanied by: Robert Gallant, pno; Cecil Arsenault, gtr
West Prince
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Gaudet, David - Fiddle Fingers Accompanied by: Robert Gallant, pno; Cecil Arsenault, gtr
West Prince
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Gaudet, David - Flicker's Reel, The Accompanied by: Robert Gallant, pno; Cecil Arsenault, gtr
West Prince
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Gaudet, David - Growling Old Man Accompanied by: Robert Gallant, pno; Cecil Arsenault, gtr
West Prince
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Gaudet, David - Irish Washerwoman / Jimmy MacKinnon of Smelt Brook Accompanied by: Robert Gallant, pno; Cecil Arsenault, gtr
West Prince
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Gaudet, David - Le Coq et la Poule / Woodchopper's Reel Accompanied by: Robert Gallant, pno; Cecil Arsenault, gtr
West Prince
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Gaudet, David - Ontario Swing Accompanied by: Robert Gallant, pno; Cecil Arsenault, gtr
West Prince
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Gaudet, David - Paddy on the Turnpike Accompanied by: Robert Gallant, pno; Cecil Arsenault, gtr
West 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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Oral Histories

Family helps him get underway His brother would send him upstairs till he learned a tune; started out playing the fiddle held like a guitar (when his arm got longer the fiddle could come up to the chin); he went to a lot of parties and the tunes stuck in his head info and transcript
Young people lose interest No one wanted to hear a fiddle when he was growing up; young people got interested in other music info and transcript

Video Clips