Pretend fiddling | Bowing Down Home


File - sonierervan-oh-gettingstarted_M.mp3


ES – Ervan Sonier

KP – Curator Ken Perlman

ES Two pieces of stick, and I used to – I’d take them and go through the motions of tuning the fiddle and all. They used to get a great kick I remember. They'd be back watching me doing that. And I couldn't play then. I would tune [sing the tunes] instead of – just usin’ the same, just two sticks.

KP By “tune” you mean you would sing the melodies?

ES Just tune, yeah, while playing the sticks and tapping your feet. Them time all fiddlers tapped their feet, in the early years. There was nobody stood up and played the fiddle. So I started then I suppose I'd be around fourteen when I got a fiddle. My Dad played the fiddle, so I could use a fiddle anytime. But he used to try to help me, but when you can't read music it was a waste of time. He couldn't help me no way. It was born in me I suppose, to a certain extent. I started, and then Beatrice, my first cousin, was a great piano player and it was easy to follow her, she played the tunes right out, so that helped me I guess.

KP How old were you when you actually started playing the fiddle?

ES At fourteen I was playing there, I'd go around different places and play. And then when I got to be about sixteen then we used to play dances. We played at different halls. Toussaint [Arsenault] played a lot of dances too, years ago. I played at the Ritz Hall, they used to call it in Summerside. And [I] played, it was the Western Star but they had another name for it. And there was the Sunnyside Hall, played there. And up until I went in service, I laid off then. And I never played any more dances after that. When I come back I never played any more at the dances.