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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Bob Landry What got you started? (73* d) RE: What got you started? 24 May 98

Like others who have replied above, I share a long family musical tradition: Grandmother (pump organ) and a few of her siblings, Dad (fiddle), Godfather/uncle (piano, fiddle and guitar), another uncle (piano, accordian), an aunt (piano), brother (banjo & guitar), sister (piano), brother in law (guitar), several cousins (various) and the list is growing. Many neighbours played music. Many of my childhood friends played music. Some had regular paying gigs, especially my Dad and his brothers who played for community dances. Some even recorded tapes and LP's. Most of us are self taught and we do have a blast whenever we get together. As kids in the 1950's, we sang folk songs in school, participated in community concerts, formed impromptu bands. We listened to a lot of radio, which, in Cape Breton, meant country, celtic (especially Cape breton fiddlers and the beginnings of the folk revolution for me, Irish folk groups such as the Clancy brothers) and the beginnings of that newfangled rock and roll stuff.

I took piano lessons as a boy but never learned to play very well. The biggest accomplishment was learning to accompany my Dad when he played the fiddle - and I did that until shortly before he died. Other than that, I wasn't all that enthused by the hours of practice that the piano required. I'd rather spend my time playing hockey and baseball, listening to music on the radio or going to dances and envying my friends who played the fiddle or the guitar.

I didn't do anything about the guitar until after graduating from university and moving to Ottawa. There I met new friends, some of whom played 12-string guitars and sang a lot of folk music (among other things). There was a spare guitar and I picked it up, learned a few chords and started to play softly in the background at our frequent parties (and we partied a lot). That lasted about 8 months and the group started to break up as guys got married and moved away. I then bought my own guitar, some Gordon Lightfoot songbooks, and started playing along with him. I've been collecting music, learning tunes and howling ever since. Folk, celtic, maritime music, blues, bluegrass, and older R&B are my preferences.

I'm proud to say that the musical tradition is moving on to the next generation. It looks as if about 50% of my family's children are going to keep the music alive in my family. They've been frequently exposed to our collective love of music including first hand experience at watching their parents and grandparents gather in the kitchen, the living room or the basement and going at it. It's wonderful to be able to witness the musical tradition continue.

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