Mudcat Café message #508903 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #36707   Message #508903
Posted By: Marion
17-Jul-01 - 04:01 PM
Thread Name: Ashley MacIsaac to 10 year olds: Smoke Pot
Subject: RE: Ashley to 10 year olds: Smoke Pot
There were a few things I noticed about Ashley when I lived in Cape Breton.

One, that Cape Bretoners are embarrassed by him; while I never heard anyone deny that he knows how to play a fiddle, I never heard anyone bring up his name without alluding to him having disgraced himself.

Two, that non-Cape Bretoners and non-folkies are often big fans, in spite of (because of?) his bad boy image. For example, one of my roommates was a Montreal boy who mostly listened to weird electronic music; he liked Ashley, though he wouldn't dream of going to hear any other Cape Breton fiddler.

Three, that Ashley seemed to be making an effort to redeem himself in the Cape Breton scene: he made a very traditional CD with Dave MacIsaac (MacIsaac and MacIsaac: Fiddle Music 101), he was playing lots of dances in local church halls, and he was watching his mouth.

I heard someone say that she wouldn't take her kids to a family dance if Ashley was playing, because you could never tell what he was going to do or say. I'm not sure if this was a realistic fear. I saw him play three dances and one concert; at the dances he didn't say a single word (although the musicians rarely say much at the dances), and his stage banter at the concert was all innocent. One thing did happen, funny but sad: he was tuning his fiddle during a break, then tested the tuning (or maybe the sound system) by playing a few bars of "Spiderman", and suddenly the atmosphere in the room dropped a few degrees. Several people stopped and turned to glare at him, and I had the feeling people were nervous that something untoward was about to happen. It didn't, though.

I also want to mention that he came to L'Arche Cape Breton (the group home for adults with learning disabilities that I was living and working at) to play a ceilidh for free, and he has maintained a friendship with L'Arche man who loves fiddle music. Also, I know of one time when Ashley went to the hospital to play for the father of an aquaintance.

Having said that, on the L'Arche Cape Breton brochure there used to be a picture of Ashley playing in our lodge, but the picture was removed when it became an embarrassment and not an appealing scene.

I'd like to know what the interviewer asked that prompted Ashley's statement about pot. I mean, if I were told that a hypothetical 10 year old HAD to do pot or alcohol, I'd probably go with the pot too.