This summer I will be doing a first for me: going to a musical workshop camp! Specifically, I’m going to Fiddle Tunes!
“But Anna,” I hear you cry, “you’re not a fiddle player!” This is true! But I am a guitarist, and there are several guitarists that will be teaching at this camp. Most notably, André Marchand!
If you know anything about Quebecois music at all, you may know this man’s name. At minimum, if you know anything about La Bottine Souriante, you’ve very likely heard him. He’s a veteran of the genre, with a long history with La Bottine and later with Les Charbonniers de l’Enfer. He also has recorded with flautist Grey Larsen, is one third of the trio Le Bruit Court Dans La Ville (all of whom will also be at Fiddle Tunes!), and has recorded with a few of the other Charbonniers gentlemen under the name Les Mononcles as well.
While my blatant fangirling is reserved for Le Vent du Nord and De Temps Antan, my general musical respect for the Quebecois trad genre owes a lot to Monsieur Marchand. He’s an excellent singer–several of my repeat-play La Bottine and Charbonniers tracks are things he sings lead on. But he’s also a fine guitarist, and I feel I would be entirely bonkers crazypants to pass up a chance to learn from him.
Bonus: my pal Dejah will also be there, and she will in fact be acting as M. Marchand’s assistant, providing translation assistance to help jump the language barrier. And a bit of a musical barrier as well, since Francophones use a system of scales oriented around “do re mi fa so la ti do”–so what an English speaker thinks of as the key of C, a French speaker’s going to be calling the key of do. D becomes re, E becomes mi, and so on.
I am very much looking forward to tackling this. Not only for exposure to a different way of thinking about musical scales, not only for a chance to learn from a veteran of the Quebecois trad genre (and maybe get in a bit of practice listening to someone speak French), but in general to just be able to sit down with people who know what they’re doing and improve my general ability to play. I feel like I’ve gone about as far as I can on my own, as a self-taught guitarist who just likes to doink around with the instrument. Talking to skilled musicians and learning from them will open up all sorts of new and exciting things to practice!
I’ll also be taking my carbon fiber flutes and the good whistle, mind you–because if any all-melody-instrument tunes sessions break out, I want to be prepared to practice learning those, too. And there will be some organization of participants into bands, too! So maybe somebody will want a flute or a whistle. 😀
These musical shenanigans will be taking place in the last week of June, and will be taking place out in Port Townsend in Washington–which is the other reason I want to go to this thing. It’s a camp I can get to by car. And since I won’t need to get on a plane, I can bring the General.
Because if I’m going to learn from a veteran of the Quebec trad genre, better believe I want to bring the good guitar!
SO EXCITED. This is going to be huge fun. Y’all may expect I’ll report on the experience in depth!