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All Artists

 

 

André à Toto Savoie

Louis Leger

André à Toto Savoie is a fiddler from Shippagan who gained fame and notoriety from his appearance in the 1972 film by André Gladu called "Reel du Pendu". He still lives in a small housing unit in Shippagan and still plays for concerts, festivals and dances.  When asked where he got the moniker "Toto" he told the story that his father would help out the grandfather who was a carpenter. When the grandfather asked for a hammer, André's dad as a little kid would run to fetch it and cry out "toto, toto, toto" which was his way of saying the french word for hammer: "marteau". Since there are many families with the same last names in Acadie, the father is often given a nickname and the son is always associated with the father with the word "à" which means "of". It's much like the O'Leary's and MacLeans of Irish and Scottish families. 

André graciously allowed us to make a video of his playing during our visit:

One of the most popular of André's tune is simply called "Reel à Toto" and has been performed by many great fiddlers, including André Brunet who plays the tune in the video below. One of the reasons for our visit to André Savoie in Shippagan was find out from him if the tune had a real name, and sure enough he called it "Reel à Belzebuth" and he got it from his father. So here is "Reel à Belzebuth" aka "Reel à Toto" played by André Brunet.

Another tune that we wanted to track down was "Reel du Coqueron". We first heard the tune on a field recording that Robert Richard found for us in the archives of the Unversity of Moncton. It was recorded at a festival in Shippagan that André Savoie attended every year and he gave the name "Coqueron" to the festival and the tune. We tried to find out what the word "coqueron" meant but came up empty each time. Finally, André told us that in the early days, the festival was held right next to the "cook room".