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All Artists



Filtering by Category: Newfoundland

Emile Bénoit

Louis Leger


Emile Josheph Bénoit was born March 24th, 1913 at Black Duck Rock, Port au Port Peninsula in Newfoundland and died September 3rd, 1992. He was a fiddler, composer and storyteller, as well as a fisherman, logger, carpenter and blacksmith. He described his fiddle style as: "a little bit of Scots, a little bit of Irish, a little bit of Québécois, a little bit of French - all mixed together". He was a prolific composer of tunes, almost two hundred composed around dreams or things that he had seen. He made appearances at festivals throughout Canada, the USA, and Europe and there are three albums of his tunes: Emile's Dream (1979), It Comes From the Heart (1982) and Vive la Rose (1992). Emile's version of the song Viva la Rose was the basis of an animated short by Bruse Alcock from the National Film Board of Canada.

« Oui, je suis fier d’aider les Français à survivre
ici. Je n’ai pas d’ennemis, pas de mauvais amis,
je suis juste un homme libre. »
Émile Benoît

Émile Bénoît, conteur, folkloriste et violoneux est né la 24 mars 1913 à l'Anse-à-Canards, Terre-Neuve. Son père était d'origine française et sa mère était d'origine acadienne de Chéticamp. Il devint pêcheur à 12 ans et continua le métier de pêcheur le rest de sa vie. Il était également charpentier et forgeron et avait des connaissances en médecine. Ce n'est qu'à l'age de 60 ans qu'il se consacra entièrement à la musique et remporta de nombreux prix et participa à de nombreux festivals. Il était également compositeur avec plus de 200 mélodies à son compte. Il enregistra trois disques: Émile's Drean en 1979, Ça vient du Tchoeur en1982 et Vive la Rose en 1992.


For the notation for almost all of the tunes he wrote, the best source is the Kelly Russell collection. Another source of information is the  article by Getty Nygaard King in the Canadian Encyclopedia.


Rufus Guinchard

Louis Leger

Rufus Guinchard was born September 6th, 1899 in Daniel's Harbour Newfoundland. He started learning to play when he was 11 years old and would hold the bow in the middle with the fiddle against his chest and over the right shoulder. He stayed with this style throughout his life (see photo above). Here's a quote from the liner notes of his first album: "He began on an old fiddle his father had and though it was broken he managed, ingeniously, to repair the holds with birch-bark and glue from boiled caribou skins; his second and third strings he made from lobster twine, his fine string from the strong thread used to sew skin boots and the bow he made by tightly running sewing cotton (#38) from top to bottom. For rosin he used a knob of frankum. Perked up on the kitchen table with his feet on the chair he began his career as a fiddler. Not wishing to be caught in the act of learning he tucked the base of the fiddle under his unbuttoned shirt under his right shoulder so that he could lean forward to look out the window and spot anyone who might be approaching. From this furtive activity grew a musical style that would charm the country". Besides playing fiddle and accordion, he worked as a fisherman, logger, trapper, seaman. laborer, and carpenter. He played for dances first around Daniel's Harbour then around Port Saunders, Newfoundland. 

His first LP was Rufus Guinchard - Newfoundland Fiddler, followed by Step Dances & Tunes. A third album Humouring the Tunes was published after his death and includes two of his accordion pieces. There is also a book about him with notations of his tunes by Kelly Russell