Kristin and David
Mountain Dulcimer & Acoustic Guitar
Notes on the Tunes: Tunes Twice Stitched
Galope de La Malbaie - La Malbaie is a town situated on the north shore of the Saint Lawrence River, at the mouth of the Malbaie River. In 1608, Samuel de Champlain visited the place and didn't find suitable anchorage for his ship in the bay and so named it Malle Baye (archaic French for "bad/poor bay"), a name further justified when during low tide the bay dried up and his ships ran aground. . (source - Wikipedia); A "Galop" or "Galope" is a lively country dance. There is a New England version of this tune called Mackilmoyle Reel.
Gigue des Capuchons (Hood Dance) - from the repertoire of Joseph Allard - note that "Gigue" means "dance", and not "jig", although this tune is in fact a jig. However, there are numerous Québécois tunes called "Gigues" that are not in jig form.
La Pêcheuse (the fisherwoman) - A 'crooked' tune, with extra beats in two measures.
Le Rêve du quêteux Tremblay (Beggar Tremblay's Dream) - William Tremblay was known as the 'quêteux Tremblay' (Beggar Tremblay), and was an itinerant fiddler and character who would wander from village to village throughout Québec Province, trading his music for room and board. (source: Fiddlers' Companion)
Six-huit (6/8) en Sol (jig in G) - A "six-huit" is a jig; We first heard this one at a French Canadian jam at the Old Songs festival in Altamont, NY led by members of the band Raz-de-marée (Tidal Wave).
Marie, Sauce ton Pain (Mary, Dip your bread) - probably a reference to dance moves; We learned of this tune from the website "Identitairs Québécois" (;
Reel St-Antoine - there are numerous place names in Canada named St-Antoine or with St-Antoine in the name - we're not sure which this reel was named for;
Reel Eugène - this is one of the first French Canadian tunes that we played together - we can't remember where we got this one, but have been playing it for a few years.
Reel de Ti-Pit - A "ti-pit" is a small bird, and also an affectionate nickname;
La Guenille (the rag, as in a piece of cloth) - We play a 2-part version; many traditional versions have 3 parts;
Un Canadien Errant ("A Wandering Canadian" or "the Lost Canadian") - a song about the pain of exile written in 1842 by Antoine Gérin-Lajoie after the Lower Canada Rebellion of 1837-1838 Some of the rebels were condemned to death, others exiled to the United States. The melody is from the French Canadian folk tune "J'ai fait une maîtresse". The song has informally become a Canadian Anthem. We play it as an instrumental here.
  Gigue du Forgeron (Blacksmith's dance) - an adaptation of an Irish jig called "Dob Boyd's jig".
Reel du Cultivateur (Farmer's reel)- we found this one just searching the internet & youTube for interesting tunes;
Polka Française - from the repertoire of Alfred Montmarquette, accordion player (1871-1944); We came across this tune while looking for the music for Polka Chinoise, and ended up learning this one instead.
Reel des Ouvriers (Laborers' Reel) - A Québécois version of the New England reel, Walker Street, also known as Reel des Voyageurs, and in Irish and other sessions as Traveller's Reel, Carpenter's Reel, and Laborer's Reel;
Gigue du Paroissiens (Parishoner's dance) - one we've been playing for a few years, the source long forgetton.
La Gracieuse (The Gracious one) - a mazurka, a very popular accordion tune;
Reel des Jeunes Mariés (Newlywed's reel) - We first heard this tune from the playing of Pam Weeks, a wonderful fiddler, mountain dulcimer player and singer from Maine. We've played this song for years, and had included it in our first CD - we had always thought this was "Jeunes Maries", or "Young Marys", and just recently discovered that the correct name is "Mariés" - or the "Newlyweds".
Cotillon de la Baie-Ste-Catherine -Ste. Catherine Bay- this is both a bay and a town located at the confluence of the Saguenay and Saint Lawrence Rivers. Baie-Sainte-Catherine has the reputation of being the location of the historic meeting on May 27, 1603, between François Gravé Du Pont and Samuel de Champlain and the leaders of three Indian nations with whom they concluded an agreement that opened the Saint Lawrence River to French explorers. (source: Wikipedia) . A "cotillion" is a couples' square dance, the forerunner of the quadrille.
Port Joli - there are several towns named Port-Joli in Canada - one in Nova Scotia, and one in Québec, originally named Port-Joli, but is currently called Saint-Jean-Port-Joli. We're not sure which one this reel is named after.
Reel Tadoussac - also known as "Glise a Sherbrooke"; Tadoussac is a town on the west bank of the St. Lawrence river, above Québec City. Reel de Tadoussac/Glise a Sherbrooke is the tune played for the dance La Grande Chaine, and versions of this tune are heard under that name. (source: Fiddler's Companion)
Valse de mon Père (my father's waltz) - from the repertoire of Gabriel Labbé; a waltz that also sounds lovely played more slowly as an air;
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© 2012 Kristin Gitler & David Goldman