Brand New Album! Available free.
“Métis Fiddling for Dancing”
Alex Kusturok, Donny L’Hirondelle, and Garry Pruden
A note About this project from Alex
“Métis Fiddling for Dancing” is a project that I (Alex Kusturok) have been wanting to put together for some time. I am extremely passionate about this and so very eager to share it with others. I am also thrilled to say that it is FREE to anyone to use for educational purposes, for dancing, for listening, and most importantly, for the preservation of the Métis dance music.
When I was a young boy first picking up the fiddle, I listened to many different fiddlers play tunes like the Red River Jig, Drops of Brandy, Whiskey Before Breakfast, and others. The players that grabbed my attention and touched my heart were people like Homer Poitras and Garry Lepine, simply because of the feeling they put into the Métis music. By taking a bit of what I heard from each of these different players, I began to develop my own style when playing these old tunes.
My vision for this project was to create something that captures the unique “feel” of the Metis tunes. There are different styles within the Metis fiddle community depending on location as well as early influences. Although the notes in these tunes may be a little different among the three of us, if played authentically, the feel is the common thread, the pulse and the heart of the music. This special feel, or groove, is unique to the Métis culture and very much tied to dance.
Donny L’Hirondelle and Garry Pruden both come from Alberta and are self-taught players. Their inherent feel for the music is something you can tell has been passed down to them through generations of fiddlers. I know for a fact that these boys capture the feel because I’ve seen them play for dances. The dance floor is absolutely packed the minute they start to play.
Another reason for this recording is that I would like for my son and for young aspiring fiddlers to have the opportunity to hear these players. If they hear a little something that sparks their interest from Donny and Garry and myself, I know that they will get that same fire in their bellies that I did. They will go on to make people happy with their music, and to continue passing along this rich musical tradition.
I made a proposal for this project to Audrey Poitras, President of the Métis Nation of Alberta. She and her team were thrilled to help with this project. For this I offer my heartfelt thanks to the MNA, because without your support, this vision of mine would have never been possible. My sincere hope is to have it be available for years to come.
For the up-and-coming fiddlers of tomorrow, I believe that you will find enjoyment and inspiration in this music. For the music supporters, I know that you will enjoy having a listen to these tunes. To the jiggers and square dancers, my wish is to drive you onto the dance floor. For the educators, I hope that you can use this as a tool to help educate our youth in our rich Métis music traditions. To everyone else, I can fully guarantee that these tunes put a smile on your face.
Recorded at Astromonical Studio, St. Paul Alberta Engineered by Calvin Vollrath.
Produced by Alex Kusturok & Calvin Vollrath Executive Producer – Métis Nation of Alberta
Fiddle – Alex Kusturok, Donny L’Hirondelle, Garry Pruden
Acoustic, Electric & Bass Guitars, Mandolin & Spoons – Calvin Vollrath
Clogging – Alex Kusturok