Hommage à Francine Desjardins

Here's a great tune composed and played by Réjean Simard in honor of Francine Desjardins. Devon picked up the tune at a workshop with Réjean in Montreal last summer and I have added the audio file as well as a simple transcription of the tune. This, of course, is just the bare bones of the tune and should be used only as a preliminary learning tool. To learn more about the accordion style of Réjean Simard, check out his many Youtube videos.

Francine Desjardins comes from L'îsletville, a small town not far from Montmagny, the accordion capital of Canada. Her father started her off on the fiddle and accordion but she gradually moved to the accordion and started being noticed playing for weddings, sugar parties and corn huskings in Québec. In 1975 she joined the dance troupe "Les Danseurs de St.-Louis-Maillet de Madawaska in New Brunswick. She toured Europe and played at the Mariposa festival in Toronto as well as the Carrefour Mondial de L'accordéon in Montmagny. She has made several recordings, including  a 1996 "Hommage à mon père" and a 2003 album of tunes from Philippe Bruneau.


Etienne Larocque

Etienne Larocque

Etienne Larocque was born in 1933 in the small fishing village of Cap Bateau on the island of Lamèque in northern New Brunswick. He has been playing fiddle since the age of 5 and by the time he was 11, he was playing for community dances most Saturdays. Starting in the 1980's, he entered and won many fiddle contests, winning more than 40 awards. He was four times New Brunswick champion and in 1983 won the famous maritime championship in Dartmouth. In 1990, he was chosen to represent New Brunswick at the Grand Masters Fiddling Contest in Nepean, Ontario. In 1993 he was inducted into the New Brunswick Country Music Hall of Fame.  Etienne to this day is still fiddling up a storm and gives lessons to young promising fiddlers. He still lives in Cap Bateau in a beautiful house that he built himself.

Etienne Larocque.jpg

Eloi Leblanc

Eloi LeBlanc was born in College Bridge, New Brunswick on November 26, 1909, died June 21, 1978 in Beaumont and was buried in Pré d’en Haut. He started playing fiddle at an early age, inspired by his fiddling maternal grandfather and uncle. Throughout his lifetime played for local dances and weddings, getting the nickname “The Fiddler of Memramcook Valley”. He had a phenomenal memory for tunes as well as a great knack for composition. Many of his tunes live on thanks to other fiddlers such as Den Messer who made them even more popular. He performed with Bob White’s Moncton Ploughboys, then on the Maritime Farmer’s radio show, and finally joined up with Kidd Baker and the Pine Ridge Mountain Boys in Ontario. He stayed with this band for 12 years and spent the final years of his life living with his sister Laura who was also his piano accompanist. Eloi recorded only one record album, “Eloi and his Fiddle” (Eloi et son Violon) on Les Productions Acadiennes  LPA-1001-1977. Some of his tunes include: Le Reel de l’Hiver, Anne Marie Reel, Reel des Maritime Farmers, Narcisse à John (named after his maternal grandfather),  and  Eric à Théotime à Six Pouces (named after his uncle).