A contemporary and friend of Alfred Montmarquette, he was often asked to fill in for the great accordionist who would become "indisposed" at dances. He grew up in Montreal, the son of a stone cutter. At age 6, he lost an eye and has to leave school when he was 10 and had difficulty with reading. He learned to play accordion from his older brother Honoré and they would hang out at the local parks, listening and playing music for the dances. By age 14, he was playing his Ludwig accordion at Parc Jeanne Mance and at dance halls. He married, had seven kids and worked at a sawmill then as a machinist in a munitions factory. In 1931 he met Alfred Montmarquette and they became good friends, sharing tunes and styles. After his daughter Lucienne married the fiddler Henri Wattier, he started playing concerts as a duet and when they met the pianist Edmond Moreau they became the "Les Trois Copains". They made their first recording in 1936 and then in 1940 recorded with RCA Victor on the Bluebird label as "Trio Pigeon". After seven intense years of touring and radio shows, Arthur bought some land and moved to the country. He took up farming and passed on his accordion skills to his two twin grandsons: Philias and Marcel Pigeon.
Les Frères Pigeon
The two twin grandsons of Joseph Arthur Pigeon, Philias and Marcel, have carried on his legacy of accordion playing. Born in 1931, they grew up listening to the music of their grandfather Arthur. When Arthur bought a new accordion, he passed on the old one to the twins and for awhile they shared it, each playing for on hour. They also were helped and influence by the great accordionist Philippe Bruneau (1934-2011) who lived nearby. By age 15 they were playing for local dances and weddings. Their musical careers were interrupted after they married but the returned to their love of the accordion after meeting up with Raynald Ouellet, the accordionist for the band Eritage and a close neighbor to Philias. They have recorded the tunes that were played by their grandfather Arthur and many of these recordings can be heard at the website of Les Danseurs de L'île de Jésus": http://www.dmij.net/laval.html