2019-06 Tune of the Month -- St. Anne's Reel

  1. HonketyHank
    I guess it's time to liven things up after last month's lament. This month's tune of the month (June 2019) is St. Anne's Reel, a fiddle tune first recorded by the French Canadian fiddler Joseph Allard in approximately 1930. Before that, the history of this tune is a matter of conjecture. A good summary is presented at http://slowplayers.org/2014/06/11/st-annes-reel-d/ , along with the abc file I copied and pasted below, music notation, and a slow and medium tempo rendition played on mandolin.

    T:St. Anne's Reel
    Z:Originally French Canadian, now firmly adopted in Ireland. Madison.
    |:de|"D"fedf "A"edcB|"D"A2 FA DAFA|"G"B2GB "Em"EBGB|"D"A2 FA DAFA|
    "D"fedf "A"edcB|"D"A2 FA DAFA|"G"B2 ed "A"cABc|"D"df"A"ec "D"d2:|
    |:de|"D"f2fg fedc|"G"Bggf g2gf|"A"edcB Aceg|"G"baag "D"abag|
    "D"f2fg fedc|"G"Bggf g2gf|"A"edcB ABcd|"D"eddc d2:|

    Some might argue with the note embedded in the ABC file ("Z:Originally French Canadian, now firmly adopted in Ireland"), but that does appear to be the most popular theory, except for Irishmen who think this tune is too good to be from the other side of the Atlantic. :-)

    I believe that the first I heard this tune was a demo video recorded by Rachel Penner for Greg Boyd's House of Fine Instruments. It was an instant hit with me so I embed that version below also.

    Rachel Penner video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXnY4tQvLTs

    There are quite a few good recordings at the Song A Week thread: https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/g...#gmessage12260

    John Denver recorded a song called "The Ballad of St. Anne's Reel". It's a modern, folky, John Denver-y, kind of song; nice, but not among his greatest hits. It does feature a few snatches of St. Anne's Reel between verses.


    Ok, everybody, this tune is a MUST for any portfolio. Put on your dancing shoes and Hudson's Bay Company lumberjack shirt and let's crank out some lively versions of this classic.
  2. HonketyHank
    More sources: lots of variations available at thesession.org . Also, try googling the following:

    "st. anne's reel" site:http://www.traditionalmusic.co.uk

    (some of these results may duplicate settings at thesession.org)

    Also, Baron Collins-Hill has a great lesson for this one at mandolessons.com
  3. HonketyHank
    TOM vs USOpen

    Gotta watch the US Open. But gotta practice St. Anne's Reel. Gonna have to multitask some.

    I'm afraid today's practice time for the TOM was not terribly focused.

    (Chez Reavie is my main man and he is tied for 6th place after 36 holes. Wahooooo.)

  4. Louise NM
    Louise NM
    Henry, nice job on your St. Anne's, golf distractions or no. It sounds nice on the mandola—I didn't even think of trying that.

    This is nowhere as clean as I would have liked, but it's been ages since I have posted anything and I had a few minutes to mess with it this afternoon.
  5. HonketyHank
    OK, Louise, you really had me going there. I'm sitting here thinking "I don't remember she was lefthanded". Then I played the Niel Gow video and "I know I don't remember everything right all the time, but I just don't remember her being left handed."

    Finally I put this video back up full screen and on the last frame of St Anne's -- voila -- the label inside your mandolin is printed in mirror image font. How'd you do that?

    I like your tempo and your steady rhythm. Good clean notes, too.
  6. Louise NM
    Louise NM
    I have no idea how they ended up reversed. Odd. I had to replace my phone a couple of weeks ago, and this is the first video I've shot. I get easily confused about right and left, so didn't even notice.

    Anyone know much about the Samsung S9?
  7. bbcee
    What a pleasure to hear your posts again, Louise! I like your variation a lot. This tune in particular seems to have a lot of great ways it can be played.
  8. HonketyHank
    Was doing some research today and found a gem: an archived recording of Joseph Allard playing Saint Anne's Reel. I don't know when this particular recording was made, but Allard made the first known recording of the tune in the 1930's. Allard may have composed the tune himself although some say it is an adaptation of an older tune. He died in 1947, so this recording is remarkably clear regardless of when he made it.

  9. HonketyHank
    Louise: Re Samsung S9.

    I don't. Sorry. Too old. Find a teenager.

    Now what did I do with my Geritol?
  10. Louise NM
    Louise NM
    Exactly, Henry.

    I'll have to ask one of my kids, or go back to the Verizon store, aka the fourth circle of hell, and see if they can sort it out. From what I can find out, I think it's set up like that so you can take selfies in the mirror with the front-facing camera and have them not be backwards. Please tell me what world I'm living in. I no longer recognize it.
  11. HonketyHank
    Does this address the issue? https://forums.androidcentral.com/as...-flipping.html

    I have a iPhone and rarely use the camera and never make videos with it so what do I know.
  12. Louise NM
    Louise NM
    Thanks for the lead. This may work.
  13. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    Henry, I love the mandola practice vid, sounds great!

    Louise NM, I really enjoyed that note-y version you found. Well played!


  14. HonketyHank
    Oh man, oh man! What a lesson! I really liked the chords and the left hand fingerdamping specifically, but overall I am more impressed than ever with the way you make everything look so casual and made up on the spot while still being expertly executed.
  15. bbcee
    I'll second that - I pretty much love everything about it. The improvs, the bluesey slides, the ornamentations. Thanks for posting this, Mark.
  16. Louise NM
    Louise NM
    Ireland meets the American South! Good one Mark.
  17. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    Thank you kind friends, this is one of those fun little tunes I revisit often in my practice times.
  18. HonketyHank


    This video is the result of an internet collaboration between bbcee, in Spain, and honketyhank, in Oregon, USA. We did not plan to make a video; this began as an experiment to see if we could put together an audio file of the two of us playing our mandolas together and swapping leads and backups. The audio file worked out pretty well but it sure needed something visual to go with it. I began searching the internet for photos or videos related to St. Anne as a place, or as a saint, or anything related. As luck would have it, I found a video produced by Monsieur François Foulem depicting Baie Ste. Anne (village) on Baie Ste. Anne (St. Anne's Bay), New Brunswick, Canada, shot from a drone flying over the village.

    M. Foulem's Youtube video decription says "This footage is freely made available for non-commercial use, under the terms of a Creative Commons attibution, non-derivative licence." Thus I think it is OK to use the imagery from his video in this completely non-commercial rendition of St. Anne's Reel. If not, I am sure YouTube will notify me and I will remove the imagery.

    In any case, be sure to check out M. Foulem's video at https://youtu.be/Y-ZG6JTbTM0. His video also has an audio accompaniment -- two excellent examples of Cape Breton style fiddle tunes.

    The prevailing opinion is that St. Anne's Reel was composed by Joseph Allard, a well known French-Canadian fiddler, sometime in the late 1920's. The first known recording is by Allard in 1929. Some believe that the tune is a version of one or another older reels. Other recordings of the tune were made not long after Allard's, notably one by Cyril Stinnet, the famous "over the bar"* fiddler from a rural corner of Missouri, USA. Stinnet's recording has led some folks to believe that the tune originated in the USA, but in fact Allard entered many US fiddlers' competitions, so Stinnet could easily have heard the tune from Allard. The tune was popularized in Canada by Don Messer in several recordings and on his long running weekly CBC TV show. In an early Messer recording, the tune is titled "Saint Agathe".

    The inspiration for the title of the tune is a subject of conjecture. There are several towns in Canada named St. Anne or Ste. Anne. And there are two St. Anne's Bays in eastern Canada. St. Anne (or Hannah) was the mother of Mary, Jesus's mother, and is the patron saint of Canada. There are several churches and cathedrals named for her in Canada (and elsewhere). St. Anne's Bay (Baie Ste. Anne), in New Brunswick is thought to be the most likely source of the title, in part because an early title of the tune was "La Reel de la Baie Ste. Anne". Also, the tune itself is of the style that might be played in that area.

    In this video, honketyhank grabs the lead first and plays a version with a melody line similar to that played by Allard and Don Messer. Then bbcee takes the lead with a more modern interpretation. The tempo here is considerably slower than that played by Allard or Messer. So this is a reel in structure, but our rendition is not intended for dancing. When I (honketyhank) get better on the mandola, maybe we can speed it up.

    * "over the bar": Stinnet played a conventionally strung fiddle left handed, thus had to play over the bass strings to reach the treble strings.
  19. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter

    beautiful collaboration, such beautiful music from you guys, and what an awesome video to set the music to, Henry. A big home run. Thanks for sharing.
  20. HonketyHank
    Thanks, Mark. It was a fun project. I'm glad we were somewhat familiar with the tune before it started - that gave us time to figure out what we wanted to do and then collaborate across 10 time zones. I learned a bunch about audio editting too.
  21. Louise NM
    Louise NM
    Nice job, gentlemen. Good mandolin playing x 2, lovely images, and a history lesson to boot. What's not to like?
  22. bbcee
    It was fun for sure. I really wanted to hear what our so-different mandolas would sound like accompanying each other, and I think the result is pretty cool.

    Henry did a great job on the video. I spent the first part of my childhood in southern Ontario, and the scenery he picked out is so reminiscent of that time. Nice job.

    He also learned how to use a DAW (Audactity) while making the tracks, which added to just getting the part you want committed to tape, is double the work. I had it easy on this one!!
  23. RobP
    I know I'm late to this party, but I happen to be working on this tune this month. Great to hear all the different versions. And Hank, that recording of Josheph Allard is a gem!
  24. HonketyHank
    We have no deadlines on the Tunes of the Month. Jump right in. The water's still fine!
  25. HonketyHank
    I just stumbled across a great video of St. Anne's Reel, combined with Ragtime Annie, both of which are among my favorites. The performers are The Poirier Family. Fiddler is Eddy Poirier, bass is Robert Poirier (son), mandolin is Brian Poirier (grandson). The video is from 2011. I suspect that they are from Maritime Canada.


    Can anybody identify Brian's mandolin?
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