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LOUIS BOUDREAULT: OLD TIME FIDDLER OF CHICOUTIMI, QUEBEC
Summary of the life of a fiddler. Born in Chicoutimi on July 8th, 1905 of a modest family; having the ability to get along with everyone. His father Idas Boudreault played the violin with a special style. His son Louis, when 11 years old, one day alone in the house, fascinated by the fact that his father had repaired a violin smaller than he had seen before, took the small violin and started to find the notes of a tune he knew how to sing, finding in a few minutes that perhaps he could do like his father. This was the start of his fiddling career which after all was not very active.
As was the custom, a fiddler was hired for weddings which could last as long as three days. Louis soon found out that this was very unhealthy and that he should not continue to breathe the dust produced by the dancers' feet, which was very bad for his lungs. At 15, he began to work with his father building houses. By nature both agile and clever, he quickly became a very good carpenter which enabled him to earn his livelihood. In the winter he became a lumberjack, staying at a logging camp 4 to 5 months at a time, and always ready to entertain his friends with his violin, especially Saturdays and Sundays.
Around the '30's, there was a radical change in the manner of entertainment. The Charleston, the boogie-woogie, rock & roll and other dances became the obsession of the young and the folklore gradually disappeared. For this reason he put his violin aside, only occasionally visiting other fiddlers to learn reels in different keys. What fascinated him was to play what they called flat tone (B flat) or F. Even in his area, he was the only one to have kept the style and the reels played by his father and his grand-uncle Thomas Vaillancourt of Lac St.-Jean. He started playing violin again to enter a fiddler's competition, and won the first prize in 1970.
Liner notes by Louis Boudreault, translated by Michelle DeLaurenti. Produced by Mike Seeger and Alice Gerrard. Recorded at Grass Roots Music, Portland, Oregon, April 1977.
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